So, just copy and paste the entire fanfiction. Your favorite fanfiction. It must have Ishihime. It can have side pairings blah blah but it must be Ishihime. I really don't want an Ichiruki story where Ishihime is the side pairing because then the Ichihime fans here will get pissed off and I will too, because I just said the fanfics must be ISHIHIME ONLY.
Got it? Good!
Rankin, I'll be waiting. >8D
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
BLAH. YOU PEOPLE ARE SO...
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
Amnesia Chapter 1
"Orihime-chan... are you alright?" Tatsuki asked, worried face hovering above her.
"Huh? I'm fine Tatsuki! I feel energetic and everything," She said, sitting up. They all watched in wonder, standing in the Kurosaki Clinic. "Where am I?"
"Oh, you hit your head and got knocked out. We were really worried about you!" Tatsuki said, letting out a sigh of relief.
Ichigo, Karin, Chad holding Kon, Ishida and Tatsuki were all present.
"It's lucky we were so close to Kurosaki's place,"Ishida commented dryly. "Even if it was his fault."
"What are you talking about? It was an accident! Accident!" Ichigo growled.
"I'd have to agree with glasses guy, Nii-chan," Karin interjected.
Inoue, Ishida and Kon had gone out shopping to find more material to fix the stuffed animal up. He was getting more and more strangely shaped and covered with patches as time went on and wouldn't stop complaining. So Ichigo had given him over to Inoue to present to the handicrafts club as her own, and they had been approved to buy material with the club money as long as they could show the before and after pictures in the pamphlets they handed out to freshmen in an effort to get more people to join.
It had been coincidental that Karin had convinced Chad, Ichigo and Tatsuki to play a game of baseball with her to improve her skills. She had chosen the more athletic of the group in the hopes she might have an actual match against them. It was common knowledge at school that Kurosaki Karin was head of whatever sports team she joined. She'd been bored and wanted some sort of challenge.
It was when Ichigo was up to bat and hit the ball too hard that the problem ocurred. It didn't go out into the field as planned, but towards the other side of the park. It was unfortunate that Ishida and Inoue were on the other side of the hedge that the ball ripped through. They realized with a frightening clarity who was on the other side of the bush when they hurt a panicing Ishida trying to wake Inoue up by saying her name loudly along with Kon.
"Tatsuki, can you go without me? I want to talk to the others for a second," Orihime spoke. Tatsuki looked hesitant, but left the room because Karin was there.
"What did you want to talk about?" Ichigo asked. Inoue looked at him blankly before turning to Ishida.
"Ishida-kun, who is your friend? Is he a Quincy?" She asked, pointing to the confused Ichigo. The rest of the room was silent.
"Inoue-nee-san... don't you recognize my idiot brother?"Karin interrupted, looking a little surprised.
"You have a brother? I only met you and Yuzu. Where have you been hiding him?" Orihime joked, hoping to lighten the mood. However, everyone seemed to darken. She looked around at them. What had she said wrong?
"Inoue... do you remember Kuchiki-san?" Ishida asked cautiously. The red head nodded. He continued, unmindful of Karin's presence with his next question. "And soul society?" Again she nodded.
"Of course I do! Who could forget such an amazing adventure?" She replied brightly. "It's too bad Kon couldn't come." The group was silent.
"Do you remember why you went to soul society?" Ishida continued. Orihime looked at him like he was the stupid one then.
"I've told you a million times! I went to help you save Kuchiki-san, even if she didn't feel the same way about you," She said, smiling serenely. Ishida was unsure why she was still looking at him. He pointed lamely to himself, and she nodded again.
"Wait. Who saved Rukia?" Ichigo broke in, looking baffled at the whole situation. Inoue looked at him, and he felt a chill as he saw no spark of recognition there. She really didn't recognize him...?
"Ishida-kun, of course! So you're Karin's brother, huh? You have a lot of power. I'm jealous," She was still talking, but they were staring at her. She stopped, looking self-consciously at them. "... what? Do I have mustard on my face?" She reached up to touch her lips, wondering what they were all so surprised by.
"Otou-san!" Ichigo yelled, stomping out of the room like the building was on fire.
"Sorry, but she looks fine. Her memory should go back to normal in about two weeks or so. It's funny that she only forgot you though," Isshin commented, looking at his son. Before Ichigo could respond, his father was already attacking him. "Did you do something to make her want to forget you!" Ichigo kicked his father out of the way.
"I-inoue?" Ishida said quietly. He suddenly found that said girl was standing beside him with one arm slung around his shoulders affectionately. The archer had turned many colours of red, confusion still clearly in his face.
"I said, let's go home! We need to feed the cat," Inoue said, looking at him with a pout. To her, everyone was acting a little dumb today. And Ishida was particularly bashful. How odd.
"H-home?" Ishida said, voicing the question of all in the room.
"Inoue... are you living with Ishida?" Chad asked sullenly. Ishida shook his head slightly so that Inoue couldn't see. He was still bright red, and unsure about what to do to the arm hanging over him. He felt like some bashful girl being hit on. Next Inoue was going to tell him they had three kids and visited his father for dinner every Sunday. While the prospect was not so grim (with the exception of his father), Inoue had somehow made new memories to explain away Ichigo's nonexistence.
"But you've been to the apartment, Chad... you eat lunch with us at school too, with Keigo and the others..." Inoue said, staring unabashedly at the large creature.
"Ichigo... and the others, please come with me into the hallway," Isshin said seriously. He turned to Inoue and smiled warmly. "Don't worry Inoue-san, you'll be heading home soon." Once they had gathered in the hallway, Ichigo burst into questions.
"Ishida? Since when were you living with Inoue?" He asked teasingly. Before the red Quincy could speak, Isshin answered.
"She doesn't. However, you're all just going to have to go along with this until she regains her memories. Ishida, you'll just have to watch her. Besides, it gives us a good gauge to figure out when her memories return and have someone make sure she's resting up and tending to her head properly."
"W-what...!" Ishida blurted, entire body red. Isshin placed one strong hand on Ishida's shoulder, a stern look in his eyes.
"However, it would be in your best interests not to take advantage of Inoue in this state," He said. Ishida saw and understood the dangerous tone in his voice as the warning it was meant to be. He nodded, returning to his normal colour. "Now Ichigo... go ask her what her cat looks like so we can get something tomorrow. Ishida, tell her that Tatsuki is looking after the cat tonight and we'll get her to drop it off to you tomorrow."
"Huh? Ishida-kun, what was it that he wanted to talk about?" Inoue asked as he re-entered the room alone.
"Ah... nothing much. Just to make sure that you take it easy."
"Oh, I see. But honestly, what silly questions you had earlier! How could I forget the return from soul society when you asked me to live with you?" Inoue said, laughing gleefully. She then held a finger up to her lips and looked at him conspiratorally. "But I kept my promise! I didn't say anything about our relationship!"
Ishida was sure he was going to faint as she pressed a kiss to his cheek. Dear Kami... what exactly was this relationship like that she'd made up?
Amnesia Chapter 2
To say the first night at Ishida's apartment was awkward would have been an understatement to the poor Quincy. How was he to know any of the crazy things she expected? Now that he thought rationally on it, he didn't even understand her when she was normal. Though Ishida had been surprised to see the almost desolate look in the orange haired shinigami's eyes, he had to admit that it was a little bit nice to be the one Inoue was so insistent upon being near. She had so many friends, being the ray of sunlight she was- how in the world had he asked her to live with him? Where had he found the nerve? And what had they experienced in soul society that had created this mysterious 'relationship' of which she'd spoken?
Ishida let out a long sigh as he opened the door to the apartment.
"Sorry about this, Ishida-kun. I promise I'll find my keys really soon!" Inoue said, looking a little jittery as she continued the search on her person. She seemed to think she had her own key to the apartment. He wasn't sure how to convince her that she had left them with Tatsuki. The cat deal had gone over fine, but the keys? Of course not.
"It's alright, Inoue-san. Tatsuki will bring you your key tomorrow, I'm sure it just slipped off your keyring," He said looked doubtful. Why could she believe such silly things as laundry monkeys and not something so logical? He was finding this amnesiac Inoue to be more trouble than the original.
Inoue bounced into the apartment the moment the door had opened, and it felt odd seeing her entering as though she'd done it all her life. She even removed her shoes at the door, which he was sure she neglected to do at her own apartment sometimes. She had a sense of calm to her, but that wasn't to say she was less bubbly. No, she could possibly had been more cheerful around him and it was more focused into her focus was both pleasing to Ishida as well as embarrassing. For every tree they passed that Inoue had apparently named on their walks home from school, he got one hug. It had been difficult to get this out of Inoue without making her suspicious as it seemed she remembered doing this every day.
The cry was frightened, confused and sad all at once. He was pulled from his reverie, noting she had run off with his slippers as he went. He arrived at the doorway to his bedroom in the rarely used guest slippers to find her looking through the spare closet in a panic. Ishida felt a twitch in his eye as he examined the pool of clothing behind her ankles, still on hangers. All were clothes he'd made for the handicrafts club and didn't know what to do with them. He saw the red-head with tears in her eyes, and his mind was wiped of all else as he made quick strides to her.
"What's wrong? Do you hurt anywhere?" He asked, concern making his eyes an intense blue. She looked at him, and he wished she hadn't. The look on her face was similar to the expression she wore when she was thinking about Kurosaki Ichigo. Had she remembered? Was she confused about where she was? There was deep loss in her face, like something important was missing.
"Ishida-kun..."She said, her eyebrows lowering in the classic signs of a crying girl. Of course, Ishida was immediately confused and uncomfortable. But Inoue never did anything half way. She went head first, right to the edge. She threw her arms around his neck and began to cry into his shoulder. He stood frozen, unsure where his hands should be at this moment. They couldn't stay at his sides, as he was sure that would seem colder than the Ishida she knew more intimately. But would it be alright to hold her? The mental image of Kurosaki's father glaring at him left his hands hanging in the air behind her back. Then she spoke between cries. "Uryuu! I can't find it... I looked but it's not there!"
The desperateness in her voice, the lonliness and the hurt sealed his fate. Even if he had held no feelings toward the girl, he was obliged as a gentleman. He kept his hands on her midback, blushing as his long fingers brushed across a bra strap that made a noticible line against the material of her uniform blouse. She didn't seem to notice, or if she did, she didn't care.
"What are you looking for, Inoue?" He asked, putting on his calm and cool face. His eyes were hidden again, though a light blush still ghosted across his cheeks.
"The blouse... my favourite blouse... you worked so hard to make it and now it's gone..."
"I'll make you another. I'll make you , twenty." Ishida couldn't identify the source of this outburst, but didn't know how else to make her happy again after losing a blouse she never had. She lifted her head, stray moisture clinging to her long eyelashes like clear crystals that beautified her. He silently cried out to his grandfather for help. He wasn't going to last a week with her. He could already see himself when she got her memory back, and he didn't like the disappointment causing the grimace on his future self. How could he have all her attention like this, and then just lose it to Kurosaki? Him, who had never been admired by a woman for masculinity or any physical attribute. He shook away the ridiculous thought creeping into his mind that he didn't want to give her back. He'd keep her, and then- and then what? He couldn't. It was a fool's thoughts, likely caused by her close proximity. He was about to release her, when she said it.
"Uryuu," She said softly, a smile touching her face. She raised one hand to let her fingers dance down one of the longer strands of hair to the side of his face. She mouthed something, and he bent his head to watch her lips more closely. And then there were no lips. Just Inoue's moist eyelashes and closed eyes. And where were those lips? Pressed to his. His hands briefly tightened behind her in his shock, which seemed to only encourage her. His brain was frozen and now he was the one confused. Why was she kissing him? Had it been something he'd said?
He could barely recall any words as he felt his face sending out heat waves. His heart sped nervously, and he knew he had to do something. If she had been looking for her clothes in his spare closet, it could only mean that there was one place she was sleeping. It sent his heart pummeling away, and he tried to think of something. What would he do? She was pressing her lips harder against his now, silently prodding him to respond. He couldn't possibly! This was Inoue, the innocent, sweet comrade he had protected with all his power in Soul Society. It would certainly be taking advantage of her if he responded.
But if he didn't? He wasn't sure, but he had a feeling in his gut tell him it might hurt her feelings. In her mind, maybe they did this all the time. She'd think something was wrong if he didn't respond the way he did in her false past. He had to do something quickly, because her eyes were fluttering and threatening to open. She was confused, it was clear in her arched eyebrows. The time for decision was now.
Ishida, with no clue as to what death was better- injury by Tatsuki, Chizuru and everyone else in the world who loved her or injury to Orihime- was not given the chance to decide.A loud grumbling filled the room. He raised one eyebrow, seeing Inoue withdraw and look away blushing. ... what was that just now?
"S-sorry... I'm a little hungry," She said, her arms leaving his shoulders feeling strangely naked and covering her stomach which felt the need to speak up again.
Ishida was sure he was going to cry. His grandfather had come through after all.
"I'll go start making dinner. You should rest and try to be gentle with your head. If you feel any headaches or get sick, please let me know right away," Ishida said, remembering the danger signs for a concussion.
"But we always make dinner together," She pouted. He guided her by one hand barely touching the small of her back, and brought her to the couch. He wanted to make sure she stayed awake and the bedroom was far from the kitchen and even with spirit powers he wouldn't be able to tell if she passed out or started to feel unusually drowsy.
"No, you need to rest. I will not be responsible for any further injury to you," He said, only wondering a second later if that sounded as much like mothering to her as it did to him. Of course, it was mothering with a dash of Ishida's unique coldness mixed in. She seemed to clue into something then.
"... Ah! So the reason you didn't kiss me back... you're still worried?" She said, watching him. Ishida was sure her grey eyes were beaming warmth at him like car headlights then. He was the one who felt dizzy. He nodded dumbly, glad she was making the excuses for him this time. "You really are like my brother sometimes."
"You kissed your brother?" Ishida asked without thinking. She turned bright colours before coughing into her hand and looking away.
"Of course not... I just meant that you both treat me so gently. But in the end, it's you who needs to be treated so kindly," She said, still smiling. Ishida mentally threw his heart back down into his chest from his throat. It was making some wild trips this evening. He wondered if he might finish being her ward with an untimely heart attack in two weeks.
"Well... what do you want for dinner?" He said, straining to keep his blush under control.
Amnesia chapter 3 (yes, I'm a fanfic whore)
Ishida was in his element, happily going away at making dinner for his new houseguest and himself. Now that he had the time to think and seriously consider what had just happened, he thanked his grandfather doubly. Who knows what he might have done? Foolish things, he was sure. Things any decent person would find terrible. And here, in his little kitchen, he felt safe from any physical tempations. Which was always the troubling thing about Inoue Orihime, as she was walking temptation. Even in his safe domain, he felt useless and pleasant thoughts sneak up on him when he was concentrating. They were small things, like the tiny whispered thought: What would his grandfather have thought of her? Would they get along? And then he imagined the three of them having tea together, his grandfather and Inoue laughing brightly while he watched in amusement. The image brought him back to himself, and he tried to forget ever imagining it. She was haunting him, surely she was. Even if his physical impulses were gone with their closeness, he could still feel a pleasant warmth filling him at the thought of her and this world she'd made up being real. It made him ache, thinking how he envied the false Ishida's nerve. If he had the nerve to ask her to live with him when they'd gotten back... maybe... no! He was not going there. That would only end in bitter disappointment.
Inoue examined her companion during dinner, which didn't go unnoticed. The food was lovely, Inoue had voiced. Having been around during one of Tatsuki's rants about her food, he watched in discomfort as she added the provided chocolate sauce to her yakisoba noodles and eggs. He honestly didn't know why he'd bought it. Ishida wasn't one for sweet things and possessed no ice cream. But he had been thinking that it was on sale and it wouldn't hurt to try it. His father didn't like him having decadent foods as a child, and thus the stuff gave him terrible stomach aches even now.
"Ishida-kun..." She said, breaking the silence as he placed his spoon back into his serving of miso soup. "I know you're really worried about me, so I won't push you to do anything but... but I need to know..." Ishida looked up from the soup, watching her questioningly as the words seemed to die in her throat. She turned a pale pink under his gaze, that he thought compared to cherry blossoms. Perhaps he might take her to the park for a picnic on the weekend- as her intimate companion, of course.
"Go on," He said as seriously as he could. He tried thinking of something, anything that might come out of the mouth of an intimate companion. He recalled something very suddenly that he'd heard from someone else's quoting of a soap opera and thanked the heavens he hadn't forgotten it. "You can tell me anything you wish." As always, he added a little of himself into it so it didn't sound fake. Watching her for a reaction, he felt his heart lodge comfortably into his throat as she beamed at him. It was the same beam from earlier that made him feel sort of... sparkly. He blushed lightly, deciding to never use that phrase again.
"I mean... I just to know when you think it would be safe again is all," She said, still pink. Ishida tried to shake off the warmth spreading to his limbs and threatening to turn his face into a large red tomato with dark hair and glasses. He kickstarted his brain to answer her, trying to think of something smart to respond with. And it came to him as a flash of pure intellect.
"The doctor said to take it easy for two weeks," He said, surprised by his own brilliance. But even as he said it, he swallowed down the disappointment clawing all too closely to his chest. So he had shut things down? Good. Yes, this was good. Even that word, good sent a jolt of sadness. He mentally scolded to get a reign on himself then, she was still watching. And in her grey eyes were mirrored his feelings. He looked away, erasing the moment from his memory. It would do no good to be pondering over this later. Ishida was a man of reason, and he was going to hold onto that reason with everything he had left.
"Oh... well, if that's what the doctor said," Inoue said, sounding downtrodden. She suddenly turned her face up and smiled. "Then I'll just have to wait! Afterall, I have to be just as patient as Ishida-kun who must have it harder than me!" Ishida was tempted to tell her how right she really was.
"You can help with the dishes if you like," he said, still looking at the ever-so-intriguing spot on the wall to her right. The light and high sound of her laugh- he was sure it was a sound in the soul world- made his eyes focus on her again. Ah, it took so little to please Inoue. He smiled almost sadly, but let it drop immediately. She was too attuned to the people around her. She'd see it. And he wasn't able to explain it to her.
Ishida was cautious and skillful at arranging the evening in such a way that they bathed in turn so he would be asleep by the time she had gotten out of her bath and dressed. Luck was not on his side today, it seemed. He'd forgotten one very, very important detail.
"Uryuu," whispered her sweet voice into his dreams, and he groaned. He suddenly associated her with the taste of chocolate sauce, only he wasn't getting the appropriate stomach ache. He slowly opened his eyes to a blurry figure. Who was it..? As his vision cleared, he could make out long dark ringlets of hair that were clearly still dripping a little. He lazily traced the smoothness of the blurred face, down the cream coloured neck and bare shoulders. It was when he reached the white towel struggling to contain something very three-dimensional that he shot awake and realization set in. Inoue was wet, and avoided naked by only a towel that couldn't contain her. "Uryuu, where are my clothes?"
Amnesia chapter 4
Ishida was in a state of panic. Her clothes? What clothes? The blissful oblivion of sleep was mercilessly yanked away. Oh dear kami, shinigami or whoever existed out there... what was he going to say? Her eyes were probing him, willing him awake and to answer her. She was patient in her silence, but her eyes were burning into him. His mind was racing to find some way to sidestep the question. Or distract her, perhaps? He swallowed, willing his eyes from their danegerous descent towards her creamy shoulders. Not a scar. No place on her marred. His hand tightened into the bed sheets and he coughed into the other one thoughtfully, avoiding her gaze.
"I..." Ishida began. Okay, he had a few seconds to think of something else to follow that.
"...oh," She said, her lips shaping the most beautiful and alluring 'o' he had ever seen. He had to look away again. What was she thinking? "I guess you found the moth holes, huh? Well, take as long as you wish to fix them up." There was a smirk on her face. Ishida's brain stopped functioning. Did Inoue ever smirk? Was she even able to? He smirked, Ichigo smirked, Tatsuki smirked but... why was she smirking? Confusion was Ishida. Well, one thing was cleared up. He was apparently fixing her clothes.
"... is it alright to wear the other dresses until I'm done?" Ishida asked, remembering he at least had handicraft club items and her school uniform. Inoue pouted, thinking it over with the utmost importance. He felt his heart speed up, would she ask any questions? Did he seem different than the imagined Ishida-kun?
"Alright," She responded, the smirk still there. There was a warmth spreading through his limbs as he looked at her, and he was engulfed in the moment. Before he'd realized what was going on, she was sitting on the bed and he'd pulled his legs up to give her became vaguely aware then that he had pulled her to sit there. He didn't remember doing it though. She was unfazed, the smirk replaced by a rather tender look. He held her hand to his face, and kissed it in a rather princely manner before resting his cheek against it. This hand... such a warm hand. He was contented at that moment, and didn't want to lose it. Ishida Uryuu had yet to remember a moment more warm than this. No, wait... yes, there had been a time. Long ago... he decided not to think on it.
He looked up in surprise as Inoue slowly withdrew her hand and stood. He was numbed with fear. What had he done? Was she leaving? Why? Should he apologize? Inoue giggled then, and his confusion had yet to dispell.
"Now don't look at me like that, Uryuu. I'm just going to change into some night clothes is all. I'm going to have to borrow some of your clothes, I hope that's alright." Shocked into a blank expression that was more child-like than Ishida would have liked to admit, he nodded dumbly. That look on her face, an understanding? She placed a kiss on his forehead, gentle like a drop of rain, and he acquired a very red/blank expression.
He looked quickly away when she dropped the towel, taking a rather strong grip on his leg to keep his eyes and thoughts averted. He had seen something he shouldn't have. He realized it wasn't much to other people, but to Ishida, anything naked of her was enough to set him into his bright red state. Even her hands seemed sacred, untouchable relics. So one flash of her smooth shoulders and upper back, was an intimacy that Ishida was unable to comprehend. He nearly slapped himself. He was a gentleman! A gentleman, and he would stick to it!
She crawled into the other side of the bed, and leaned her head on his shoulder gently. He looked over, taking in her attire, a bad habit he had suddenly picked up. Inoue Orihime was a bad influence. But even as he thought it, he realized the irony of how just so short a time ago the word 'good' had felt as though it was tearing him apart inside and now 'bad' felt so warm and comfortable. He nearly sighed. If he was alive into the second week, he was sure his personality would be twisted.
She was wearing his pyjama pants, dark blue in all their glory and one of his plain undershirts required with the school uniform. He mentally noted that only Orihime could make something so mundane look good. Of course, it might have been their difference in size that did it. The pants weren't accustomed to her generous hips and the shirt? Well, he wondered how it was managing to hold her in it. He was beginning to admire the courage and determination of the material that dared to try and contain Inoue Orihime's infamous assets.
Scooting under the blankets and pulling him to lie down, she still faced him. He was tired again. It had been such a long day. Why did it feel like he'd been fighting a menos grande? She was soft and gentle, much more so than the cursed pillow which he only had one of. She had somehow coaxed him to coming up just short of her in the bed, which was odd, but not any more odd than a cat that didn't exist. She pulled him close, and he understood why she'd done it. He was in the safe, chaste security of her neck and she was holding him as he imagined she might an upset child. Her arm hung loosely over his shoulders.
"I won't cause you any trouble tomorrow to make you tired, okay Uryuu? Let's do our best." Ishida barely heard it, but it registered. He was already floating off, and he couldn't believe it. He'd slept alone for a long time, even lived alone. He didn't understand why he was falling asleep with her as though he'd done it all his life. He was at ease, completely at ease.
"You're not... trouble..." He managed to say, though mangled by his half sleeping lips. He'd wanted to finish, but she'd gone and started to softly stroke his hair and it didn't exactly keep him awake. He only came to wonder later whether she'd meant the English test the next day when she had said: 'Let's do our best', and realized that perhaps understanding Orihime wasn't so difficult afterall. He had a theory. In order to understand her, one had to realize that she might be referring to some muddled conversation or snippet of television or radio and bringing it into whatever moment of time she thought of it and it made her speech a little cut-and-paste. So it was only a half hearted goal at that moment that he decided. One day, he wanted to be the only one who understood what she was saying. Of course, it also could have been the exhaustion talking.
Amnesia chapter 5
Ishida had made a careless mistake. He only realized this great truth when he awoke in his bed, alone. At first he hadn't really noticed the difference. He always slept alone. What had he thought was going to be different? He lived alone, he reminded himself. Something was trying to alert him to itself in his mind, but just as he mentally reached out for it, it was gone.
So he slowly slumped his way into the bathroom and set about getting ready. And half way through brushing his teeth, two horrible things dawned on him. First and most important, there was something burning. He could smell it. When he rushed into his kitchen, panic written across his face in the worry he'd left on the stove- there she was. Standing there, with his pyjama top unbuttoned two down. Or rather, the buttons were missing. Somehow, he'd guessed they wouldn't hold through the whole night. He was mentally going through the different ways he could fix them without making them look different from the original stitching when his analytical gaze reached a patch of skin that made his thoughts silent.
"Oh, Uryuu, you're awake. I't so odd of you to sleep in, I guess you were really tired!" She said, her hair neatly brushed and his pants replaced by the school uniform skirt. Somehow seeing her burning food while only half dressed in his kitchen seemed like a natural place for Inoue Orihime to be.
"Ah... Inoue... what exactly are you making?" He asked, though he wondered if he even wanted to know.
"Oh... I thought you might like some tempura," She said cheerfully. He stared at her, looking for something interesting to look at other than his poor silently begged it to keep fighting before she was half naked in his kitchen.
"Ah... that was very... thoughtful... of you," He said, wondering how to phrase his feelings without hurting her feelings. He wasn't sure there was a way. "Is it for lunch?" She looked at him as though he'd just disclosed the secret to space travel, and he became restless when nothing came out of her mouth to explain it for many a nerve-wracking moment. He wanted to know exactly what was running about in that odd mind of her's.
"I've already finished making our bento..."She said, a little bashfully. Ishida wondered at this more than anything else. No, not the horrifying thought of lunch today, but that she was bashful. It was timid. She was only this timid around... Ishida stepped forward and placed a kiss on her forehead to ease away the feelings growing throughout his chest at such observations.
"Thank you... Orihime," He said, turning bright colours despite himself. She seemed to blush in return, some strange facial language going back and forth between them. And once that theory had finished in his mind, he relaized his very own thoughts were becoming affected by this bubbly creature. As one of her hands moved up to his shoulder to turn him around to go finish brushing his teeth, he wondered if perhaps he was affecting her as well. After all, he was more bashful generally than she was. Her face seemed to be collecting his own expressions and sending them back at him.
As they started out the door, Ishida looked at his watch to distract himself while they passed "Chiyoko" (one of Inoue's favourites of the trees). The fried shrimp wasn't settling too kindly in his stomach, seeing as they were more breaded than shrimp. He guessed that perhaps she thought she made the stuff often but did not and her replaced memories couldn't make up for lack of experience in culinary skill. He'd been tempted to peek at his bento to see what she had made, but decided he wasn't sure his stomach could take the imagery quite yet. He'd never been very good with things that were deep fried.
"Orihime-chan!" Tatsuki raced up to them as they entered the school grounds. She looked a little more surprised than was necessary.
"Ohayo, Tatsuki-chan!" She said cheerfully, notably unaffected by the shrimp. Ishida was jealous. What was her stomach made of? Impenetrable Steel? Did she even taste food? What if she were taste-deaf like some people were tone deaf?
"Orihime, you're late!" She said, looking dauntingly at Ishida when Inoue wasn't looking.
"Ah..." Inoue checked her watch. "You're right!" And then they were off running before Ishida could think of voicing that the watch was his and she'd left her's on the bathroom counter that morning. It's masculine design seemed large and clunky on her thin wrist as she ran. He considered running as well, but decided it was best he enter the classroom seperately anyway. Late or not, he wasn't sure what class would bring him and wasn't eager to find out. Just another complication, he thought with a sigh.
He entered the classroom as subtly and unnoticed as usual- until he was ambushed by something short and orange. He barely caught his new housemate in time, only alerted by his warrior senses.
"Ishida! Tatsuki and Chizuru are coming for dinner tonight," She said, arms still hanging around his neck as he regained his balance and her feet descended back to the floor. Across the room, Tatsuki was glaring at him rather murderously. He wondered if perhaps Inoue had made his bento out of sweet mercy so that he wouldn't have to live to see dinner time.
"Ah," He answered, a little surprised that the entire classroom was now watching. Keigo was crying loudly, being the only one who made any noise. He seemed highly upset by the image before him. Though Ishida couldn't blame him for those feelings. If it had been... that shinigami here, with her arms around him... he wasn't sure how he'd feel. He put one hand on her shoulder and walked her back to her desk before saying a quiet goodbye and returning to his desk. He wasn't pleased when Chizuru came upon him with a dead expression on her face. She looked like she was going to cry.
"Just..." She sniffled noisily. "Just look after my 'Hime, okay? I'll definitely steal her back with our heated connection!" She cried, leaving the classroom in a dramatic run. He stared after her, feeling his stomach turning and a headache beginning to form. This was going to be a long, long day. And then there was a shadow on his desk. He looked up warily. This was just what he needed.
"Ishida," Ichigo stated more darkly than Ishida had ever remembered.
"Yes?" He said, half sighing. He really didn't have the energy to deal with this today. He slowly looked up at the spiky haired youth and was surprised by the look on his face. It was... similar to Chizuru, in a masculine sort of way. There was a deep wound in his eyes, that even Ishida felt some pity for it. It was probably hard for his peer to find that a girl he considered his loyal and reliable comrade had suddenly forgot him. For the first time, he wondered how Ichigo was taking this entire situation. What was he feeling in reaction? Was it guilt?
"..." Ichigo looked away, out toward the windows. Ishida let out a breath quietly.
"Kurosaki, do you want to have lunch with me?" He asked. Ichigo looked back at him, surprised. Then, slowly nodded and trudged away. There had been a small sense of relief in his eyes as he left, much to Ishida's quiet pleasure. It was almost as though Inoue had made him someone important. He felt like the main man on this stage, no longer the supporting character, so to speak. He was shocked with himself. He was... happy.
Amnesia chapter 6
Class seemed to be detrimental to the health of any unlucky fool fortunate enough to be somehow intimately connected with Inoue Orihime. By the time the lunch bell rang and their English teacher left the room, he counted ten threatening notes, twenty perverted notes and five inquiring notes passed to his desk or expertly tossed into his desk without the teacher’s notice. He was sure the headache was growing bigger. What was worse than receiving the notes was the ominous glare of Inoue’s closest and most violent companion. The girl was smart, he admitted, so how in the world could she afford to spend the whole class time staring at him?
He felt heavy as he stood from the desk and was wary for a few moments. They all assembled around him soon enough, morose and quiet. Well, with the exception of Inoue who had pulled the desk beside his right up and sat down as if she’d done it all her life. Her, eating with him. And like some beautiful wooing of their relationship, she’d set out a pretty blue cloth as though they were dining high class. Ishida easily crushed back the embarrassing hope that she might try to feed him in an adorable show of girlfriendly affection with the feeling of Ichigo’s dark eyes watching him.
“Ishida-kun! What do you think we should make for dinner?” She asked cheerfully, raising her chop sticks to strike her own lunch when she stopped and saw his bento still obscured away. She reached over to set it up for him when he took her hand in his, gently stalling her movements.
“Inoue… please understand. About today… you should… ah…” Ishida was tripping over his words. Why couldn’t he be suave about it? A silent voice in the back of his head responded loomingly: ‘Because it feels like you’re rejecting her, when all you want to do is-‘. He shushed the voice.
“Orihime-chan, let’s have a girls only lunch today. Let Ishida off the hook to hang out with his friends for once,” Tatsuki said, almost friendly. Ishida looked up, relieved. When he caught her eye to somehow show her a mental thanks, he saw that the kind façade disappeared and turned into a dark look warning him to step off or lose an arm. He took this threat as seriously as she meant it, and dropped Inoue’s hand. He’d honestly forgotten he was holding it.
“Alright! Ishida, please make Kurosaki-san feel welcome here at Karakura!” Orihime said, no happiness lost on her face. Ishida had a sinking feeling as he looked thoughtfully into that gaze, and wasn’t sure whether it was him or the greasy shrimp. He nodded, then took his bento and retreated with Sado and Ichigo up to the roof. The other two whose names he’d never really caught had run off to weep in the courtyard about some guys using voodoo to seduce their sweet class goddess in order to take some revenge. He wasn’t listening. Honestly, he wasn’t. And he most definitely NOT inwardly smiling at the irony of it all. The class geek often thought to be interested in men- snatching away their pure princess. No, Ishida did not inwardly gloat. Well, not that he could acknowledge beyond the pain of digesting morning tempura and taking the first look at his lunch.
“Ishida… how is she?” Ichigo asked softly, not looking at him. Ishida watched his friend carefully, trying to decipher his words. Ishida knew he was asking something else very subtly. Ishida sighed, feeling the first depressing influence since the class princess had become his ward.
“The head wound doesn’t seem to be serious. Her co-ordination and emotions are as normal- well, they’re the same as before,” Ishida answered scientifically. But both heard the final finish on his statement: before she forgot you. It was a pain that he’d rather not visit upon Kurosaki, shinigami or not.
“Has she… asked about me? Is she remembering anything?” Ichigo continued, his nonchalant tone covering the need in his words well, but not well enough for Ishida to miss.
“She… she’s worried about you,” Ishida said. Despite his grudge against Ichigo for having her affections all this time and just not noticing, he couldn’t kick a man when he was down. And the spiky-haired youth probably didn’t want to hear that her memory wasn’t even showing signs of trying to repair itself. If anything, the lies were becoming more and more intricate. There had been a few moments here and there at home in which Ishida had believed the intricate story that Inoue had weaved. It all seemed so real when it was just the two of them- and yet, at the same time it was fake.
“Ah. Well, I’ll try to not worry her,” was the only response Ichigo would give. His gaze had locked onto the open bento in front of Ishida. Though the saying was sometimes true that the thought was indeed more important than the gift itself, Ishida could not say he agreed with the flavours of Inoue’s thoughts. Dill pickles, sweet bean paste and strawberries did not belong on a pita together. More importantly, how she had made something so ridiculous out of his bland and understocked pantry was a mystery. So he picked at the plain rice on the side, praying thanks to Kami-sama for her foresight in a plain dish. He wasn’t sure, but there was a hint of some spice in the green peapods on the other side. He hoped it wasn’t cinnamon. He simply couldn’t handle the stuff. Especially on top of the unsettled tempura that would not leave him.
Ishida looked over fretfully at the silent freshman beside him. He was dearly afraid that Ichigo was going to cry. As selfish as it sounded, he was bad enough with Inoue crying, the last thing he needed was this. A man he had come to respect, crying at his lunch. It would ruin his appetite altogether. A cloud passed over the bright sun, and Ishida’s eyes were hidden by the shine of his glasses.
“Do you want the pita?”
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
Amnesia Chapter 7
Inoue Orihime was a complicated individual. At least, she could admit that to herself. So the strange pulling in her belly at the thought of Ishida giving her home made lunch to the orange haired teen was... mysterious. She wanted Kurosaki to feel welcome, and yet... She didn't make that lunch for him. She'd never thought of herself as a selfish person, but she was beginning to question that theory. She was selfish. About him, anyway. She glanced out the classroom windows. Open, blue sky laid before her. The clouds were lazily moving past. And yet, she could not stop the feeling that the individual Kurosaki-san reminded her of dark clouds covering the sky. She felt suffocated. It was silent, why was it so silent?
"Stop it!" She cried, standing up. Her chair made a loud klank as it hit the floor.
"Orihime...?" Tatsuki said quietly, pulling on her arm. "Are you alright?" Orihime looked around her. She had just disrupted the class and the Literature teacher was looking at her with a particularly unhappy frown.
"Sensei, may I go to the nurse's office?" Orihime asked, sounding quite small.
"I have heard about your injury, you should have an escourt."He replied.
"Arisawa-san, please walk her there."
"Hai! Let's go Orihime-chan," Tatsuki said quickly. Before Orihime knew it, she was outside the classroom.
"Tatsuki... my head hurts. It really hurts...".
"Orihime... are you... thinking about anything?".
"... no, my head hurts too much."
"I see. Orihime-chan... I'll take you home," Tatsuki sighed, taking Inoue's hand and going in the direction of the office.
"Ah... no. I don't have the keys... Uryuu-kun can take me home." She pulled her hand away to catch Tatsuki's attention. Tatsuki looked at her, concerned. What was Orihime thinking? Was she remembering something? She couldn't ask... Because if Orihime wasn't remembering, asking about it would make her headache worse for sure.
"Orihime-chan, you think too hard. Don't worry, I'll stay with you until Ishida comes home and we can still have dinner together." Tatsuki said, smiling brightly. Without a word, Tatsuki stuck her head back in the classroom. "May I please borrow Ishida-san for a second?". The teacher nodded subtly. Ishida stood, and grabbed his school bag anticipating a walk home. When he got into the hallway and the door closed behind him, Tatsuki held an open palm to him. He stared at it, then back at her for a few moments. Inoue looked pale and nothing about the look on her face could have been considered bubbly at all.
"O- Inoue-san, are you alright? Do you need to go to the hospital..?" He asked, trying not to look at Tatsuki. He wasn't sure he had the money to take her to the hospital and he sure wasn't going to use his father's connections to do it. He didn't want his father to know about Inoue. She was safer at the Kurosaki clinic.
"Orihime-chan is going to rest at home so I need your keys. I'll stay with her." Tatsuki said, reminding him she was there. It was almost like a declaration of war against him, the way she said it. As if he had somehow been an unsuitable friend at one point or another. But why did she look at him like that, with such desperate eyes? He sighed. He felt a pain go through him. Orihime... was not his. She would never be his. After she remembered things... it would be better if Tatsuki was there with her if Orihime was remembering things. He rummaged through his school bag until he found the keys.
"Inoue-san knows the way," he remarked, pushing up his glasses. Tatsuki took them quickly, trying to end the social bit involving him as quickly as possible. Inoue was still looking pale, but she smiled at him.
"Uryuu-kun, I will see you later. Don't worry," the red-head declared as cheerfully as she could. "It's just a headache." Ishida smiled slightly. He pat her on the head gently. Somehow Orihime couldn't shake the feeling that it was like he was frowning and not smiling at all. It was his eyes. They were sad.
"Be careful, Inoue Orihime." She stared after him, frowning. She would have stared a bit more after he had gone into the classrom if Tatsuki would have let her.
"Orihime! Let's go... don't mind him. You'll see him tonight," She said softly. Orihime frowned.
"... Will I?" She glanced down. "Tatsuki-chan... I love Ishida. I really do." She felt as if there were supposed to be more words coming, but she couldn't find them. She looked at Tatsuki, lost yet wanting to say so much. She felt there was a river pouring through her and yet only a trickle of water could leak out. It was frustrating. She could feel tears forming. Perhaps there really was a river inside her... A strong hand grasped her shoulder, bringing her back to reality. Tatsuki was smiling at her.
"I understand, Orihime." She turned to go to the office, and Orihime followed. The red-head wiped at her eyes, relieved. Tatsuki probably did understand, even if Orihime didn't realize it herself.
"Tatsuki-chan, we should pick up some groceries on the way home. I used a lot of the basic necessities yesterday," Orihime said cheerily. The headache was still there, but it felt distant now.
"Alright, just a bit then. What do you need? We might be able to go to a convenience store and not go out of our way-" Tatsuki began.
"Oh, I need sweet bean paste, fish, whipped cream, orange marmalade, garlic powder-" Orihime cut her off. After the garlic powder, Tatsuki made an effort to stop listening and noted that she needed to pick up something for her stomach or make sure she guarded the kitchen from Orihime until Ishida got home. For a split second, she felt pity for the man. He was eating her handmade lunches to not hurt her feelings. That poor, poor... bastard! Who knows what kind of things were happening in that little apartment! She was going to make sure he got the message to keep his hands to himself until Orihime remembered. Of course she knew that Orihime wouldn't really care and might not remember and... well, he could wait. She wasn't going to let this be easy for him.
Ishida felt a chill on the back of his neck. He remembered Arisawa's eyes, and began to wonder if he could skip town for a couple days saying it was family emergency. But then... Orihime would be very sad. He wasn't sure which he could handle more of: Arisawa's violence or Orihime's unhappiness which would lead to- more of Arisawa's violence. He smiled. Inoue was not a ray of sunlight. That wasn't right. He'd been looking at it from the wrong perspective this whole time, but he finally understood. Inoue Orihime was... a flower. A flower with the sun, earth and rain constantly watching over her growth. Of course she liked Ichigo. He was the sun, giving her hope and helping her grow. And Ishida was just the rain. Falling, and falling and falling without being able to stop. But he was afraid of losing himself at the beginning. Now, seeing her as the flower he worried that perhaps he might drown her if he wasn't careful. He didn't inspire hope or make her laugh. He was the rain she couldn't have all the time. Tatsuki was the earth, constantly protecting her and looking after her. Because, without Arisawa-san, who was Orihime? He felt a shot of pain. He wanted to be her earth. But he couldn't be that. How cruel. She had pulled him to the ground but he could do nothing more for her. He was stuck, being eaten whole by her guardian. Literally. Arisawa-san could probably kill him and make it look like an accident. Maybe he ought to re-consider that leaving town plan again.
"Tatsuki-chan, why don't we make dinner together as a surprise tonight!" Orihime said suddenly. They were sitting on the floor in Ishida's very bland apartment in front of a radio that looked like it never got touched.
"Ah... alright Orihime-chan!" Tatsuki smiled. Oh yes. This was it. Just wait until that nerd got home to endure the all famous cooking of Inoue Orihime! This would be a great warning. After all, if you could get to a man's heart through his stomach, surely you could inspire fear the same way! "This will be so much fun Orihime!"
"T-tatsuki-chan... why is your smile so creepy..?" Inoue commented, not really expecting an answer.
When Ishida arrived at his apartment, the first thing that took his notice was that Both his and the guest slippers were not there. Seeing as he rarely had guests, the guest slippers had been merely for show. And yet, here he was, slipper-less. What he should have noticed first was the smell, which he noticed second after a gruelling decision to not go out and buy Orihime her own slippers. Something was burning. And something else smelled like jam on deli meat being fried. At that moment he was so very happy he hadn't eaten the wierd parts of his lunch. Though he pondered how Ichigo was doing, and wondered if perhaps giving the other part of his bento to the formerly substitute shinigami was going to do more damage than good.
"O-orihime?" He called, hoping she hadn't left something on the stove.
"Oh, Ishida-san is home, Orihime-chan!" Tatsuki called from the living room where she was reading the few books that Ishida owned with some boredom. As he entered, he looked at her strangely.
"Arisawa-san... ... I didn't realize that you knit," He said, looking between the girl and the book.
"Ah... I don't. Why?" Tatsuki answered, smiling a little too happily.
"It's just... that's a pattern book for knitting hats." Before either party could continue with the odd conversation, Ishida felt himself nearly making contact with the floor as something very heavy slammed into him from the side. He caught his footing at the last minute, and turned to see what had hit him. For a second, he was dazed the the bright colour shining in his face.
"Ishida-kun! Welcome home! I'm feeling a lot better now. Tatsuki thought I could maybe feel better if I distracted myself while cooking dinner and it worked!" Inoue said, still holding his arm in a very embarrassing place. He could... feel them. Ishida turned red and wondered if he might faint. He rejected the idea, of course, in the name of his masculinity. Of course, once he saw the look on Tatsuki's face he wondered if he would be off the hook if he fainted. "Uryuu, there's no need to be so embarrassed about me making you dinner!"
"Ah... yes. Well, what are you making, Inoue-san?" Ishida said, relieved that Inoue had let his arm go to run back towards the kitchen. She stuck her head out after a moment. Oh yes, something was definitely being fried on the stove that probably wasn't supposed to be fried. Ever.
"Ah, I'm making an american stirfry, flavoured onigiri and tori no kara-age. Won't it be great? A wonderful home cooked meal with an appetizer!" She said before disappearing into the kitchen again. Ishida was sure he saw his life go by. American stirfry? Rice balls? Chicken nuggets? And what was worse... there, in the corner of the kitchen just where he could see before his vision was cut off by the walls- there was a chocolate syrup container in the garbage. What did she put it on?! Oh, he hoped to god it wasn't on the tori no kara-age. It's not like he'd ever tried it, but somehow he just knew that chocolate syrup on breaded chicken was... so very disgusting. While becoming very pale, he looked over at Tatsuki sitting with his knitting patterns. She was smiling.
"Yes, I paid for all of the ingredients. My mom is always worried that Orihime-chan isn't eating enough," Tatsuki said, confirming all of Ishida's worst fears. His mind was forced back to the threatening notes he'd received. One had said something like not worrying about heaven's punishment when earth's punishment was so much closer. Then, a crude drawing of a fist. He was beginning to get the message. After all, Tatsuki was Orihime's best friend... she would always be close by that way.
"Ah, the appetizer is done!" Inoue called, stopping his inner monologue. She placed a small plate on the table, and Ishida was afraid to look. And there it was. The leftovers of the cinnamon flavoured snap peas and a few flower shaped carrots thrown in for colour with artistic dribbles of mayonnaise. Ishida took a deep breath and approached the table. He slowly reached out to grab one of the carrots, hoping the cinnamon flavour hadn't had enough time to soak yet. As he was removing it from the plate, it hit a bit of the mayonnaise and he made coolest face he could. Because the dining table was in just the right place that the three walled kitchen was completely visible. She was sure to be watching. He silently reminded himself of the pains she'd gone through to make such a complicated meal and that it would make her feel better after the headache she had earlier. Slowly, very slowly, he took a small bite. It looks like he had been right! Inoue hadn't had the time to let the carrots soak in the flavour of the cinnamon and so mayonnaise and carrot didn't taste too terrible. After all, neither of them had a strong flavour.
"Arisawa-san, are you not eating?" He asked, trying to turn the situation around.
"Ah... Tatsuki-chan's portions are packed up to go home. Her mom called earlier and said she needed to finish some homework she didn't do during the last tournament," Inoue answered, bringing out the onigiri. It took Ishida a moment in his shock that Tatsuki had trapped him by intellect alone to notice the oddness
of the rice balls. It was after Tatsuki had been given her portions and left that he finished his little flower shaped carrot slice that he looked at them. He was actually quite fond of onigiri, his grandfather tended to make them. He told Uryuu that the shaping of the onigiri helped you keep your dexterity. Of course, at the time, Ishida had been quite small and not very good at shaping them. Out of nostalgia, he unconsicously picked one up and it was half way to his mouth when he noticed.
The onigiri was pink. In the shape of a teddy bear's face. And it did NOT smell like anything pink that was meant to be in a rice ball. It smelled like... stomach medicine.
Ishida had never wanted to know his own bathroom so intimately. He wasn't sure exactly how much time had passed, but he was exhausted. In the end, he had gotten his wish. The chocolate syrup was NOT on the chicken. And she had not cooked the stirfry with soy sauce. He should have realized that to Orihime, an american stirfry was a stirfry with some kind of american product in it. Sure, you could say it was american if you used traditional north american vegetables, but somehow burnt chocolate syrup was not what he had expected or prepared himself for. The ironic thing was, that despite all that if she hadn't burnt the chocolate sauce talking to Tatsuki at the door, it would have been tolerable. And the chicken had actually been quite good. Using ginger to flavour the breading made it a little tasty. Of course, she could have used less ginger, but it was a start. He almost didn't mind that the chicken would be leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. Taking a deep breath, he closed the toilet lid and flushed it before moving to the sink to wash his face. He was feeling rather unpleasant and wanted to take a shower before presenting himself to Inoue again.
"Uryuu... can I come in?" She asked, making him jump. Water spread along the counter and he grabbed a royal blue towel to clean it up before it started dripping on the floor. "I'm... sorry." He looked up thoughtfully. She was upset. Well, he had tried his best to digest the food without looking as unwell as he had felt but the burnt chocolate syrup had just pulled the trigger, so to speak.
".. Inoue. Don't worry about me, I ate too much-" He began, his face still dripping.
"No!" Inoue said, entering on her own. She looked at him seriously. He stared at her blurry form, his glasses left sitting on the side of the bath tub. "I'm not stupid! I know it was the food. I'm really sorry, Uryuu! I don't know what's happened to me... we used to enjoy all our meals together and now... I'm just a failure. I forgot to make sure that the foods wouldn't upset your stomach. I know you don't like a lot of fried foods..." He sighed.
"Inoue, don't worry. I know you were trying. Don't beat yourself up so much. You had a headache still when you were at the grocery store, right?" Ishida said quietly. He tried his best not to breathe in her direction and was breathing through his nose to keep the smell of his sickness from reaching her. "Besides... you put the stomach medicine in the onigiri on purpose, didn't you?". She looked at him blinking back tears and let out a sigh.
"You're too good for me, Ishida-kun," She said, frowning. "I'll go clean up the kitchen so you can rest." She walked out, leaving the door open in a very masculine fashion. Come to think of it, she had some strange habits. She'd taken his magazines in his room and left them in a tidy pile in the front room today, thus how Arisawa-san had come to be reading his knitting book. For once he was glad he wasn't the type of man who kept other sorts of magazines in his closet. He finished brushing his teeth and using mouth wash in time to hear her finish putting away the leftovers in the fridge. Then she turned the kitchen sink water on to wash the dishes. He walked slowly to the kitchen, wondering what would be best to say to her in a situation like this.
"Inoue-san... " He began, then looked at her. She was holding her head. "Inoue-san, what's wrong?" He rushed to her side and turned off the tap. The sound of the water disappearing seemed to surprise her, and she jumped.
"Ishida-kun... Ah, what was I doing?" She asked, looking about her. "I think it was something in the kitchen... but maybe it wasn't. But then why would I be in the kitchen? Ah!" She spun around and checked the fridge fervently. He watched her for a few moments, a little curious. When she started mumbling under her breath, he tapped her shoulder.
"Ah... what are you doing?" He asked, more than just a little wierded out. He pulled his hand back swiftly after tapping her shoulder, lest she bite him or something even more bizarre. She looked at him like he was asking a stupid question. She made an almost huffy noise as if she had explained this to him hundreds of times. For whatever reason, this made him feel a little meek. He chastised himself. Feeling like a child in front of such a person was ridiculous!
"Don't you know?! I'm looking for salmon!" She snapped. If it weren't such a strange thing to be doing, he'd wonder whether it was really Orihime or not. "You have to be on the look out! It might eat our butter."
"Uh... I don't think salmon eat butter, Orihime..." Ishida commented, wondering why he even bothered. She looked at him with an odd look for a few minutes, of which he looked away after the first.
"Are you sure... ?" She questioned him. He nodded. She seemed to be thinking, so he made his escape. He sat in the living room, looking over at the stack of his magazines. He probably ought to study, but he was still working on a sewing project. He was looking over the knitting book that Arisawa-san had seemed very interested in earlier when the red-head finally made her exit from the kitchen. Seeing the opening beside him, she loudly fell there and tried to read over his shoulder. This eventually led to her chin brushing against his shoulder, of which Ishida was finding himself very aware. He'd stopped reading and was trying not to turn red at the contact of her arm against his and the small brushes of her chin against his shoulder. He was sure that eventually this would be an activity that gave him peace and relaxation rather than heart palpitations. Maybe someday.
"I promise I won't get hurt," Orihime whispered soothingly, drawing little patterns on his pale arm. Ishida fought to keep his blush in check and so far seemed to be winning but at the cost of losing track of the stitch number in his newest knitting project. It was getting cold lately, and frankly, Inoue was the type of person these particular mittens were made for. For the sake of his own pride, he left out the part about the mittens generally being made for children by their frustrated mothers. There were only so many pairs of gloves that she could lose before he would start this project. A week was up. And Inoue was still oblivious to everything, but more importantly, once she had finished losing all of her own gloves she'd taken to wearing his. Which, was sort of endearing. But her small hands didn't fit inside them well enough compared to his long hands, and his hands were getting cold without his favourite gloves. That, and perhaps Inoue would take the gloves he was making home with her when she left him. And then she might wear them sometimes, and it would be like a reminder to him that there had been a time when he, Ishida, had been loved by her. He'd been warned today at her check up at the clinic that she might forget everything that was happening now. He'd known that the man was taking pity on him.
"Uryuu, are you listening to me?" Orihime said, taking his glasses right from off his face. His vision was blurred, and he was forced to drop his knitting to look at her. It was hard to tell, but he was sure that she was standing very close to him. He could feel her breath on his face as she huffed about him not paying attention to her. Her grey eyes seemed darker up close, he thought.
"What is it, Inoue?" He asked, trying to smile at his guest. She sighed, and pulled his knitting project out of his lap and set it onto the table with ease. She'd done it as though it had been so natural that he hadn't even noticed until a needle tapped against the table. He began to panic, wondering exactly what she was trying to instigate when she pulled one of his long legs onto the couch effectively turning him to the side. He turned his head to look at her, still without glasses. "What are you doing?" She smiled, laying one hand on his shoulder to comfort him.
"I'm not asking again if you weren't listening. Now I'm just going to go ahead and interrupt your knitting," She said, completely misreading his baffled expression. "Don't worry. I'm not going to exert myself; I remember there's still one week left." And before he'd really known it, she had settled herself between his legs on the couch and was leaning her back against his chest. He'd been so careful to listen to what she said that he realized she'd moved there when she pulled his long arms around her shoulders.
"I-inoue?" He said uncertainly. This was definitely one of the most intimate moments of his entire life and they were both completely clothed. She closed her eyes and sighed.
"It won't hurt just to hold me, you know. You worry too much," She said, smiling without opening her eyes. The words struck him as strange, and almost tender. Because for once, it seemed like they were talking about the same thing. And even though the the logical part of his brain was poking holes in the entire idea that what she said had meaning to their actual circumstances, his rapidly beating heart overran it for once. He extended his arms around her to hold her shoulders to be as gentlemanly as possible. Spurred on by the feeling of her relaxed and facing away from him, he slowly let himself rest his face onto one of her shoulders. He was tired. No, he was weary. Keeping her out had been scraping away at him and he didn't have the energy to keep going. Just a break, he told himself. This was just a break for a little while from the reality. Soon he'd go back to creatively finding ways out of her embraces and affectionate gestures, perhaps rested a bit.
The break went on for an hour, Ishida realized with some awareness later. He'd finally decided to make himself look up at the clock when he was sure they'd been there for what felt like an eternity. What surprised him was that it was time for Inoue to take her bath and she hadn't said anything. It took him a moment of coming back to himself to realize that she had fallen asleep at some point. Her breathing was very even and deep. And when he'd shifted his arms to poke one shoulder to get her attention she hadn't responded. He was unsure how to go forward at this point, because he didn't exactly have any reasons that seemed worthwhile to get up. Until of course, he realized that he did want to take a bath even if she chose to sleep through hers.
He reluctantly and carefully moved her so he could carry her bridal style when he stood from the couch. She didn't stir, though he could see that her eyes were moving very quickly under her eyelids. He decided that he really didn't want to know what she was dreaming about. He probably wouldn't understand. As he moved slowly towards the only bedroom in the apartment, he mused to himself how he'd held her like this once before. Although she would never remember it, he'd been moving too quickly and had set her down by the time she had been safely secured out of danger. She was the same in weight, and in comparison he liked carrying her more now when he was more aware of the entire experience. It made her seem very frail, and delicate. He set her down onto the bed and had just pulled the blankets up around her shoulders when her eyes opened and she sucked in a gasp of air. He was sorry he'd woken her, but she seemed to be upset.
"Orihime, you're alright. You were just dreaming," He said, hoping it would comfort her. She pulled at him then, quiet. She pulled incessantly and rather than have her ruin a shirt, he was gave in and crawled onto the bed beside her. She buried her face in his chest the moment he hit the bed, and was shaking. Had she been having a nightmare? He carefully wrapped his arms around her as he imagined he might have if this entire charade wasn't a pile of lies. She seemed to still, before looking up to him cautiously.
"Uryuu?" The personal way she said it, made him blush. But there was a questioning tone to it, one that was frightened. It must have been some nightmare, he mused.
"I'm here, 'Hime. Everything will be alright," He gently stroked her hair, wondering if that was what her imaginary Ishida did as well. Either way, it in combination with his words seemed to calm her as she buried her face back down into his chest. She was calmed, but not letting go of his shirt. He hated to rock the boat when his life seemed to be going so well... but he had to out of polite etiquette. "Inoue, you should change into your night clothes if you're going to sleep early tonight." She shook her head against him, though what she was saying no to, he had no clue. She finally looked at him again, and looked hard as if she were about to deliver an ultimatum.
"We're going to sleep. Now," She said, seriously. Normally, if she hadn't had such a pale look about her, he might fight her on it, but he got the feeling that she might cry if he didn't do as she asked. And it worried him. What could have shaken her so much? She was hurting, and he could see it. But he didn't know what to do for her other than stay right there. It was the only thing she'd asked of him. He looked up at the light that was still on above them with some irritation. He couldn't sleep with the light on. She followed his gaze, and understood. She pulled him by a firm grip around his waist to accompany her to turn off all the apartment lights, the bedroom last before settling back onto the bed into the former position. He was now beginning to worry about her. Why was she moving as though her life depended on them being glued together? He decided she was tired now. He would ask tomorrow morning. He didn't want to upset her now as she was just calming down again. He stroked her hair, wondering if he could get up in time in the morning to take a quick bath then.
"Good night, 'Hime," He said, hoping it sounded like a worn in term of endearment. It was still new and made his heart attempt an escape, as well as filling his face with colour. But she didn't really seem to care that it was so difficult for him to say it. He wondered if he'd gotten lucky and that the Ishida in her mind was also bashful.
"Uryuu... you love me, right?" She asked it so suddenly it shocked him. Shocked him out of what he was thinking, and shocked him to know that she was dead on correct. Somewhere along the line of her wearing his watch, his slippers and gloves she'd managed to take his heart for her own as well. It was nothing less than shocking. But, he had to step back and remind himself she was looking to be comforted at that moment and didn't need him to be frighteningly silent after such a question. He thought hard about what he might say had they already confirmed such feelings with one another. Another inspiration. He was getting good at this.
"You know I love you. And I'll still love you tomorrow, so sleep now." He was too good, he thought with a bloated ego. An ego that was needled by the fact it was true. He was going to die in one week's time. Fall into a million pieces at her feet when she realized the ghastly truth. Suddenly... what other people thought or threatened didn't matter anymore. Because she would belong to the shinigami substitute again in one week. In one week, Ichigo could have her love forever. Ishida only had now. She only loved him now. He wasn't going to take advantage of her- that was cowardly. But he wasn't going to waste this time either. Because he loved her. And for one week- she loved him the way she never would. Their cat meowed before walking into the room. It was likely confused, wondering why the two humans were in bed to go to sleep already. But not complaining, the cat jumped up onto the bed and curled up behind his ankles purring. Their life together- he just wanted to have it, to accept it for one week. Was that a sin?
When the two set out for school two days later, Ishida was too blissfully occupied by the feel of her small and warm hand in his to think about the fact that she had once again taken his gloves. He'd even finished the mittens he was knitting for her and had presented them to her the evening before. She'd been a little confused as to why there was a string connecting the two mittens until he'd explained how she wouldn't lose them that way. She'd been so touched by the gesture, that he had thought for sure she would wear them. But instead, she'd been taking his gloves as usual. He'd caught her toying with the mittens just that morning, and so it had been a little strange that she'd forget to take them. But he noticed that she never lost his gloves. Only her own. The late October wind was cold, but not cold enough for Ishida to care. After a particularly chilling breeze, he shivered. She noticed, with some lament looking down at the navy blue gloves she'd taken. But before she had time to fret, he'd slipped his one hand into his pocket and the other hand she had been holding ever so skillfully into the mitten with her hand. Inoue blushed at the intimacy of the gesture, but saw with a bit of surprise that he was looking forward. She knew he was blushing as well, but he seemed to be hiding it well. Inoue smiled brightly, and followed his example.
Orihime was glad that he didn't seem to think that she was turning into a kleptomaniac. As she met up with Tatsuki and she felt his hand leave hers alone in the glove, she felt a pang of loneliness but fought it back. He nodded at her, and continued on his way to the school while she met up with Tatsuki. It wasn't until Tatsuki and Orihime were inside changing into their indoor shoes and hanging up their coats that Tatsuki noticed the extent of her taking things. It had gone quite far by now, and Tatsuki was beginning to worry.
"Orihime... you..." She began, unsure about how to word what she wanted to say. Orihime looked down, a little shamed. Tatsuki would notice. She was sure Chizuru would notice as well. And whoever else looked at her clothes with some detail was going to start asking questions.
"I... It's a good luck charm," She said, meeting Tatsuki's eyes reluctantly. Tatsuki looked over her once more, making a checklist. She was wearing his watch, dangling on her wrist. She was wearing his gloves again, her gaze moved up to her shirt. Orihime was wearing Ishida's tie from the boy's uniform instead of the red bow provided for the girls. Her socks were a neutral grey, which was a colour she never wore. Inoue was fond of white socks, and sometimes socks with loud patterns but never grey. Tatsuki sighed, and wondered how many other people were going to notice.
"Orihime... if there's anything bothering you... you know you can talk to me," Tatsuki said, smiling. She didn't want to worry the red haired girl so early in the morning. Besides, Tatsuki already knew what she was doing before Orihime knew it herself. Anyone who knew about Orihime and a bit of psychology could see she was obviously wearing a protective barrier. When she was with him, she didn't need them but during school hours she couldn't exactly stick to his side- though she had tried glue. But it seemed that when someone said that two people were glued together they did not mean using the actual adhesive material. In the end she'd just ruined one of her school uniform shirts giving her the excuse if he should ever ask to borrow something else that was his. She wondered how he'd managed to not notice his shirts were stretched. She'd stopped wearing it after trying to survive in it for five seconds the morning before before realizing he'd notice if she taped her chest down. She cursed him at that moment for being so thin and had schemed to put more fried fatty foods into his bentos if she could manage it.
Ishida managed to make it until lunch before he'd start to count the days left again in his head. Five days. That was lots of time, he thought to himself. Today he would for sure succeed in having lunch with Orihime despite the opposition of Tatsuki, Chizuru and surprisingly Ichigo. He'd become rather mopey, and was insistent on knowing every single detail of Inoue's every action. Which was becoming ridiculous. He was tired of trying to rationalize the way she managed to wave at Kurosaki when she entered the classroom in the mornings with the orange haired teenager. Still, he was pleasantly surprised when the lunch bell rang and Inoue had dragged them out of the class room with both lunches in one arm. She had them sitting on the empty roof in their coats before anyone could react- even himself. He wanted to laugh, but her grave expression seemed to tell him it was not the right time.
"Orihime," He said, sitting down beside her. He brushed a stray hair out of her eyes shamelessly, noting that she'd somehow locked the door to the roof with spirit power alone. "Tell me what's wrong." She looked at him in surprise. Maybe he had noticed the clothes. She set the lunch boxes down and pulled her coat tighter around her as if trying to hide it. She sighed, giving in.
"I feel happy. And also safe when we eat lunch alone together," She explained, before begrudgingly handing him one mitten. He wasn't sure what to do with it, but she was already wearing the other one and appeared to be making no plans to return it to him. He used his bare hand to start eating the lunch. She'd made an effort after the last cooking accident to take note of what didn't make him ill and what did. He noted that his lunch today had a lot of meat in it. He looked at her thoughtfully, noting she had also packed him some pastries for dessert. Though she made strange foods, Inoue always packed a balanced meal. He wondered what it was she had been thinking about when packing him this lunch. He looked over at her lunch and decided she seemed to be dieting as well. Without much thought, he dropped three chicken nuggets onto her rice with his chopsticks before starting to eat his own tiny rice portion. She looked at him, surprised.
"You're going to need the protein if you insist on keeping the door closed for the entire lunch period," He said, continuing to eat. She smiled at him unexpectedly, touched by his concern. He sat dazed on the receiving end of it, heat filling his face. The moment was broken when Ichigo finally broke through the door and spirit force, pushing Orihime back and making her nearly lose her lunch. Being as quick as usual, Ishida caught her and her lunch without disturbing his own lunch. Kurosaki stomped toward them with his own bento and sat in front of them. He'd sealed the door again, Ishida thought bemused. Inoue however moved into his side until he could feel her body heat through their clothes and coats, looking wearily at Kurosaki.
"I thought I could join you while you reminisce," Kurosaki said, with more tactic than he'd shown in his entire life. He had said it to Ishida, mainly. Ichigo insisted that he be around Inoue at lunch in the thought that maybe she would remember him if he hung around long enough.
"There isn't really all that much to think about," Orihime said defensively. Ishida was sure if she could have crawled inside him she would have at that moment as she couldn't seem to get close enough. Ishida set down his bento, already knowing where this was headed. Orihime was unusually mean to Ichigo lately. Not in any intentional ways of course, but she was brushing him off, even avoiding him.
"Well, there was Ishida's Bankai, it must have been impressive," Ichigo pushed. They seemed to be acting like children now, pushing and pushing until one of them would get hurt. Which was strange. Had he really been so caught up in his own happiness that he hadn't noticed something changing? It couldn't be. No. He looked at Ichigo with an intense gaze. Ichigo ignored him, continuing to look at Orihime. It had all taken place in five seconds, but looking back Ishida was sure it felt like longer in memory because he chose to prolong his obliviousness before it was shattered.
"Don't be silly, Ishida doesn't have a Bankai, you were the one who-" Inoue's highly strung response cut out as quickly as it had started. She hadn't finished the thought. But she didn't need to. Because suddenly Ichigo had pulled her to her feet, and was doing some juvenile movment that had the two of them spinning in circles. And Ishida sat stunned, staring at the spot where she'd just been. He was cold without her snuggled so close to his side. He wondered why it had happened so soon? Five days... He was supposed to have five days. Where had they gone? Three people on a roof top. One pulling along an old friend with joy. Another being pulled, pale and stricken with the terror of having been found out in a lie. And the third, frozen. Frozen and bleeding inside.
Orihime was the first to snap out of it and react. Ichigo hadn't realized that she'd been shoving him away until she pushed him down onto the ground. She wanted to scream at him, tell him how horrible it had been to play that trick on her. But she was in just as much trouble, really. No matter how much she wanted to scream at Kurosaki-kun, tell him just what was running through her mind, she felt tears come on instead. She chose to run past him to the door throwing it open. She only looked back for two seconds at Ishida who hadn't moved before the tears came down harder and she choked back a sob while turning and escaping the scene.
Kurosaki was too happy at that moment to notice that he was the only happy one. He turned to Ishida, still on his butt where she'd pushed him.
"She remembers me, Ishida! She's all better. Isn't it great?" Ishida looked up at him helplessly, before coming back to himself. He took a breath to steady himself as he began to clean up the mess that was left of Inoue's lunch to give himself a moment. He'd known she was going to remember, even if it was supposed to have been in five days, he had known. So it shouldn't have been as shocking as it was to him. But of course, there were painful questions he wasn't ready to ask. How long had she remembered? Was it Ichigo who had finally pushed her to remember or had it happened earlier? Had it happened when she'd had that nightmare? He admitted, after dreaming of their life and then realizing you were in a one sided love would be a nightmare. But she had stayed by his side, started acting strange but more like herself.
"Hn. She's back to normal," Ishida said finally, packing away the lunches efficiently. He strained but managed to make his response neutral. Ishida was not a people person. Which is why he left the rooftop next without any goodbye and left the school without looking back. He was going to be not just alone but also away from people until he could recover his wits. Any person who figured out that he was sad about her recovery would be sure to tell him how horrible it was. So he decided to suffer through it alone, the way he knew best.
Inoue had quickly secured Tatsuki and had made an excuse to go home with her early. When they finally arrived at Inoue's apartment and settled down Tatsuki spoke.
"So you remember now," She said. It was a statement, not a question. One that laid her heavy with guilt. Somewhere she'd known it was wrong to lie and pretend that nothing had changed but she had thought for just a little while that maybe she could make that dream a reality. She realized now that she had wanted to do so at the expense of a friend.
"I used Ishida," Orihime began, not bothering to hold back the tears streaming down her face. She stared forward, knowing Tatsuki wouldn't judge her harshly for it, but might suggest some way for her to make things better. "I pretended to not remember, because it seemed so much easier that way. But I never thought about his feelings."
"What do you mean?" Tatsuki asked, a little lost.
"He was pretending to love me and be the person I thought he was until I got better. And he was so kind about it. I used him to make my life easier. It was just so nice being loved... I didn't want to stop. I was so selfish," She said, sighing. Inoue had never faced a problem of this magnitude between her and a friend before. Tatsuki watched, thoughtfully.
"So do you remember everything that happened before?"
"Most of it, yes. Why?"
"Because you said something to me, Orihime-chan, that I really think you meant. You shouldn't be sad. It's only natural to want to be loved. Ishida is reasonable, if you ask him for forgiveness and just explain it to him he will probably understand. Sure, you made a mistake. But everyone does," Tatsuki said, resting a hand on the table passively.
The last thing the lone Quincy expected was hearing someone break into his apartment. He sat up in bed, getting ready to pull his bow. He heard a crashing noise in the living room as the intruder knocked over the table. When he picked up her unique reiatsu, he calmed his hands. How had she managed to come in, and why had she chosen to break into his apartment at this time of night? He inwardly sighed, he wasn't ready to deal objectively with her yet. Even so, ignoring the fact that she had likely hurt herself on the table would be just cold. So with great reluctance he went into his living room and switched on a lamp to find an embarrassed Inoue Orihime on the floor holding her pained leg. He could see the window behind her was pried open, and raised his eyebrows in concern. He lived on the second floor. He had to remind himself about the fairies quickly, and figured it out. He never had thought to lock his windows, being off the ground. It was a good thing she was the only one who had fairies that could hold her up while she opened the window. He moved into the room and pulled one pant leg up to check that she hadn't cut herself.
"There is a door for a reason, Inoue-san." Her leg seemed alright, she mused as he examined it, but she seemed to be having heart problems instead. It was these heart problems, she insisted that were responsible for what she blurted out next instead of her perfectly planned apology. She'd been polishing the apology until it was amazingly perfect and had fallen asleep only to wake up and find night had fallen and she hadn't yet apologized. The cat she'd called Boots walked into the room yawning. It looked at her with a look that surprised her, it was as if the cat thought the window sneaking was absolutely normal and that she was supposed to be there. So she had decided later that it was a mixture of the cat staring at her and her heart problems that ruined her perfect apology.
"I'm having your baby," She blurted out. It was petty of her, and she regretted it the moment it escaped her mouth. Fearing retribution, she didn't look at his face until she heard him laugh.
"Then you shouldn't be breaking into apartments in the middle of the night," He answered. He'd been there when she had read one of her random books and heard her ranting about how it was such a wonderful ending but unrealistic. Which is exactly what he was laughing at now. When he finally calmed, he could see she was too embarrassed to take it back. "So what are you going to do about this baby?"
Inoue, a little hesitant, tried to keep her focus. She hadn't actually expected him to react that way. She fiddled for a moment with her hands before answering with another heavy layer of guilt.
"I was thinking we might keep it. You wouldn't have to marry me or even date me, but I think it might be a good idea to perhaps live together," She said, her heart seizing with fear at his silence. What was he going to say? Even yes wasn't an answer she could handle right then. Roommates wasn't a bad arrangement, really, but it seemed heartbreaking. He studied her features, which made her more nervous and he could see it. Suddenly he knew exactly how this other Ishida had been able to approach her, and felt that he was sure that person had always existed in himself. He'd just never known it.
"We could try dating. Once the baby is born, I'll marry you." Orihime felt herself turning very pink. She absolutely hated it when he caught her off guard with these things. It made her feel like she was playing a game where the first person who blushed lost. And perhaps she had lost. But there was no sense in not trying for a tie.
"That sounds good." And to even the battleground, she pulled him in for a kiss. For their first kiss. Most people dated for a little while, and then kissed. But not Ishida and Orihime. That kiss started it.
Chapter 13 Epilogue
Orihime, for the first time since she had moved in with Ishida Uryuu was troubled. not just her usual troubled. More of a trouble that didn't go away when she went to sleep. It was a problem that she had learned was not in the category of being able to be slept off. Which made her pout. This problem had not become smaller, but it was not becoming bigger either. The phone rang, and she was forced to answer it.
"Hello?". She always seemed to say it in the form of a question when she wasn't paying attention. The person on the other end seemed to know this and could have been upset but chose not to show it if he was.
"Inoue Orihime-san, I assume." The voice was cool, crisp and strangely much like Uryuu's when he was feeling distracted. But then there was something a little colder about this voice that made her almost drop the pen she was holding.
"Speaking," She answered cheerfully, setting the pen down on some homework she hadn't really been focusing on. Ishida really didn't like it when she did that, even though she always got her homework done on time. She just needed the thinking space.
"This is Ishida Ryuuken." Orihime raised one thin eyebrow. Was she supposed to know this person?
"Ah, you must be a relative of Ishida Uryuu. But he's not home right now, so-" Orihime never finished. Because he'd hung up before she could say anything more. Well, the man was certainly curt possibly even rude. But it hadn't been so bad, as it had distracted her from her problem for a small while. It was mainly an issue of time and comfort. She had been living with Ishida for years, and yet it was dreams of that night that were plaguing her with odd worries. They were silly, she knew that. It had hit her all at once when they'd been receiving their acceptance letters. Ishida had received many, and the worries about whether they could manage to still live together bothered her. Ishida hadn't talked about any future career plans, not that she had ever thought to ask.
She perhaps didn't ask enough questions. For instance, when she had finally told everyone about her new living arrangements two weeks into it. She didn't ask any questions as to why Kurosaki had been too busy to come to the house warming party she had finally talked Ishida into. But then, it had caught her a little off guard when he had showed up anyway with a certain little female shinigami in tow. Rukia had been so happy for her, and even brought some strange gifts from Soul Society. At first she had started to question whether they might be like ghost objects once left in the human world for too long but she was assured otherwise. Her arrival had been rather nice and calming for the red headed girl, as she once again resided at Ichigo's home and he calmed down. That wasn't really the right word for it. It was more that her presence distracted him. He'd been moody a lot after he'd found out she had been pretending that her memory hadn't returned. He was hurt by it, she was sure. But she had no way to explain her reasoning why without making his feelings even more hurt. There was nothing positive she could say about it. It had been purely selfish, but when Rukia came back she seemed to have found the right words to soothe him as she always did. Or perhaps she just beat him up. One could never tell.
Tatsuki had been harder to handle at first. She urged Orihime to re-think the entire situation, pointing out logically that she might just be feeling a little lonely at her own apartment and that maybe that feeling would pass. She had taken a long evening to convince Tatsuki that with their combined income they were going to get a bigger apartment. It was the two bedrooms that finally sealed the deal. Orihime was not silly. Well, she was, but she was not stupid. She had her own bed and bedroom furniture at home and her own many other items that would not fit into Ishida's tiny apartment. She kept Sora's memorial away in a corner of her room so as not to bother Ishida too much by it. She felt that perhaps if she put her brother out in the front room as was traditional there would be no way she could kiss Ishida without feeling embarrassed. It was silly, but Ishida didn't ask. So she had gotten into his habit of not asking. It was easy to blame others, she knew, but she was quite sure he at least influenced this change.
She was surprised out of her reverie when she heard unlocking the front door. She picked up her pen as if to make that she was studying. After all, their entrance exams were no funny matter even if they had already been sent letters. High school wasn't even over yet, though it almost was and she already had to study to enter a University or College. To do what? She'd never really thought about it. She'd had these grand schemes of becoming a bride, and then forgot that brides made no money and received no family aid. As long as she went to school she would still be contributing to the rent. That, and Ishida had made sure she'd applied to different Universities. He seemed to think she could be a career woman- if there was a career in the world that worked in her insanity.
"Inoue, the page is upside down," He said as he breezed past into the kitchen. He was right, too. She sighed, the quincy man was far too sharp. Some days it made her want to blind fold him, not that it would help her case any. She stood and stretched before peeking her head into the doorway to the kitchen. He was pouring some juice into two cups.
"Ishida Ryuuken called. Is he a relative of yours?" She said once he'd put the mango juice back in the fridge. He swerved to look at her in surprise. He could tell she wanted to know more than that.
"He's my father," He said shortly. Inoue was surprised by this knowledge. His father? Why did he live on his own? She decided at that moment she was going to start asking questions. It was too quiet when she didn't. Sleeping in separate rooms was one thing, but she refused to keep the fear of rocking the boat from her intimacy with her boyfriend.
"You never told me about him. He must be wondering what Universities you're applying for," Inoue pressed, and saw he noticed it too.
"Can we please leave that man out of our home and conversation, Inoue?" He was using his eyes on her, the sad ones she couldn't say no to. She hated it when he used those! It was like he had laser beams piercing into her heart. "We can talk about anything else that you want to."
"Anything?" Inoue perked up. He looked at her warily, wondering if she'd shrunk some clothing in the wash again and was going to tell him about it.
"Ishida... uhm... you remember the night we started living together again?" Inoue accepted the cup of mango juice he handed to her. She shifted her weight uncomfortably as he nodded. "Well... I was just thinking that... do you still feel that way?" Ishida was completely unsure where this conversation was going. Of course, that was nothing new to him. No matter how hard he tried to understand everything about her, there was always something out of grasp. He put his cup down on the counter and took her free hand, lifting it to his lips gently.
"Of course, Orihime," He said, hoping to wipe away the worried look on her face. He still held her free hand as she took a sip of her mango juice before setting the cup down on the counter as well.
"So... you still want to be with me? And... maybe marry me?" Orihime hated having to bring it up. She'd been warned by Tatsuki that such promptings led to men running away. She said that men were more cautious about such serious commitments. But Ishida didn't seem fazed by it as he pulled her in close to place a kiss on her nose that made her heart flutter. She was very glad that Ishida was somewhat shy, as the blush on his face made her feel less embarrassed by her's. Of course, sleeping in two bedrooms did that to a couple.
"Yes. I promised, for you and that baby," He wasn't smiling, but she could hear the humour in his voice. She set her expression very straight. here it went.
"It's just that... since the baby wasn't ever real and I sort of just used it as an excuse to make you love me again... and it will never really be born... well, then does that mean we'll never actually get married?" Inoue completed the question with some difficulty. Ishida looked at her, raising one eyebrow curiously. That's what she was worrying about? His illogical Orihime was being logical. It was spooky. He was expecting Ichigo to burst in the door proclaiming he was really a woman in disguise.
"Most people wait until they're done University to get married, 'Hime," He said, trying not to make it sound like he was postponing such a plan for personal freedom. He actually was just traditional that way, it only seemed to make sense to wait until they had careers- weddings were expensive.
"Oh," Inoue said, still feeling a bit put out. She pulled back a pout, knowing he'd tried to make it softer by calling her by that nickname. He was pretty translucent in his affections which wasn't such a bad thing, but sometimes she found herself distracted by his efforts and hated losing an important thought path because of it. He made an eye movement that was almost the same as sighing before looking at her seriously.
"But we could be engaged, if that's what you would like," He finally compromised. Life with Inoue wasn't perfect, wasn't planned and wasn't organized. So even without a ring, it seemed like she might treat it like a traditional proposal. What worried him most of the time was that she might change her mind someday, and decide she didn't want to play out this beauty and the geek fairy tale any longer. She kissed him then, and she tasted like mango juice. She drew her face away only to lean it on his shoulder.
"Alright," She said, closing her eyes. "Only one catch."
"We share a room. Like a real engaged couple." Ishida's mind boggled at the thought. It would be a decorating disaster. The colours and patterns of their things just didn't match. There was no question of becoming lovers, in his mind. If it was what she wanted, he could only oblige. However from a fashion standpoint it would be difficult. But he silently reminded himself about compromise. It hadn't done him any danger yet.
"What about the extra room?"
"We'll make it into a sewing and crafts room."
Well now he just couldn't say no. Not even to her hideous green body pillow in the shape of a frog.
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I’ve always wondered about them, those glasses of his. They always have a glare, so I can’t see his eyes. Where is he looking, what is he looking at? Sometimes I just wanna take them off to see those eyes of his. Hee hee, but he wouldn’t like that.
But still, I wonder what he’s hiding behind those small lenses. Everyone says eyes are the windows to one’s soul. So what does his look like? Hmm, also, does he look into mine? Or does he avert them? I always like to guess where he’s looking. It’s like a little game I made.
I’m playing that game right now. It’s club time, and I’m making a new pillow case. I spilled chili and orange juice all over my other one while having breakfast today. So I need a new one!
Anyway, he’s working on a dress. I think it’s for Rukia. Sometimes I can’t help but feel jealous. The last one he made for her was so pretty, and the one he’s making now is gorgeous! I can tell, I’m sitting across from him. There’s a glare again, so I can’t tell if he’s looking at the dress or behind me when he pauses.
I know a few of our female members are behind me. Is he watching one of them? Does he have a crush on one of them now instead of Rukia? It fills my head with so many scenarios. I always come up with ideas to get him with someone, but I just don’t know who that someone is!
I can’t ask Ichigo or Chad. Either they wouldn’t know or keep it a secret. Maybe the club president? Perhaps he’d know who Uryu has a crush on? Then again, Uryu is the secretive type. He wouldn’t tell anyone he had a crush on a girl.
“Orihime?” Oops! I distracted him.
“Sorry Uryu, I was only thinking.” Yay, I can see his eyes! I like seeing them.
“Ahh, is that it? What were you thinking about?” Unlike everyone else, he treats me nicely, since we know about hollows, the soul society, etc, and also have been through so much together. It was kind of hard to explain to the other members why we’ve been so friendly. “Orihime?”
“Ahh! Sorry! It’s nothing important.” I know that look, why does he know me so well?
“Well, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to tell.” Hee hee! Probably thinks it’s about robots or flying bears.
“Actually, I’ve been thinking about your glasses.”
“My what!?” He’s so pink! That’s so cute! “Why’d you think about something like that!? They’re just glasses, nothing important or interesting.” He always acts like this, flustered and all. The only time he’s serious around me is when I’m in danger. Other than that, he’s really silly and goofy.
“Well, they’re always hiding your eyes, so sometimes I wonder if you’re thinking or ignoring me.”
“No, no, no! I wouldn’t ignore you! That’s something that Ichigo would do!” Huh, he sounded angry when he said Ichigo’s name. It makes sense; he’s a Quincy while Ichigo’s a Soul Reaper. But still, they should be friends.
Well, he knows what I’m thinking about. So I might as well ask him.
“Yes Orihime?” Why’s he so twitchy and nervous?
“Do you have a crush on someone?” I knew it. He does. They way he froze up and dropped the dress, and of course his cute tomato red face. “Ah-ha! I knew it! You DO have a crush on someone! So.” I quickly looked around, good, it’s safe. “Who is it?”
His glasses are hiding his eyes again. What’s he thinking? Is he trying to decide to tell me? Or how I knew? Maybe he’s looking at her? I knew it can’t be me; he seems like the type to like shy and quiet girls. Although, I hope I’m wrong. No one would think I have a, well, eh heh, that I like glasses.
“Well, uhm. I-I don’t think you’d be able to help.” What? Me, a girl with lots of good friends unable to help?
“Nonsense! Just tell me who she is and I’ll set you two up on a date!” Ooh! He’s even redder!
“Impossible. She sees right through me.” Aww, that’s so sad. Who could it be? Couldn’t be Chizuru or Tatsuki. Hmm…I need more clues.
“Are you sure? You never know if she’s watching you while you’re distracted.” Like I do sometimes.
“Positive. She…has a crush on someone else.” Ahh! An unrequited love! No wonder he looks so sad. So, she likes someone else…hmm…I don’t know if any of the girls have new crushes. But there is a few who do in our club. Maybe one of them? But just to make sure.
“How do you know she does?” Darn! Glare is hiding his eyes again, but I can still tell he’s angry.
“He’s all she ever talks about.” Oh…it must really hurt. Maybe that’s why he always has that glare on his glasses. So she doesn’t notice he’s watching her. “So, is that all Orihime?” Is there? Hmm…
“Well, I notice that you’re always fixing your glasses. Why don’t you get them fitted?” He’s blushing again!
“I-It’s nothing bad. Not something to waste money on.” Oh really?
“Are you lying Uryu?”
“No! No I’m not! Besides, they’re only glasses.” Hee hee! I like it when he’s flustered!
“Ha ha! You’re lying! I can tell!” I haven’t talked this much with him before. This is fun!
“Why are you always asking about my glasses?” Darn! Avoiding the truth! “Chizuru wears glasses, why don’t you ask her?” True, true. Maybe I should! Yeah, I’ll go do that!
“Thanks for the answers and advice Uryu! I’ll be right back!” Now, where could Chizuru be? Hmm, not in the bathroom. Or in the classroom. Maybe she’s with Tatsuki?
“ORIHIME!” Agh! Well…I found her now…or more like she found me!
“Ah ha ha! Chizuru, that tickles! Please stop!”
“But Orihime! They’re-“
“She said stop!” Phew. I can breathe again.
“Thanks Tatsuki! Although, you didn’t have to kick her that hard. I wanted to ask her something.”
“Oh, sorry. Come on Chizuru, get up.” Err…she doesn’t have to hold the back of her shirt. “Well, ask away.”
“Ahem!” Tatsuki looks pissed…
“Sorry, sorry. Yes Orihime?”
“Well, your glasses.” Eh heh, made them curious.
“Yes? Oh! You think they’re cute! Is that it!” Not exactly, and now Tatsuki seems worried.
“It’s not that! I’ve just been wondering. Why don’t you get contacts?” Oh, she’s laughing.
“Contacts? Ha! Don’t you know? Glasses make me look intelligent!” Well, I guess that’s true. “And it’s also a good way to hide your emotions.” Is that why for Uryu? “And besides, contacts are irritating! They hurt my eyes and of course they can easily infect them if they’re not clean.” Huh, I didn’t know that.
“So…why are you suddenly curious about glasses?” Ah! I can’t let them find out!
“Oh nothing! Just a simple whim! That’s all!” They think I’m simple minded, so I’ll just play the part! “Well, thanks for answering my question. I’m going back to the club now. See ya later!” So, intelligence, infection, and most importantly, hiding emotions. Uryu doesn’t care for looks, well, looking cool anyway. Well…street cool. Yeah, that’s it. And he’d rather be able to see than become blind. Lastly, I know he likes to hide things.
I think I like his glasses even more now. It’s a good thing I haven’t said anything about it. Or the boys would all start wearing them and bothering me for dates. Of course, I always turn them down. There’s only one person with glasses I like. But that’s my little secret. Maybe it’ll always stay that way.
“I’m back!” Wow, he’s almost done! Wish I could try it on at least once, but I doubt he would let me. Or maybe…I can ask? No! No, I’ll just stretch the material, and he’d have to start all over again. I can’t think about it! Back to work on my pillow case!
“…Orihime.” Hmm? He wants to talk.
“Did you find your answers?” Ahh, I see! He’s just curious!
“Yup! Chizuru helped me!”
“I see…” Oh! He’s quiet now. I wanna hear him talk! Hmm…maybe I’ll tease his glasses some more!
“Do you sleep with your glasses on?” Ha ha ha! The look on his face, it’s hilarious!
“Orihime, why would you ask that? Didn’t you already talk to Chizuru?” Eh heh, sorry Uryu. But I wanna talk some more.
“I forgot!” Oops…I must’ve made myself look dumb. “So, do you?” Aww, he only shook his head. I command you to talk! But, that seems a little bossy.
“I’ll be taking my leave now. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Ahh! No! I can’t let him leave yet, what to do…I know! “Wha…hey! Give me back my glassed!” Ha ha ha!
“Come get them than!” Now you can’t leave!
“Orihime! You know I can’t see!” Hee hee hee! I know! Which means you won’t leave me! “Orihime, you know I need those.” I know, I know. But not yet, you’re not leaving me yet.
“If you want them, you have to answer my questions truthfully.” Oh, his face has gone pale.
“W-What? I always tell you the truth.” Uh-huh.
“Yeah, but sometimes you don’t answer me at all. So it’s either you answer my questions or you have to take your glasses back from me.” Huh, he looks different when I look closely. But personally, I think he looks better with his glasses on. Hmm…how does he look when he wakes up? Ahh! No daydreaming! Gotta keep focus! Huh? He’s sitting down.
“All right, I’ll answer your questions.” Yes! A success! I wanna do my victory dance, but I’ll do that at home. Now to sit down, but not too closely.
“So Uryu, why do you want to hide your emotions?” Ha! He didn’t expect that!
“I don’t understand the question.” Argh, he’s avoiding it again!
“Chizuru told me she uses glasses to hide her emotions, which means you probably do too!”
Ha! I could tell he’s embarrassed! I hit the jackpot. Thank you Chizuru!
“Well, emotions tend to cloud judgment and make us irrational.” Wait…hey!
“Are you saying emotions are a weakness?” That’s not very nice. Everyone needs to feel.
“Well, enemies tend to take advantage of them. Look at Ichigo, he gets riled up easily, and they exploit it. So, as you said, in the battlefield it is a weakness.” I see, that’s understandable. Although there’s still one thing.
“Why don’t you show them at school than?” Oh! He’s blushing again! So cute.
“Y-You never know when you’re being spied on. So it’s best to have a façade at all times.” Wait…at ALL times!?
“Even when you’re home alone?” Wow, his face is even redder. I wonder how red he can get.
“Isn’t that a LITTLE too personal?” Ah ha! Seems to me he has a little secret!
“Ah, ah, ahh! You promised! Soooo?” I win, I win!
“W-Well, if it’s safe enough…” Yay! He doesn’t keep his mask on! Although…
“What’s there to hide? Everyone knows you’re friends with us, and you’re fully capable of defending yourself.” Oh, he’s getting nervous now. Did I miss something? Oh, that’s right! “I get it! You don’t want the girl you like to get hurt! Am I right?” Ha! Bull’s eye!
“She’s already been through so much. Getting involved with me…it just wouldn’t work out.” I see, he doesn’t want any more mishaps to happen to her. I’m so jealous, whoever this girl is. I know one thing for sure, it is DEFINITELY not Rukia.
“So…may I ask how this girl is like?” Hmm, he’s hesitating.
“Well, she’s different.” Wow…how descriptive.
“And what do you mean by that Uryu?” Aww, his face has gone soft.
“If you really want to know, she’s a good person. Someone you can always trust, always willing to lend a hand, no matter the situation.” Man, I wish I knew who this girl is. “Although that helping nature usually gets her in danger. So I always seem to end up saving her. Well, either me or the guy she has a crush on.” Really? Hmm, I don’t remember Uryu rescuing any girls recently. “But I’m always relieved to see her smiling face. I never want to see her stop smiling, that’s all I’ll ever need from her.” This girl has no idea how lucky she is to have someone this in love with her.
“She sounds like a wonderful person.” He he, he’s smiling at me.
“Yes, she is.” I’m so envious.
“Well, I’ll give you back your glasses now. Thanks for answering my questions again.” There, that’s the Uryu I recognize. “Well, back to work!” Need to finish up my pillowcase!
“Uhm, Orihime?” Oh, he’s still here.
“Yes Uryu?” I…his eyes, they’re looking straight at me.
“The girl. Earlier you asked who she was.”
“Yeah, I did. What about it?” Hmm, he’s pointing at the finished dress that was on the desk.
“The dress is a gift for her. Her initials are sewn on. Could you give it to her?” Aww, he left before I could reply. Now, let’s see.
“Ah ha! It’s…O and…I. But that’s…” Me.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
Happily Ever After
“So, we’ve all decided to do a play?”
The entire class nodded as their teacher wrote on the chalkboard. Karakura High School was about to hold its annual festival and as usual, each class was supposed to have something ready for it.
Their class had decided to do a play about a princess and a knight who were in love with each other but were torn apart when an evil demon came and kidnapped the princess. Luckily, the brave knight was able to venture into the lair of the demon and saved the princess and lived happily ever after. Yadda, yadda, yadda, let’s move on.
“So, I want all of you to vote on the parts. First, we’ll start with the main characters: the knight, princess, and demon. So, who—” the teacher was cut off by Chizuru.
“Ooh, ooh, Orihime! Hime-chan should be the princess! It’s so perfect!” Chizuru squealed.
“Eh? Me?” Orihime pointed to herself, for she was in shock that she would be picked for that. “I don’t think I would do a good job.”
“Are you kidding, Hime-chan?!” Chizuru screamed as she grabbed Orihime’s hands. “You’d be the most perfect princess! Your name even has ‘princess’ in it and you’re so cute that you’d look great!”
Orihime looked down as Tatsuki pried Chizuru off of her.
“Get off of her, you psycho lesbian!” Tatsuki threw Chizuru to the side and huffed. “If she doesn’t want to be the princess, she doesn’t have to.”
“Um…I wouldn’t mind,” Orihime mumbled.
“Excellent. All in favor of Orihime being the princess?” the teacher asked.
Almost every hand in the room shot up. Orihime looked around the class and giggled at all of the people voting for her. Her gaze landed on the orange-haired shinigami who was sleeping at his seat and drooling from his mouth. Then she looked over at the strong and silent giant who was raising his arm slightly.
‘Sado-kun is such a nice person,’ Orihime thought.
Finally, she looked over to the bespectacled Quincy who was also raising his hand slightly.
“Ishida-kun?” Orihime whispered.
Uryuu blinked and looked over at Orihime. When their eyes met, he blushed, adjusted his glasses, and looked away.
“So, Inoue, do you wish to be the princess?” Orihime blinked and her attention turned back towards the teacher. “Well?”
Orihime looked back around and noticed all of the weird grins on the boys’ faces and the glares she was getting from many of the girls. She thought on it for a second before she smiled.
“I’ll do it.” Many people started cheering until she said: “On three conditions.”
“And they are?”
“One: I want to also be on the costume design team,” Orihime requested, holding up a finger.
“Done,” the teacher said.
“Two: Ishida-kun also has to be on the costume design team. I love the clothes he makes in Handicrafts Club.”
Uryuu nodded before he looked at Orihime in confusion. Why would that be one of her conditions? Oh, well, he was going to be on the costume design team anyway.
“…I want Ishida-kun to be the knight,” Orihime giggled.
Uryuu’s glasses slipped, Chizuru screamed, Tatsuki laughed, and most of the boys gasped.
“Excuse me?” The teacher didn’t really understand why she would want that to be a condition.
“I want Ishida-kun to be the knight,” Orihime repeated. “He’ll do a great job. He’s smart, so I know he can memorize all of the lines, and he’s a really great actor.” Okay, she was lying about the second thing, but she had to have Uryuu as the knight.
“B-b-but…Inoue-san, I do not mind being on the costume design team, but the lead role? I think it would be best for someone else to do that,” Uryuu reasoned. He didn’t want to be the knight. Don’t get him wrong--being the knight to Orihime’s princess was a dream come true… but he was never one for plays, and he hated being in the spotlight.
“Oh, please, Ishida-kun. You have to be the knight,” Orihime pleaded as her mouth quivered.
Uryuu began to sweat before he adjusted his glasses again. Why was she so cute?
“Orihime-chan! Why him?!”
Orihime stopped her mouth quivering and looked over at Keigo who had risen from his seat.
“Wouldn’t you rather have someone who could appreciate the true beauty of you as a princess?” Keigo asked as he made a rose appear out of nowhere and tried to look sexy.
“Screw that!” a random boy yelled, pushing Keigo down. “I should be your knight! I would be great, especially since I am the president of the drama club.”
“Hime-chan!” Chizuru screamed, grabbing her hands again. “I should be your knight! You don’t want a lousy boy to be your knight, especially one as awful as Ishida.”
Chad poked Ichigo in the head and Ichigo shot up.
“Who? What? Is the stupid meeting over?” Ichigo asked as he wiped the drool from his face.
Chad merely pointed his finger and Ichigo looked in that direction. He was not expecting the class to be in an uproar about something or another.
“I fall asleep for two minutes and miss everything? How is that fair?” Ichigo looked at Chad for the answer, but Chad merely shrugged his shoulders and put his headphones in his ear. “What are they fighting over anyway?”
“They want Inoue-san to be the princess, but she’ll only do it if Ishida is the knight, and no one wants him to do it,” Chad muttered.
“Oh. Whatcha listening to?” Ichigo said, grabbing one of his headphones.
“Inoue, it seems no one wants Ishida to be the knight,” the teacher finally spoke.
“Then I won’t be the princess,” Orihime huffed.
Everyone turned to look at three girls in the back. The leader, Yuna, stood and her long brown hair swished as her black eyes glared at Orihime.
“I should be the princess instead. I would make a much better princess than her,” Yuna insisted.
Tatsuki was about to yell at her when Orihime clapped.
“Hooray! I’m so glad that’s settled. So I’ll just make costumes.”
Almost everyone looked around before they all sighed. They really wanted Orihime to be the princess, and since the only way for that to happen was to have Uryuu be the knight, then…
“I want Ishida to be the knight,” almost everyone said.
Yuna gasped and yelled at everyone for doing this to her. Orihime started to cheer.
“Okay then, but Ishida, do you want to be the knight?” the teacher asked.
Everyone’s eyes turned to the quiet Quincy who had hoped that he wouldn’t be asked that. He wanted to keep up the cold and uncaring persona he usually had, but he didn’t know how with Orihime giving him her sad and pleading puppy dog eyes.
‘Please do it, Ishida-kun. I can’t do it without you,’ her eyes were saying this as they stared at him.
“…I’ll do it,” Uryuu sighed.
Orihime cheered and the teacher marked that down. So everyone else chose their parts and whatever else they wanted to do. (A/N: Guess who the demon is.) The lunch bell rang and people began to leave the classroom.
“Ooh, who does that Inoue bitch think she is? I would have made a much better princess than her,” Yuna hissed as her companions all said words of agreement.
“Shut the hell up.”
The girls all turned to see Tatsuki and Orihime standing behind them.
“Orihime is the princess and I suggest you stop whining about it. Otherwise, you’re going have to deal with me…and you don’t want to do that, do you?” Tatsuki growled.
The girls all started to shake as Tatsuki smirked and walked off in the opposite direction. Orihime smiled at the group of girls before she gave a bow and followed Tatsuki. Yuna just snarled before she cracked the knuckles of one of her hands.
“That Inoue. Just because she’s got huge boobs, she thinks she’s the greatest thing in the universe. Everyone acts like she’s a perfect little princess, but I’ll show her.”
“I can’t believe you’re going to be the knight,” Ichigo laughed.
Uryuu glared at the carrot-top before he ate a rice ball. He couldn’t believe he was going to be the knight either, but he still didn’t like to be laughed at.
“Be silent, Kurosaki, or should I say, ‘Peasant #3’?”
“Hey! I didn’t even want to be in the stupid play. I just wanted to be a stage hand,” Ichigo said.
“I didn’t want to be in the play either. I just wanted to be a costume designer,” Uryuu shot back.
“Yeah, but you’re not anymore! You’re the knight! The lead!” Ichigo laughed.
Uryuu was about to say something snide when Chad spoke up.
“I wonder why she chose you.”
Uryuu and Ichigo stopped and looked at the towering young man who continued to eat as if he had said nothing of importance.
“You know…he’s right. Why would she choose you of all people?” Ichigo wondered.
“I’m not sure. I was curious of that myself,” Uryuu said, sticking a piece of fish in his mouth.
“I know! You two are dating, aren’t you?” Ichigo suggested.
Uryuu began to choke on the fish he had been trying to swallow. Chad gave him one large thump on the back and the fish launched out of Uryuu’s mouth and onto Ichigo’s face.
“Gross!” Ichigo shouted, wiping the fish off. “So, I’m taking that as a ‘no’.”
“Of course we are not dating.” Uryuu couldn’t believe how much of an idiot Ichigo was. He couldn’t realize that the only person Orihime had any feelings for was Ichigo himself. He was such a moron.
“Hmm…well, there has to be some reason she wanted you to be the knight. Did you do something to make her mad or something?” Ichigo wondered.
“I don’t think so,” Uryuu admitted. ‘At least, I hope I didn’t.’
“Say, Orihime, I’ve got a question,” Tatsuki said.
“Why did you want Ishida to be the knight? He’s a good guy, but I don’t understand why you wanted him to be the knight,” Tatsuki said.
Orihime just giggled to herself as she took a bite of her leek pudding.
“Don’t worry, Tatsuki-chan. I have an entire plan set up,” Orihime laughed.
“Oh, this should be good,” Tatsuki chuckled.
Orihime kept eating her pudding and Tatsuki raised an eyebrow.
“What’s the plan?” Tatsuki asked.
“I’m not telling you,” Orihime teased.
“Because it’s a big surprise, but Tatsuki-chan, can I ask you a question?” Orihime wondered.
“Why are we hiding while we eat?”
“Because I don’t want us to be bombarded by a bunch of fanboys and angry girls or Chizuru,” Tatsuki informed. “Uryuu is probably hiding from them as well.”
“…Poor Ishida-kun,” Orihime sighed.
The days went by and the class continued its preparation for the play. The entire time, Orihime and Uryuu were targeted by many angry people but still managed to learn their lines and make the costumes. On the day before the day before the festival (A/N: No, that was not a typo.), Orihime decided it was time for the next phase of her plan.
Orihime looked around for Uryuu. When she found him, she smiled widely. Not only was Uryuu there, but he was sewing up the princess dress. She knew he was the perfect man to design it.
It was a gorgeous silver gown that poofed out at the waist. It had two puffy short sleeves, blue lace adorning the collar, and light purple jewels decorating the bottom. There was also a silver tiara that was adorned with faux amethysts and sapphires.
“That dress is beautiful.”
Uryuu gasped and looked at Orihime before he returned to fixing the dress. Orihime sat beside him and watched him work.
“I’ve always loved the things you create. They’re so wonderful,” Orihime told him.
“Thank you very much,” Uryuu whispered with a great blush.
“Ishida-kun, are you mad at me?”
Uryuu was so shocked by the question that he poked his finger with the needle. He let out an “Ow!” and looked at his finger.
“Oh, Ishida-kun, I’m so sorry!” Orihime exclaimed, grabbing his hand. “I didn’t mean to hurt you!”
“I’m fine, Inoue-san,” Uryuu assured her.
Orihime didn’t listen. She looked around before she put a hand to one of her hair clips. She summoned her healing fairies, who healed Uryuu’s finger and returned to the hair clip.
“There. Now you’re fine,” Orihime giggled.
“Inoue-san, why would you ask if I’m mad at you?” Uryuu asked.
“Oh, because I was so insistent on you being the knight and I knew you didn’t really want to be. You’re not really someone who likes to be the center of attention. I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for. I’m not angry at you.” Uryuu gave her a small smile, which Orihime returned with a much bigger one.
“I’m so glad to hear that! So, if you’re not angry at me, will you do me another favor?” Orihime wondered.
“A…another favor?” Uryuu was really scared to find out what this would be.
Orihime leaned in closer to Uryuu, who began to blush again. She put her mouth to his ear and whispered in it. Uryuu was so shocked and embarrassed and happy at what was happening, he almost didn’t hear what she whispered…almost.
“You want me to what?” Uryuu was praying he had heard her wrong. He was praying that she was about to laugh and say, ‘Just kidding, Ishida-kun! You believed me?’ in that cute voice that he loved to hear.
“You heard me. Will you?” Orihime moved away from him and looked at him with pleading brown eyes. “Pretty please? I need you to.”
‘I will not do it. I don’t care how much she pleads with that sweet and angelic voice of hers. I don’t care how long she stares at me with those…beautiful…warm…wonderful brown eyes. I don’t care…don’t care…’ Uryuu stopped thinking about what he didn’t care about as he just gazed at the stunning woman before him. “…Okay.”
“Really?!” Uryuu nodded and Orihime hugged him tightly. “Oh, Ishida-kun, you’re the best! You won’t regret it!”
As another blush spread across his face, Uryuu began to wonder whether he should return the hug or not. Just as he was about to, Orihime released him. She touched her nose to his and grinned.
“This is going to be great,” she giggled.
“Uh-huh…” was all Uryuu could say.
Orihime stood up and gave Uryuu a wave before she ran off. Uryuu sat on the ground in a total daze before he put a hand to his forehead.
“What have I done?”
The festival day had arrived and many people were eagerly awaiting the play. Most of the people in school were anticipating seeing the great Orihime as a princess. They were angry at Uryuu for being her knight, but they’d overlook that for the time being. At last the sun set and it was time for the play.
Thousands of people entered the huge tent on the campus grounds. When the crowd had settled, a spotlight shined on the curtains before they opened and revealed Tatsuki in a tuxedo.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming! May I welcome you to our presentation of…’Night Demon’!” Tatsuki shouted before bowing and leaving the stage.
The crowd gave a roar of applause as a couple of people came onto the stage, dressed like village people. One of these villagers happened to be Ichigo.
“Hey, I heard that the princess is to be wed soon!” Peasant #1 exclaimed.
“I hope it is not an arranged marriage. Our princess is far too nice to have to deal with that,” Peasant #2 sighed.
“I hope that the one she marries is very nice,” Ichigo said apathetically. He didn’t give a crap about this stupid play.
“Whoo! Go, Ichigo!”
“Dad, shut up and quit embarrassing him!”
Ichigo smacked his forehead as he and the other peasants walked off of the stage. A bunch of other conversations happened but those didn’t matter. Finally, the scene switched to the royal castle where the king, Keigo, was pacing back and forth.
“I cannot believe my daughter refuses to marry anyone…but my head knight,” Keigo said. “Fuyu!”
A character in a helmet and suit of armor came out and immediately there was a lot of jeering and yelling. The person stopped and gave a salute.
“Yes, my lord!” the knight exclaimed.
“Fuyu, you have been my loyal knight for many years, correct?” Keigo hissed. He still wasn’t over the fact that Uryuu was chosen over him.
“Yes, my lord,” Fuyu declared.
“You have known my beautiful Natsu for many years as well, correct?”
“Yes, my lord. May I ask what is meant by this?”
“Fuyu…would you like to…m-m-marry my daughter?”
“My lord…nothing would make me happier, I assure you!” Fuyu shouted.
A character wearing the beautiful silver princess dress made by Uryuu walked out slowly. Everyone was wondering as to why Orihime had a black wig on and was especially curious as to why she looked extremely flat right now. The character stopped and raised “her” head. When everyone saw “her” face, there were all kinds of gasps and exclamations.
The one in the princess dress was…Ishida Uryuu? Yes! Uryuu was wearing the beautiful silver princess dress. Yes! Uryuu was playing the part of the princess. No! They had no idea where Orihime was. No! They had no idea who Fuyu was.
On the side, Ichigo, Chad, and Tatsuki were staring at the scene in shock. At least, they were until Ichigo started to laugh his head off.
“I know being the knight was bad, but to be the princess?! Ishida must really have issues!”
“Shut up, Ichigo!” Tatsuki ordered as she punched him.
Chad just stood there before he walked off. He had to go scrub his eyeballs.
“Uh…daughter?” Keigo questioned.
“Yes, father?” Natsu--or Uryuu--responded.
“Uh…uh…where’s Orihime?!” Keigo screamed.
“Father, who is this Orihime? Is she a new maid?” Uryuu said, attempting to stay as in character as best he could.
“Uh…no, well…daughter, you refuse to marry anyone but Fuyu?” Keigo asked, getting back into character.
“Yes,” Uryuu answered as he looked at Fuyu.
“Then…I shall allow it?”
“Oh, how wonderful, father,” Uryuu chuckled before grabbing Keigo’s hands. “I am so happy. I assure you that he will make a wonderful king. Aren’t you just so happy, Fuyu?”
Uryuu released Keigo’s hands—rubbing his own on his dress—and walked over to Fuyu. Fuyu nodded before he removed his helmet. Once the helmet was gone, everyone started screaming. Fuyu was a girl! Fuyu was…Orihime!
“I thank you, my lord! I promise to take excellent care of your daughter!” Fuyu--or Orihime--squealed.
Keigo just held up his shaky hand to point at the two of them.
“But…you…he…she…” Then Keigo passed out.
“Oh, no, my lord! Quick, someone get the nurses!” Orihime yelled.
A bunch of stage hands came out and picked up Keigo before dragging him off. Orihime and Uryuu looked at each other before they decided to continue with the play. A few more scenes went by, including Uryuu being kidnapped by the demon, so we move on. We are now at the scene where Orihime has entered the demon’s lair with sword in hand and a will to save her princess.
“Evil demon! I shall never forgive you!” Orihime shouted, pointing her sword at the demonic figure. “Return my princess or face my wrath!”
Uryuu sat upon a pile of skulls with a cloaked figure. The cloaked figure removed the cloak and revealed itself to be Chizuru.
“Ha ha ha! Foolish human! The princess is mine!” Chizuru laughed, though she was thinking ‘But I don’t want him! He’s not my Hime-chan!’
“Oh, Fuyu, please rescue me,” Uryuu begged, truly feeling like a moron.
“Do not worry, Natsu! Monster, en garde!”
Chizuru laughed, grabbing a sword and running towards Orihime. High above where the two were stage-fighting, the jealous Yuna and one of her little henchwomen were up on the lights, ready to make one fall on Orihime when the time came.
“Why is Inoue the knight? I thought she wanted to be the princess,” the henchwoman said.
“Who the fuck cares?! This makes me even angrier! I can’t stand that stupid bitch! This’ll teach her!” Yuna growled.
She finished unscrewing a light just as Orihime had vanquished Chizuru. The light fell and headed straight towards Orihime, who was too busy giving her speech to notice. Uryuu was about to say his line when he saw the light heading towards her.
“Inoue-san, look out!” Uryuu shouted as he began to run.
Orihime looked at Uryuu in confusion before he pushed her out of the way just in time. The light crashed on the ground and everyone gasped. Tatsuki ran over to Orihime as Chizuru got off of the ground.
“Oh, my god! Orihime, are you okay?!” Tatsuki yelled.
“Hime-chan, I’m so glad you’re safe! You poor thing!” Chizuru screamed, holding her close.
Orihime didn’t say anything. Chizuru let her go and everyone looked at the expression on her face. She wasn’t shocked or sad or angry…they weren’t sure what she was. She just had this blank look.
“Close the curtains,” Tatsuki demanded.
The stage hands did as they were told and everyone else ran to Orihime. They all asked if she was okay and who had done it, but Orihime still didn’t speak. All she did was keep staring vacantly.
Orihime slowly looked at Uryuu before she pushed Chizuru off of her and ran off. Everyone was in shock at what she had just done and Tatsuki was about to run after her, but Uryuu beat her to the punch. Tatsuki decided it would be best for him to handle it. She looked up and growled when she saw the two girls on the lighting equipment. Grabbing the wooden sword, Tatsuki chucked it at Yuna and hit her straight in the head. She fell to the ground with a large thud and rubbed her sore butt.
“Ow, that hurt!” Yuna groaned.
“Yeah, and so will this.”
She blinked and looked up to see a lot of angry people glaring at her.
“Anyone who tries to hurt Orihime…is dead,” Tatsuki hissed, cracking her knuckles.
“Inoue-san, please stop running!”
Orihime didn’t stop. She didn’t look back at him and she didn’t say anything. The two had been running for a good two minutes. They had run off of the school campus and had entered the empty park. Uryuu was getting really tired, but he refused to stop running until she did. He was only tired because of the large princess dress and he was surprised the armor wasn’t slowing her down as well.
Uryuu decided that this was going too far. He was never going to catch her like this and she didn’t look like she would stop running anytime soon. He was starting to formulate a plan before he fell down on the bridge they had been running across. Uryuu grabbed his ankle and groaned.
“Ow. My ankle.”
Orihime looked up and looked back at Uryuu, then gasped when she saw him on the ground.
“I think I twisted it,” Uryuu moaned.
“Oh no, Ishida-kun!” Orihime turned back around and ran towards Uryuu. She landed on the ground beside him and was about to call forth Shun’ou and Ayame when Uryuu grabbed her arms. “Hey!”
“Got you,” Uryuu declared.
“You…you tricked me?” Orihime asked as she started to sob. “How could you be so mean?”
‘Don’t break. Don’t break. Don’t break,’ Uryuu told himself. “I’m sorry, Inoue-san, but it was the only way to get you to stop. You would have worn yourself out had you continued.”
“…I don’t care,” Orihime whispered.
“Inoue-san, why did you run away? Were you scared about what happened?” Uryuu asked.
“I wasn’t scared. I…I was angry,” Orihime admitted.
“You have every right to be. You could have been killed and—”
“I’m not angry about that,” Orihime cut him off. “I’m angry because…you saved me.”
Orihime tried to get out of Uryuu’s grip but he wasn’t letting go anytime soon. Orihime sighed and looked up at Uryuu.
“I didn’t want you to save me. I wanted to be the one to save you, even if it was in a silly little play. I wanted to protect you.”
Uryuu’s grip on Orihime loosened and her arms fell to her sides. She took off her gloves and chest plate so her upper body was only clad in a white tank top. Uryuu blushed and Orihime threw her chest plate to the side.
“You’re always saving me. You’re always the one who protects me. I wanted to be the one to do that for you. I didn’t care that it wasn’t real. I just wanted to protect you…but that stupid light ruined the whole thing and you ended up saving me again!” Orihime punched a wooden pole beside her and then grabbed her hand. “OW!”
“Orihime!” Uryuu shouted, forgetting all about honorifics and family names and manners in general. “Don’t do that. You don’t want to hurt yourself.”
Uryuu grabbed her hand lightly and Orihime looked away from him.
Uryuu raised an eyebrow and Orihime grabbed his hand with her non-wounded hand.
“Ask any girl and she’ll say yes.”
“Yes to what?”
“To being a princess,” Orihime said.
“Ask any girl if they want to be a princess and they’ll say yes. Ask any girl if they could at least be called ‘Hime’ and they’ll say yes.” Orihime’s grasp on Uryuu’s hand tightened. “But me…I’m a princess who wishes she wasn’t.”
“Inoue-san…” Uryuu stopped there. He didn’t know what to say.
“Princesses are always kidnapped and waiting for someone to come save them. They can never save themselves. I hate being a princess,” Orihime whimpered before she chuckled. “But what can I do? I’m always going to be a princess. Princess is in my name. Even the Shun Shun Rikka are supposed to be princess shields. I was destined to be a weak little princess.”
“May I say something?” Uryuu questioned.
Orihime looked at him and Uryuu looked at her hands.
“You may want to heal your hand first,” Uryuu suggested.
Orihime continued to stare at him as she called Shun’ou and Ayame out. They did their job and returned to their place.
“First, it’s okay to be a princess,” Uryuu said.
“Like you?” Orihime giggled.
Uryuu looked down and remembered that he was still in a princess dress.
“I don’t count. It’s okay for you to be a princess,” Uryuu insisted.
“Being a princess doesn’t make you helpless.”
“Right, but me being weak makes me helpless.”
“You’re not weak. You are a very strong person. Inoue-san, you have seen and been through so many things that would make most people kill themselves,” Uryuu persisted. “It is not your fault that you do not wish to kill. It is not your fault that Tsubaki is a being who will only allow you to kill or be killed. You are strong. I know you are.”
Orihime blinked and a small smile graced her face. Ishida-kun thought she was strong? She always thought that he hated her because she was weak.
“I still don’t like being a princess,” Orihime told him.
“…It’s true: Princesses never save themselves. Every story you read, they’re always in danger and can never help themselves,” Uryuu said.
Orihime’s eyes began to water before Uryuu lifted her chin up so she would look at him.
“It’s also true that princesses are some of the most beautiful people in the world. That they have been through many things themselves. That they always live happily ever after.”
Orihime thought on that before she shook her head. Uryuu smiled and decided to continue.
“But you don’t want to be that kind of princess, do you?” Uryuu questioned.
Orihime shook her head again and Uryuu nodded.
“Then you should be a warrior princess.”
Orihime shook her head before she realized what he had said. Raising an eyebrow, Orihime just looked at Uryuu in confusion.
“A warrior princess?”
“Yes, you’ll be part warrior so you can be strong and protect those who you care for, but you’ll also be part princess so you can be beautiful and kind-hearted. The best thing about being both is…you’ll have twice the happily ever after.”
Orihime put a finger to her lips and then started to giggle uncontrollably. She pointed at Uryuu, who just stared at her.
“All right! I’m gonna be a beautiful warrior fairy princess and Ishida-kun, you will be my handsome helpless Quincy prince!” Orihime exclaimed.
Uryuu laughed and was about to comment on that when he realized one of the adjectives she had used in that description.
“H-h-handsome?” Uryuu stuttered.
“Yep, because Ishida-kun is very handsome,” Orihime decided.
Uryuu blushed and Orihime gave him a big hug. She let go and took the tiara from his head, then tossed the tiara away and smiled at her prince. Uryuu smiled back at his princess until she kissed him gently on the lips. After a few seconds, Orihime backed away from a bright red Uryuu.
“And we live happily ever after?” Orihime asked.
All Uryuu could do was nod as Orihime went in for another kiss. So, the beautiful warrior fairy princess who would always be ready to protect the one she loved and the handsome helpless Quincy prince who was always weak when it came to his princess lived happily ever after.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
Operation: Cupid's Arrow
The sun was sinking, the autumn air was cool and smelled like a distant memory of summer, the trees were naked, all the shops were closing and brown leaves scattered over streets devoid of people, save for four students walking home after a long school day. Nothing unusual whatsoever here. It was a picture that could be found in any city.
This city happened to be named Karakura, by the way.
Judging by the easy familiarity the group of four emitted with each step, the high-school-aged bunch had to be friends. Towering above the other three was a spiky, orange-haired punk with broad shoulders and a collar open to the bottom of his neck. Walking closest to the teen, a petite woman wearing a regular, grey school uniform and whose age was impossible to determine from the cool demeanour of her face; the short distance between the cocky-looking guy and she implied a bond deeper than words could describe. A young girl with long strands of red struggling with the wind and very large breasts strode a pace away to the left of the couple, and there was a sense of anxiety present in the distant glances she would send to the pair. Nearly isolated from the rest, a slender youth, adorned in a clean-cut uniform and glasses placed precisely in the center of the bridge of nose, looked straight ahead as if to pretend he was not with his colleagues.
The party of four sauntered down the roads of Karakura so, and it seemed it had been this way for a considerable amount of time. Small talk was made, but none of it had any meaning; it had all been spoken before and they were merely going through the motions of everyday life.
Really, they just walked. Just walked and walked and, you know what, it was really boring.
Eventually, the moment all had been waiting for arrived and the students reached the intersection where they part ways.
“Seeya, Orihime! Bye, Ishida,” the short, black-haired woman cried out over a silent wind.
“Later,” the tall man grunted.
“Bye!” the stacked girl, called Orihime by the short woman, cheerfully waved goodbye.
As usual, the slim teenager known as Ishida did not even bother with a word, choosing only to lift a finger in parting. How strenuous of him.
The rigors of society behind them, the group split into three, with the couple going straight through and Orihime and Ishida taking opposite turns at the crossroads.
Up to this point, absolutely nothing out of the norm had happened.
Then, right after she began the solitary section of her walk, a chance gust of wind swept by Orihime, causing her head to pivot and revealing a sight she never anticipated.
Ishida, standing alone across the street and staring at the spot where the four friends had gone their separate ways. Only for a second, Orihime gazed into his eyes but one second was too much for her. What she saw burned its way into her memory forever: Dark, sad eyes accusing her behind thick lenses, and a tumultuous torrent of emotions hit her in that fleeting glimpse. Had such passion always been there?
Quickly, she looked away. A nagging sense of guilt lagged after her, though. A sense of responsibility for that wild gale beneath the spectacles.
How long has he been this way? What could be hurting him so much? wondered Orihime but she could guess when this pain started. She knew what troubled Ishida so, too, but simply did not want to admit it to herself. Yet, those unhappy orbs flashed in her mind, forcing her to acknowledge the truth…It must be…he must still be pining after her. Yes, he was. Oh, Ishida, I know how it feels to love somebody who won’t return your feelings! But the thought of Ishida being spurned angered Orihime, nonetheless. No! You won’t be rejected! He wouldn’t, actually. No, Ishida, I will make sure your love does not remain unrequited! The cogs went into overdrive in Orihime’s head, working furiously to produce the ultimate solution for Ishida.
Memories of her old love for the tall boy, named Ichigo (for those who have not figured his name out already), returned to Orihime. She got over him after she had sufficient time to lick her own wounds, but Ishida had a better fate in store for him that did not require any such personal recuperation. How could he not? This crazy redhead with big boobs had his back covered even better than the sweater hiding her enormous rack--which is a really bad analogy because that sweater did a poor job of that.
Now, Orihime had been thinking to herself in the middle of the sidewalk for some time by this point, and abruptly realized she had to get a move on. Random strangers were gawking at her and all. Jerks.
But those nameless people did not matter, for the Noggin Number Crunchers had successfully devised a flawness scenario fo Ishida! The smile on Ishida’s face after her plans to hook him up succeeded now urged Orihime on. Yes, she had the perfect plan to set him up the next day. It could not fail!
Oh, but even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Unfortunately, Orihime had never even heard of Robert Burns, much less this proverb. Like, how could she have? She’s Japanese, not English.
In any case, Orihime was most woefully unprepared for the next day, as a result.
Hustle and flow directed Karakura High School the next morning. Outside, the delinquents took advantage of the disorder to smoke with their wannabe gangster friends, and the athletically inclined finished up morning jogs. Narrow hallways were filled to the brim with youngsters; the sheer energy bursting from their steps hacked away at the very paint of the walls. Lockers were ripped open and slammed shut in ear-splitting chaos as students hurried to get their textbooks, coats, and junk in order. Some kids formed groups to gossip about the latest TV shows, while others could not be deterred by anything in their purposeful march to class.
In the midst of this juxtaposition, a fringe of orange bumbled its way, intent on finding…on finding something.
…Oh, where is she? Rather, someone. But who? Ah, there’s so many people here! she thought after somebody bumped into her. Oh, it would help a lot if she wore a funny hat, logically reasoned Orihime after a crowd of super tall people blocked her way. Again, a person crashed into Orihime, but she was still too focused on the height dilemma to care. Everyone is too tall! Hmm, the one she sought had to be short. Hey, why don’t I put on a funny--
Great, another jerk just collided into her and she would not stand for this any longer! Certainly, her all-inclusive plan did not call upon such impolite manners. How could Ishida’s love life be salvaged if…
Somebody was apologizing to her.
“…and I’m sorry,” was the only part of the curt speech Orihime managed to hear.
That’s right. The one she wanted to help happened to be the person who just bumped into her and apologized.
“Uh, it’s nothing! Don’t worry about it!” Orihime brushed off the incident which bothered her considerably seconds earlier.
Awkwardly, the two looked at each other with nothing to say in the middle of the hallway. Strange how it felt like they were the only two individuals there now, despite the bustling of school life around them.
“…Have you seen Ichigo, anywhere?” Ishida asked to break the spell, “I need to talk to him about...the next class project.”
Briefly, a recollection of a distant longing in Ishida’s irises held Orihime’s tongue in check. It wasn't there again, was it? No...Ishida’s eyes appeared as unemotional as ever. At least, that’s what Orihime believed.
Oh right, that question still hadn’t been answered.
“No,” replied Orihime. It kind of bothered her she couldn’t answer him before she remembered her quest. “Have you seen Rukia this…?”
Wait…there! In a sea of adolescent bodies, a diminutive one, in particular, leaped into Orihime’s focus.
“…Never mind! I see her,” Orihime almost got completely sidetracked by this new development. "Seeya!”
But not distracted enough to miss the flicker of disappointment in Ishida’s gaze. Heh, Orihime knew it: simply, Ishida had a thing for Rukia. He was just way too obvious for Orihime!
Well, Ishida, no need to worry, reassured Orihime as she went through one more round of bumper cars on the way to Rukia. My operation to strengthen your bond with Rukia has no flaws. Let it begin!
“H-hey, Rukia!” Orihime called out over the buzz of the swarm, frantically waving her arms in a vain attempt to make herself louder. "Rukia! Rukia! Rukia!"
And what do you know? Rukia’s head spun around to find out the source of this obnoxious shouting.
Success! Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow, Phase One, has been accomplished with pizzazz!
“…Yeah?” Rukia took a gamble and acknowledged she knew this rambunctious girl. Sometimes, it wasn’t easy being Orihime’s friend. Especially when her eyes glowed brighter than a thousand carnivals. Like they did now.
“Can I talk to you a moment? Alone?” panted Orihime, dizzy from excitement and the rush of Phase One going off without a hitch still running strong.
“…Okay,” Rukia hesitated to consent, but Orihime’s ardour convinced her it was unwise to flee. She had been present the day Tatsuki told Orihime Santa Claus did not, in fact, exist and crushed Orihime’s hopes and dreams of getting a time machine for Christmas. That vision of innocence and optimism melting away into sorrow and dejection still gave Rukia nightmares. “But you better be quick!” added the petite one sharply, “I don’t want to be late for class again!”
Yeah, Rukia didn’t really believe telling Orihime this would actually have any effect, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
Then again, judging from Orihime's insane reaction, maybe she shouldn't have bothered at all.
Oh, baby, Phase Two has been permitted for lift off! And Orihime seriously performed a bizarre dance in triumph, causing Rukia to dread what Orihime wanted to discuss in private if she could be so strange in public.
Then, much to Rukia’s horror, the students previously jostling Rukia and Orihime were suddenly hugging the walls to stay as far away from Orihime as is physically possible in response to the lunatic shuffling and twisting. But Orihime couldn’t be bothered less by those schmucks, not when her ultimate scheming was slowly coming to fruition.
Embarrassed, Rukia quickly dragged Orihime into an empty classroom.
Within the room, bright sunlight filtered through windows still cold from a chilly morning, while the curtains filled empty seats with dark shadows. There was a tranquility in the room that allowed Rukia to calm herself down…so she could properly explode.
“What is it?!” the Rukia Rocket blasted off, and the aura surrounding her was set to kill. Consequently, around a dozen students in neighbouring classrooms felt a compelling urge to use the bathroom. Indeed, the positively scary (and potentially smelly) emanation from Rukia was a powerful weapon.
Yet, a weakness exists for every weapon and Orihime just so happened to possess the natural counter to this aura: dumb ignorance.
Excitement boiled to a fever pitch in Orihime’s veins, the sheer exhilaration of completing phases of her stupendous Operation rendered anything outside her small world incomprehensible. Perhaps this…enthusiastic energy is what motivated Orihime to bring her mouth millimeters away from Rukia’s ear, or maybe it was brought about by Orihime’s marbles rattling obscenely against the clean, tiled floors. Whatever the reason, the heavy breathing against her neck freaked Rukia out and dispelled any urges to destroy.
“I have something important to tell you,” confessed Orihime in a quick, single breath. In spite of the exuberance in the sentence, a grave severity was inherently present within it that impressed itself onto Rukia’s very soul. Or maybe it was Orihime’s eyes that did that, full of conviction as they were. In either case, the mood changed dramatically.
“What?” whispered Rukia intently. All of a sudden, she had to know what Orihime wanted to say. How could it have seemed so unimportant before? This secret would alter the course of history!
“It’s about Ishida…he…” but Orihime stumbled mid-stride. What?! The attention and anticipation in Rukia’s focused and intent gaze unexpectedly became a serious roadblock for her.
Warning sirens went off. Gunshots split open society. A child screamed. No! This is nothing for Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow! resolved Orihime fiercely. Nonetheless, her mouth still imitated a fish.
“What about Ishida?” Rukia demanded rumors. There was no way Orihime could stop now; Rukia wasn’t going to miss this juicy tidbit about him if her life depended on it--which it may very well have.
Damn it! Why couldn’t Orihime do this? There’s no way she could finish Phase Three of Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow, “Tell Rukia About Ishida’s Heart,” without telling Rukia about Ishida’s heart.
Do it, Orihime! Ishida needs you to!
“…He…” Good. One word down, two to go, “he…” An image of hurt eyes persuaded her to continue, “loves you…Rukia…”
Now, Operation: Cupid’s Quincy was basically an elaborate flow chart. Phase Four, “All of Rukia’s Possible Reactions to Learning Ishida Loves Her and How to Deal With Them,” was a phase of particular importance. Accordingly, it had far more potential variations for Orihime to account for than the rest. But Orihime had considered them all! From Rukia leaping up and down in joy, to Rukia breaking down in tears of happiness, all the way to Rukia being unable to return Ishida’s affections because she was a robot (since everyone and Orihime knows robotic operating systems are incompatible with humans). The point is, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, Rukia could do that Orihime hadn’t planned for.
...Or so she thought.
For whatever reason, Rukia collapsing to the floor in a fit of giggles just wasn’t something Orihime expected. It wasn’t Orihime’s fault. Indeed, she thought Rukia had a heart…or, at the very least, the robotic equivalent of one.
Naturally, Orihime asked what every person asks when they don’t understand why someone’s laughing.
“What’s so funny?!”
Oh, but this just made Rukia descend further into her madness of laughter.
“This isn’t funny, Rukia,” reprimanded Orihime, putting her right hand on her hip and pointing down at her chortling friend with her left, “Ishida’s feelings for you are true and pure!”
Well, that did nothing to get Rukia off her funny gas, but the touch of anger in Orihime’s tone convinced the little woman to make an attempt at explaining things.
“…It’s just…he…he...” Talking between fits of laughter sure is difficult, “he…Oh, it’s just too…obvious…!”
The cackles continued.
Geez, could Orihime say anything without reducing Rukia to tears? But! Orihime had gotten used to Rukia laughing at her expense by this point and was able to patiently wait her out. Man, it sure was unusual for Rukia to lose control of herself like this.
“Are you serious?” baulked Rukia. Was Orihime really this slow? “Let me give you a hint: I am not the one he likes.”
“What? He’s cheating on you?!” How could Ishida do this? His lechery made Orihime furious! “Nobody treats my friends like this! I’ll find this other person he likes and give her a piece of my mind!”
“Hey, calm down!” allayed Rukia, her mouth still twitching. Orihime just had it all wrong. “You might not want to do that until you know who he really likes!”
“Well, who is it?” mumbled Orihime, still a bit miffed at Ishida’s audacity to turn his back on Rukia.
“You still haven’t guessed? It’s someone he’s known for a long time,” hinted Rukia.
But this wasn’t enough for Orihime. Two and two was adding up to five in her calculations. Why wasn’t it…?
Right! she snapped her fingers. Yesterday!
“This doesn’t explain why he looked so sad after you left him yesterday!”
“I’m not the only one who left that day, am I?” Rukia coyly resplied, carefully leading Orihime to the right answer.
Hmm, now Orihime was getting three. Something still didn’t make sense.
“But what about that dress he made for you in Soul Society? The dress is important!” declared Orihime. That was the first wedding bell ringing his love for Rukia, lest she forget.
“Oh, it is. But not the way you think it is. Think about why Ishida is so good at sewing and stuff. For God’s sake, you’re in the same club he is and should know this!” Rukia was so close now, it was hard for her not to simply name the true object of Ishida’s affections.
“…You mean…?” And the hints were finally getting through to Orihime. The limit of obliviousness as two plus two approaches four was finally getting to four!
Yes, Orihime was right on reality’s doorstep. Unexpectedly, a ray of hope entered her heart. Is that what this little tug on my heart is? Hope? It sure was! She recognized this from her old crush but never anticipated to be hope's toy once more. Hey, why was it even there? Didn’t Orihime come all this way to play matchmaker for Rukia and Ishida?
“Yes, he likes somebody with orange hair.”
Wow. That tug just became a mighty heave on the heartstrings.
Could it be that Ishida loves...Nah…But it had to be! He has to be in…! Better confirm.
“…So, he’s really in love with m-“
“Yes, with Ichigo!” finished Rukia excitedly. Her friend understood, at last! “He’s fruitier than a bowl of fru--wait, what were you going to say?”
And that shiny ray of hope pulling on her heart became a hideous burden of despair.
“Nothing,” covered up Orihime before defending the man of the hour, “and Ishida’s not gay!…Not that...that there’s anything wrong with that.”
“Are you kidding? How could he be anything else?” snorted Rukia. “Take a look at him: he dresses better than I do, likes sewing, is always obsessing about Ichigo, and don’t get me started about that time he cornered me and demanded to know what kind of conditioner I use!”
“…But…no. He just doesn’t swing that way, and that’s that! He can’t be!”
Yes, there simply was not any possibility he could be gay. Because…uh, Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow depends on him not having an interest in his own team’s equipment…Yeah, that’s it.
But Rukia knew nothing about Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow, so she had to ask. “…Why not?”
A million reasons entered Orihime’s mind, all of them anxious to retort…However, she couldn’t get a single one out of her mouth. She wasn’t ready to yet.
“…Uh, I’m not…sure…?”
Needless to say, Rukia was not swayed. “Probably because he does play on that side of the baseball field.” And her comeback was merciless. Ouch.
In times of desperation in debates of great importance like this, there is always one trump card one can use to defeat the other party. Children learn it at a young age and use it even when it’s unnecessary. Most will stop relying on this method as they get older, but it is never lost in time's currents.
And Orihime certainly did not forget it:
“He does not!” screamed Orihime. Powerful sound waves tore the empty classroom's door off its hinges.
If you can’t outsmart their reasoning, just be louder than they can.
“Does too!” Rukia ripped out an uproarious yell of her own. Oh ho!
Thus, this turned into a battle of volume rather than one of pride.
Like all childish shouting matches, this one ended with one of the children saying something stupid beyond belief. In this fight, Orihime was the person behind the dumb, condemning words.
“I’ll prove he doesn’t!”
”Does too…! Huh?”
“I’ll prove to you and everyone else that he isn’t!" Orihime sternly reaffirmed herself.
But this new approach contained a serious flaw.
“Um…how?” wondered Rukia, directly attacking the Achilles' Heel of Orihime's radical and fresh idea.
Orihime hadn’t thought of how she would actually prove this.
“…I…I will…I…” stammered Orihime, now pressured into thinking things through and unprepared to do so.
“You can’t,” proclaimed Rukia.
“Yes, I can!” protested Orihime. “Just give me some time to think of a way!”
“Listen, even if you spend five lifetimes…wait, what time is it?” Rukia glanced at the clock. Five after. “We need to get to get to class! We’re late! Oh, I knew this would happen…!”
Rukia’s voice trailed off as she dashed out of the empty classroom, leaving behind a flustered Orihime.
…Except it wasn’t an empty classroom any longer.
Juveniles had been piling in for the past ten minutes, only neither Orihime nor Rukia noticed them during their intense conversation; nobody wanted to get in between them, either. Even the teacher was cowering under his desk, frightened of the crazy women apparently living in another world. While this would normally be a prime opportunity for misbehaviour, the occupants of the class were similarly cowed and sat with backs perfectly perpendicular to their seats. Not a single paper airplane flew through the room. For the first time in their lives, the students couldn’t wait for first period to begin. Better to learn than to die.
Back to Orihime, who had yet to realize her large audience. A violent storm ravaged her internally, and a dilemma that made Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow look as easy as making cereal confronted her. Furthermore, turmoil racked her heart and confusing desires made themselves known. Speaking of the operation, it had been roasted like a pig and served as a feast for crows, followed by the crows being shot and chucked into a garbage bin inhabited by bums which then ate the crows and…The point is, it didn’t work out.
Well, that’s life.
Time for Orihime to pick herself up and find a way to demonstrate to Rukia that Ishida enjoys his melons, thank you very much. No need to wallow in grief as she would have before. Regrets? We’ll have to see about those.
Classes went by in a blur.
Okay, classes always slipped past Orihime’s notice; between already knowing what the teacher was droning on about from a late night study fest, a fly on the wall being more interesting than learning, and whatever crazy imagination captured her attention, there was no way Orihime could ever concentrate on the lesson. Yes, but this time Orihime was distracted by what to do about Ishida and her outrageous declaration.
Could I dunk him in the river and see if he floats? she went through all the limey detection methods she’d heard of. No, that’s for ninjas! What about using an interior decorating magazine as bait and seeing if he picks it up? Yes, that always works but…Oh, right. I don’t have any…
As Orihime finely adjusted her gaydar, the sun hit its zenith, the bell for lunch rang, and her classmates fled to the cafeteria.
Maybe giving him a green piece of gum and seeing if his tongue will turn blue…like a pregnancy test…The ideas became increasingly ludicrous…Or what about getting a squirrel, a stapler, an encyclopedia and using them to--
“…Are you going to eat, Inoue?”
A question disrupted her thought process.
“I’m not going to eat a squirrel!” spouted Orihime in response. Wait, nobody asked her if she was going to dine on roadkill.
…So it was probably Orihime’s own fault that the lanky, bespectacled boy that waited for her looked so dumbstruck.
“…I…never said anything about a…” stumbled Ishida, at a loss to explain himself.
And Orihime went red. Whoops.
“Ah, forget I said that!” pleaded Orihime.
Again, the two shared an awkward silence while the rest of the school faded away. Fine, they felt like the only two people in the classroom this time because they were the only two. Still, that special, adolescent tension had to mean something…!
Or maybe it was only Orihime blundering after speaking to the man she just spent an entire morning thinking about. Or could it be...?
“Are you feeling all right, Inoue? It’s not like you to miss out on lunchtime,” commented Ishida, concerned. Any previous abnormality had been forgotten by him, since he could not have possibly been forgiven it. Men.
Wait, how did he know that? Oh. Right, Orihime’s zany lunch antics were legendary.
“Oh, I’m fine…was just a little distracted,” clarified Orihime, feeling a little nervous. What if Ishida learned what she was thinking this morning? Or something worse?
“Well, perhaps you--”
“Come on, Orihime! Let’s eat!” yelled a feminine voice, interrupting whatever Ishida was about to say.
One of Orihime’s friends…Chizuru.
“Coming!” Orihime hollered back, then turned to Ishida. How to end this weird discussion? “Uh…bye.” Slick.
Ishida nodded and gave her a little wave goodbye before she looked away and left for dinner.
Though Orihime couldn’t see him after she got into the hallway, she knew he must have that unhappy expression on his face again. She needed to hurry up and think of a way to do something about his love life!
When the epiphany on how to prove Rukia wrong about how Ishida likes his bananas split struck Orihime like a lightning bolt, it surprised her. Not because such sudden inspirations of genius were rare for her--though they certainly were uncommon--but because it was so simple.
How could I not have thought of this sooner? she pondered for a second, although it was obvious why it hadn’t crossed her mind before in later retrospect. Perhaps even more shocking than the revelation was the fact she was going to go through with this solution.
To bring people up to speed, Orihime had this moment of brilliance in the middle of her, uh, "ordinary" lunch.
Her zombification began immediately after this key realization.
Yes, it's so easy to show everybody Ishida is not that way but, at the same time, it isn’t going to be easy to show everybody Ishida was not like that…Which makes little to absolutely no sense.
Friends spoke to Orihime. Faces of anxiety smeared into her retinas. Words of worry pierced her ears white. Arms gripped her shoulders and shook, asking if anybody was in there. Blue skies overhead shone on like some crazy diamond, promising sweet lies of a warm winter.
However, Orihime could feel none of this; steeling her resolve stole all of her utmost concentration. Hence the whole zombification thing.
There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way. Orihime repeated this to herself endlessly to justify her decision. There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way…
Or was she saying this to herself? Her friends looked at her oddly, as though she was acting odd--err, even odder than Orihime regularly acts. Wait, are those my friends? The people around her looked more like the chumps from her classroom. I must have gotten away from the rooftop and down to class…Yeah, she did and her friends had followed her, and were now sending nervous glances in her direction from their seats. At least, she thought they were. You know, zombie.
…There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way. There’s no other way…
More importantly than friends that may or may not be giving her worried looks, Orihime now stood before Ishida.
His desk was currently beside a window, which allowed beams of sunlight to shimmer across his glasses as he gazed outside. Shortly after he heard slow, shuffling footsteps and a bizarre muttering, Ishida had whipped his head around to see a redheaded, sweating, demented effigy of a human being.
“Inoue!” he squawked. She looked very sick. “What’s happened to you…? You didn't eat a s-squirrel, did you?!”
…There’s no other way. There’s no other way…!
The frenzied woman bent over so her eyes would be level with Ishida’s, then put her hands on his shoulders.
Inches separated them.
“I’m sorry, Ishida,” gulped Orihime. No way she wouldn’t do it now. “But there’s no other way...”
All eyes were on Ishida and Orihime now. Pithy banter ceased, the teacher stopped preparations to start class to watch the two; everyone was aware something was going to occur. Something huge.
“Wha--” But Ishida never finished that word, despite it being only a single syllable.
However, he could not care less about that now.
Because Orihime had suddenly closed the gap between them and enveloped him in a smothering kiss.
Jaws smashed through the floor in waves and a loud, collective gasp from the class shattered all the glass.
The lips were united for only a brief while before a tongue from Orihime’s side threatened to invade enemy territory. Resistance from Ishida was weak and soon his tongue was entertaining a foreign visitor. Yet, Orihime’s tongue had hardly become an Ishidian Citizen before her mouth was subjected to a fierce counterattack by the opposition, which was welcomed with open arms…err, lips.
Ishida’s tongue was just becoming familiar there when it was kicked out and left hanging in the air, lonely. Exhausted by the experience and asphyxiated by oxygen depletion, the man momentarily collapsed into the land of dreams.
His fellow students stared, still disbelieving what they witnessed.
Meanwhile, Orihime--after regaining her own breath--had jumped onto Ishida’s desk and now gestured to him and pointed to the entire classroom; at the same time, no less! An expression of victory made her orange-framed, slightly pink face beautiful.
“See!” Orihime announced. “This man is definitely--without a doubt!--not gay!”
The students’ chins, already part of the floor below, fell another level. Nobody could say anything for a solid minute.
Eventually, Rukia recovered and shouted what everyone wanted to tell Orihime.
“It doesn’t work that way! This doesn’t prove anything!”
“What? Are you sure about that?” Orihime had good reason to believe otherwise.
Thirty voices cried as one. “Yes!”
Drool fell out of Ishida’s mouth, who was still dazed from the kiss and couldn’t respond to the charges against his manhood on his own behalf.
“But I thought some powerful, divine force kept people like…that--not that there’s anything wrong with them--from kissing straight people,” objected Orihime.
It happened to her whenever Chizuru tried kissing her, pulling her away in the nick of time.
“That’s me!” shrieked Tatsuki, the one who had always kept Orihime’s--no-longer--virgin lips pure.
“Oh,” Orihime pursed those lips, giving this consideration. A conclusion was reached. “So, there was no reason for me to kiss Ishida?”
The man in question stirred.
“Yes!” screeched a room simultaneously, somehow a whole decibel higher than the last time. All held conviction Ishida did not bend like normal men.
Finally, Ishida returned to consciousness. No more abuse could be taken. The words spoken processed inside him, and he was quick to offer defence for himself.
“I-I’m not gay!” he denied. Yeah, it was pretty weak.
Thus, the jury did not respond favourably.
“Coulda fooled me!”
“That’s what they all say.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night, buddy.”
“Why do all the good ones have to like other men?!”
The verdict for Case 403315, “Ishida Uryuu’s Sexuality,” was in: Homosexual. Yikes, even the teacher agreed with the judgment.
Nonetheless, one woman believed in him. A woman standing on top of his desk right now. Orihime. Oh, and his words convinced her what she knew all along; that Ishida loved Rukia. After the insane kiss, all the confusion vanished and it was clear where her heart belonged. She loved Ishida…Again, after promising never again after my crush on Ichigo died…Why did all the guys she like have to fall for Rukia?! Not that she blamed Rukia for any of this. Hell, she had already forgiven her. Rukia was just one of those people you could never blame, even if she slaughtered your brother. So, in sadness, Orihime reactivated Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow...
She got off her loved one’s desk and addressed Rukia. Tears streaked down her cheek.
“…Hear that, Rukia?” she sobbed, “Ishida loves you, just like I said! Now, I know you a-a-already have a boyfriend and all, but I’m sure you can make room for t-two, if a…anyone c-can…”
A certain Quincy needs to be elaborated upon now.
To say the least, this Quincy was having a really bad day. It all began with him being a minute late for first period, and that never suited well in this archer’s books. Well, technically, he was four minutes early, but Ishida was normally seated and ready to learn five minutes before the bell rang. Next, this Quincy had a sneaking suspicion he made a little error on his English test that could cost him his three-digit average. Math class was fine…until the teacher made a mistake and Kunieda corrected the short man before he could. That sucked. Then there was History and…okay, nothing terrible happened there. But when is History class ever good? Yeah, History is always lame! Later, Ishida had a steamy kiss with a hottie cut criminally short, followed by having his sexuality humiliated by the entire school body.
But none of these nuisances compared to the ultimate insult Orihime just gave him.
Yes, hearing the woman of your dreams say you love somebody else was ultimately what made Ishida’s day hit rock bottom. As a result, this Quincy Archer was fucking pissed off!...Not that Rukia is anything less than a wonderful, caring, and beautiful woman who does not look fat in that dress; she just wasn't the one for Ishida.
About the one he loved, she was still babbling incoherently to a highly mortified Rukia when Ishida abruptly stood up, mad. Very mad.
“Stop right there, Inoue!” he ordered, angry steam fogging his lenses and his right arm signaling her to stop. Surprisingly, she did (Rukia would later thank him profusely for doing so). So did the tears. Cool.
Whew, did Ishida ever scare the piss out of everybody. He was just that furious. Damn, Keigo even crapped his pants. Years later, everybody would agree it was a miracle the vein on his forehead didn’t burst. Back in the present, though, they were frightened witless. It looked like a bomb was about to go off!
Except, Orihime didn’t look alarmed. For whatever reason, her gut told her there was no reason to back away from that fervour behind his glasses. That she should trust in it…Yes, she was mesmerized by it…
Though not enough to miss what Ishida wanted to tell her.
“Now you can call me gay…” the lad began, and no one dared do so now--though they all still thought he wanted to do weird things with cues and pool balls. “Call me a coward, say I’m not good enough, imply that I want to wear that girly sweater I’m knitting--which I don’t! None of that bothers me. But if you say I love a woman who isn’t the one I want, there’ll be hell to pay!”
That look he gave her during the whole mini-speech told Orihime something …Exactly what she wanted and needed to hear.
Heh. Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow? Forget it.
“…Who is the one you…love then, Ishida?” Orihime knew the answer by this point. She just wanted to hear him say it.
Students leaned in; this was getting intense. School was past being forgotten…it was clear no learning would be accomplished today. The teacher…hell, she hated her job and the damn punks that were supposed to be the future. If she had her way, she would be at home watching her soap operas. For her, this was like watching a live taping and she loved every minute of it.
A pause. Ishida gathered his breath to speak. Students drew even closer. The teacher wrote an excuse for the principal to explain why she didn’t teach anything that day. Orihime’s heart pounded louder every beat. Anticipation flew past its boiling point. Thump thump. Time stood still.
And Ishida roared a single word at Orihime in a thunderous peal that rocked the school to its very foundations.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
Her Date to the Dance
A day hadn’t gone by for weeks when one of them hadn’t asked her. Every day, sometimes more than once a day, some boy, nervously flattening his hair, would draw her away from the crowd and stutter the all-important question, all the while attempting to keep his eyes from dipping lower than her face.
And every time, after moment of blank surprise and a flustered, extended apology, Inoue Orihime would tell him that she had already promised to go with someone else.
The night of the dance had finally arrived. The cheesy decorations were hung haphazardly on the walls. The equally cheesy music was playing at full volume over the inadequate sound system. Most of the attendees had already arrived, the glitzy colors of the girls’ dresses shining bright against the sober colors of their partners’ clothes.
And the unofficial queen of this dance, Orihime , was slightly more than fashionably late.
All the boys who had asked her, and some of the more curious girls, too, kept a weather eye upon the main entrance for her pretty orange head. After all, Inoue had never actually said who she had agreed to go with. A few of the bolder people had approached Arisawa Tatsuki about the matter, but after being threatened with multiple broken limbs for “attempting to sabotage Orihime’s happiness,” no one else had had the guts to ask. And so, instead, the speculation ran wild.
For most of the past few weeks, the money (yes, there was a running bet) had been on Saito Shou, the classically-handsome third-year star of the kendo team who, nearly a month ago, had very publically pulled Inoue aside for a very private conversation. Unfortunately for all those who had bet on him, it had been discovered just days ago that Saito-sempai had had the distinct honor of being the first person Inoue had turned down.
Conjecture had then turned to the rather menacing Kurosaki Ichigo. Weren’t those two good friends? Weren’t they always seen together? It seemed likely to many that, come the start of the music, it would be the punkish boy the Princess of Karakura High would take to the dance floor with. But no, Kurosaki was skulking off in the corner with that weird transfer student, Kuchiki Rukia, and therefore clearly out of the running.
There had also been a rumor that Inoue-san would be attending the dance with one Asano Keigo. But since that rumor was probably made up by Asano himself, no one really paid it any mind.
The front doors slid open. More than fifty pairs of eyes turned toward the noise, blazing with curiosity. Here was the moment they’d been waiting for, the moment when the identity of the Princess’s mystery date would finally be revealed. The boys all braced themselves for feelings of deep inadequacy. The girls all pulled up their mental lists of available males, preparing to mark off some drooled-after studmuffin as “unavailable.” Arisawa just grinned, anticipating the crowd’s reaction.
Clothed in a flowing gown of white silk and lace and blue ribbons, the Princess of Karakura High swept in, one snowy glove resting gently on the skinny arm of—
The boy so unathletic, he’d been picked last for teams in PE for sixty-three days running.
The boy so lifelessly studious, he’d never once placed below first place on the semester exams.
The boy so geeky, he didn’t even have normal geeky hobbies, like watching anime or playing video games. He sewed for fun, for heaven’s sake.
To say it was a blow to the watching boys’ egos would be an understatement. Long after Ishida and Inoue had vanished into the crowd, their collective mouths still hung open wide enough to devour the few flies left in the room a hundred times over. They’d all been expecting someone on the same level as Inoue herself—someone cool, strong, a pillar of masculinity. Someone they could feel justified in losing Inoue to. Not…him.
The girls all took it much better. Now that their star baseball-players and student council presidents and bad-boy crushes were all safe from the clutches of the orange-haired girl, they could afford to warm up to her a little. Still…If Inoue had had her pick of every boy in the school, why had she chosen Ishida? Perhaps there was something about him that they just hadn’t seen?
As the girls swirled past with their dance partners, narrowed eyes stared at the four-eyed boy intensely. He did have a sort of a nice face. And even though he appeared to be made of sticks, he could dance fairly well…Very gracefully, actually. And his father did run a whole hospital…
Their fourth dance coming to a close, Ishida bowed his leave from his Princess and voyaged off through the crowd on a quest for drinks, blissfully unaware that he was quietly being upgraded in the minds of his watchers from “I’d never date him in a million years” to the status of “a vague possibility.” As soon as his narrow back was lost from sight, more than a half-dozen girls converged on Inoue, intent on discussing something else that had come to their collective attention during their close scrutiny. Namely, her dress.
It was a fantastic affair of white lace and silk, cut into a beautiful, tastefully old-fashioned design. Clinging to her in all the right places, it somehow showed off her form while still maintaining a deep sense of propriety. Everything about it, from the flowing, layered skirt to the tiny crosses of blue ribbon that ornamented the fabric was absolutely and utterly stunning. Naturally, the encircling girls were entranced.
And so they bombarded poor Inoue with questions. Where did you buy it? What store? What brand? How much did it cost? Wait…is this tailor made? Who designed it? Who fitted you for it? Do you have a name, an address, a phone number? Come on, tell us! Tell us!
Slightly dazed by the sudden barrage, Inoue finally managed to stutter out that it had been Ishida-kun who had sewn it for her. Heads snapped around to regard the subject in question, who was busy filling a pair of glasses with non-alcoholic punch on the other side of the room. Ishida had made Inoue’s dress? Not just bought, but made? And it was so gorgeous, too!
Quite against their will, the girls began to feel the slightest twinges of envy. The only hand-made gifts any of them had ever received from their respective boyfriends had been a solitary paper cards on White Day full of awkward poetry. Ishida had made his date a whole dress!
You could almost hear the clicks as the four-eyed boy rose a few more notches on the dating index.
For the unfortunate boys who happened to overhear the conversation, the result was a mortifying mental image that swam before their eyes every time they caught sight of the mismatched pair for the rest of the night.
The image of Inoue being fitted for her dress by Ishida.
The image of Inoue with a delighted smile on her face, possibly in a state of partial undress, as Ishida knelt beside her, pinning and smoothing the thin fabric over the curves of her body as he stitched up the dress.
And they were jealous. Of Ishida Uryuu.
Ishida Uryuu, the nerd of nerds, who had somehow claimed the attention of the Princess of Karakura High.
They were jealous of Ishida Uryuu.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
A One-Shot Story by BlackVelvetBand
This is dedicated to my best friend Hime. Let’s live for today and forget tomorrow because today is the only thing you can truly be certain of.
“I just love this time of year don’t you, Ishida-kun?” Inoue Orihime sighed happily as she plucked a sakura blossom out of her companion’s hair. Blushing as her rather well-endowed chest brushed his arm with the movement, Ishida Uryū pushed his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose.
“I suppose so, Inoue-san,” he replied, glancing as the giggling girl ―no, woman― he corrected himself, beside him removed another errant blossom from the collar of his royal blue oxford.
“Don’t sound so melancholy,” Orihime scolded, turning around so that she was walking backwards in front of him, her hands clasped behind her back. “Aren’t you excited to go to the festival with Kuchiki-san and Kurosaki-kun?”
Uryū shot her a slightly incredulous look. “But, Inoue-san, we see them every day at school!”
“But festivals don’t happen everyday, silly!” she protested. “Besides, I can’t wait to show everyone my new dress!”
Ishida couldn’t help but smile faintly with pride as Orihime paused to twirl in the middle of the sidewalk, her flaming hair and floaty skirt fanning around her in a graceful arc.
“It’s not often that a girl gets such a wonderful gift as a brand new dress made by you, Ishida-kun.” She smoothed the fabric lovingly and shot him a brilliant smile. “You sure do know how to make a girl look beautiful!”
Uryū’s face flushed for what seemed like the hundredth time since he had met Orihime at her apartment in order to walk with her to Karakura’s main park for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. He adjusted his glasses once more out of nervous habit.
“You don’t need my help with that, Inoue-san,” he replied finally.
“Oh, Ishida-kun,” she said blushing modestly. “You’re so sweet. But you shouldn’t say things like that to a girl unless you mean it,” Orihime added with a mock-stern expression on her face as she wagged a finger at him.
But Uryū did mean it.
He deeply, truly meant it.
How could he not mean it when looking at her? She was a goddess.
Her hair was pulled halfway up, her bangs held out of her eyes by the ever-present flower hairpins. The dress (which he had so painstakingly made for her after she had playfully expressed her envy over the rather simple creation he’d made for Rukia) clung to her generous curves while leaving a tantalizing amount to the imagination. Uryū couldn’t help but notice as she skipped ahead slightly, that the layered sheer skirt, which fell just above her knees, swished invitingly when she walked.
Yes, Inoue Orihime was any man’s dream; a goddess in pastel blue.
He brushed another petal off of his shirt, remembering that he had worn it on Orihime’s insistence. ‘Ishida-kun,’ she had commented last week at lunchtime. ‘You must wear blue to the festival; it will bring out your eyes.’
Secretly though, he was glad that he had gone along with her request. Wearing slightly different shades of the same color made them look as if they had gone together.
Like a couple.
A couple was something Uryū desperately wanted them to be but was certain that the idea was impossible. He was thoroughly convinced that Orihime still held deep-seated feelings for Ichigo. He was also thoroughly convinced that she was way, way out of his league.
Uryū had not yet discerned that he was lagging behind his rather exuberant partner until her fingers curled into the crook of his arm.
“What are you thinking about, Ishida-kun? It must be something important because it’s weighing on you so heavily you’re walking slowly,” Orihime said with an astute air, gazing up into his startled face.
“It was nothing, Inoue-san,” Uryū returned, looking down at their feet as they navigated the sidewalk. What he wouldn’t give to walk her home like this every day after their handicraft club meetings…or from the library…or whatever restaurant she would take him to that would surely challenge his digestion…
“Are you sure, Ishida-kun?” Orhime asked, leaning slightly on his arm and placing her face incredibly close to his. Uryū had the insane desire to kiss her and, had it not been for his prodigious willpower as a Quincy, he wasn’t quite sure he could have restrained himself from doing so.
“You looked so serious,” she commented and then let out a breathy giggle. “But Ishida-kun always looks serious. Come on,” she cried, pulling him along slightly.
Smiling slightly bemusedly, Uryū allowed Orihime to escort him to the festival, secretly reveling in the fact that she still had not let go of his arm.
- - -
Uryū pushed his glasses up his nose as he tried to keep pace with Orihime while she darted in and out of the food vendors. Her dress was streaming out behind her, making her appear as ethereal as her namesake. She stopped so suddenly that Uryū collided with her back. Glancing up, he saw that they were standing in front of a stand selling what appeared to be bento made out of (what he considered to be) the most creative ingredients he’d ever seen in his life.
“Oh, Ishida-kun, look!” she squealed. “This is my favorite vendor, he makes the tastiest bento in the entire festival and he brought back the strawberry sautéed duck with garlic roasted kiwi and spicy rice!”
Uryū looked at her face, which was flushed with delight, while she jabbered merrily with the food vendor. The man was so enamored with Orihime’s enthusiasm for his unusual cooking that he told her to take a second one on the house. She turned to him, her eyes shining in delight.
“Which one would you like, Ishida-kun?”
He surveyed the choices and selected one of the relatively normal-looking creations. The vendor beamed at them both.
“The young lady is so generous to share with her friend!” he crowed while fetching chopsticks and napkins. Orihime went to pay but Uryū put his hand out to stop her. Orihime stared at him with wide eyes.
Blushing, he handed a few bills to the vendor. “It’s only fair that I repay her generosity,” Ishida stated, adjusting his glasses. The vendor laughed heartily and wagged a finger at Orihime as both teens picked up their food.
“That young man is a keeper, miss. He’s knows how to respect a lady. You and your boyfriend have a lovely evening and enjoy the fireworks!” the vendor waved happily at them.
Uryū, his face redder than Orihime’s hair, allowed the girl to lead him away from the large, mulling crowds and into a small clearing off of the main path.
Orihime flounced gracefully down on the sakura-strewn grass with her bento, tucking her legs underneath her. Uryū followed suit more hesitantly. He sat near enough that they wouldn’t have to talk in raised voices, but not so close that she might think he was being presumptuous.
“That vendor was nice, wasn’t he?” Orihime asked. She dug into her bento with a soft moan of pleasure. Uryū made a noncommittal sound while he chewed precisely.
“He thought we were dating.” She laughed airily. “As if serious Ishida-kun would ever ask out someone like me.”
If Uryū were a lesser man, he might have dropped his chopsticks onto the grass in surprise at this comment. It had sounded almost bitter and not very Orihime-like at all. Could she possibly? No, he mustn’t get his hopes up.
“It was nice of Kurosaki-kun and Kuchiki-san to go ahead and save us places for the fireworks, wasn’t it?” she commented.
“Yes,” Ishida answered her, despite the fact he was convinced that Ichigo’s offer to go save places for the evening’s fireworks display while Orihime fed her growling stomach was merely a tactic which would allow him time to be alone with Rukia.
A few moments later, Orihime placed her box beside her on the grass. Uryū, having eaten all that looked edible out of his own, took both trays and deposited them in a receptacle a little ways up the path. When he returned to the clearing, Orihime was standing once more, twirling slightly to the strains of a traditional melody wafting over from the music pavilion.
Uryū stood for a moment, watching her sway in the center of the circle of trees, blossoms falling around her, her dress rustling in the slight breeze. She had a slightly nostalgic look on her face, her eyes closed, like she was witnessing something which lived only in the depths of her memory. Orihime revolved again, her arms lifting as if they were being placed on a partner’s shoulders and Ishida realized that she was dancing a waltz…alone.
“What are you doing?” he blurted before he could stop himself.
She stopped, blinking at him and looking rather sheepish. “I was dancing,” Orihime said, her hands falling from her invisible partner’s shoulders. Uryū remained silent, for some reason he felt that there was more.
“My brother used to bring me here every year. Before the fireworks we would always buy some bento and then…we would dance together. I was so little, he had to pick me up,” she smiled. “I come here every year and dance by myself…to remember him.”
Uryū could barely stand it when her usually cheerful face took on a distinctly downcast air. He wanted to comfort her, do something to bring that blinding smile back to her beautiful face.
“Will you dance with me, Ishida-kun?” she asked quietly a few moments later. Ishida was taken aback by the question.
“I―” he began. Orihime was gazing at him with her eyes large and hopeful. Uryū wanted to scream, ‘Yes of course I’ll dance with you! Would it be to inappropriate if I held you against me in a manner most unbefitting of a gentleman?’ But neither those words, nor any words, broke past the rather large and nervous lump which was suddenly blocking his throat.
She gave him a horrifyingly watery smile and sniffled a little. “It’s okay, Ishida-kun. I shouldn’t have asked. I was being too…forward again.”
“No,” he said quickly. “Inoue-san, I would be delighted to dance with you.”
The smile was back and Uryū felt a fierce rush of Quincy pride that he had been able to put it there.
He moved forward hesitantly and gave a slight bow. “May I have this dance?” he asked, holding out a palm. Orihime slid her delicate hand into his with an elated giggle.
“Of course you can, Ishida-kun. I asked you first.”
Uryū nodded absentmindedly, gently wrapping one slightly sweaty palm on her back, just lower than her shoulder blade, in the proper waltz position. Orihime placed her hand on his shoulder while Ishida silently counted to the new song which had just begun playing.
One, two, three. One, two, three, Ishida counted as he led Orihime slightly awkwardly through a few rotations of a waltz. She slipped into the rhythm easily and soon Ishida moved the dance, sweeping around the clearing.
“You’re so good at this,” Orihime sighed.
“My mother made me take lessons when I was little,” Ishida admitted. “We used to attend the galas at the hospital as a family before she died.”
“Oh,” Orihime replied softly and Ishida twirled her smoothly under his arm. He pulled her back into him, meaning to resume their previous waltz position but she tripped.
Uryū steadied her with his hands on her waist, all too aware that her warm body was aligned perfectly with his, her delicate hands resting on his chest.
He gazed down at her, his eyes wide behind his glasses. Orihime mirrored his expression, her face flaming the same shade as her hair. Uryū gaze flicked uncontrollably to her lips, his tongue darting out to wet his own, which suddenly felt incredibly dry. He realized with a jolt that Orihime’s own eyes had followed the movement, before darting back up to meet his.
“Ishida-kun,” she asked tentatively, “would I be being too forward again if I kissed you?”
Ishida’s heart leapt in his chest, and he shook his head slightly, not daring to believe his luck. “No, Inoue-san,” he croaked. “I would be delighted to kiss you.”
Ishida tilted his head to the side and Orihime tilted hers….then they were kissing.
It was slightly awkward at first. Ishida had relatively no experience in this department and he was quite unsure of Orihime’s own level of experience. If Orihime was lacking in experience, she certainly made up for it in enthusiasm. Her soft lips moved over his, her hands curling into his hair. Uryū tugged her even closer against him, one hand wrapped around her back, the other cupping her neck.
Orihime’s mouth opened slightly and their tongues brushed by accident. He wondered if she too felt slightly lightheaded. He shifted his head slightly and Orihime gasped against his lips. Her breath on his cheek was warm when they broke apart. He barely had time to whisper her name before Orihime had launched herself at him forcefully, bringing their lips crashing together again. Uryū lost his balance and slipped backward onto the soft ground, bringing her down on top of him.
Orihime released his lips rather reluctantly. She smiled down at Uryū, adjusting his glasses from where they had been cutting into the bridge of his nose without him noticing or caring in the slightest. Her hair tickled his cheek, and he brushed it behind her ear.
Orihime’s brow furrowed suddenly and she leant down until their noses were touching, her eyes boring into his. “Are we dating now, Ishida-kun?” she asked seriously. “I like you a lot.”
Uryū’s eyebrows shot up. “Of course, Inoue-san,” he stammered. “I like you a lot too.”
“Good,” she stated, pressing her lips against his briefly. “But if we are dating, then you must call me Orihime.”
Uryū nodded in compliance. She wanted him to call her Orihime!
“Then you must call me Uryū…Orihime.”
She flashed him that brilliant smile once more, before tucking her head underneath his chin with a contented sigh.
“Uryū,” she asked a few minutes later, “I know you really don’t like festivals all that much but… will you come and dance with me again next year?”
He drew her more snugly against him, running a hand through her hair. “Of course,” Uryū replied, beginning to think that festivals were magnificent establishments.
“Do you promise?” Orihime whispered, one hand playing with the collar of his shirt.
“On the pride of the Quincy,” he returned, sealing his pledge with a gentle kiss.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
*looks in favorites on fanfiction.net* Damn all my faves are IchiRuki...xD *cough*alotofthemM-rated*cough* 8D
I'm a fan-fiction whore so I'll look for some Ms.SupaFreek. ; D
the bee stings the bird.... stings it sooooo good. -KiLBuD_the_STaMPeDe
*looks in favorites on fanfiction.net* Damn all my faves are IchiRuki...xD *cough*alotofthemM-rated*cough* 8D
I'm a fan-fiction whore so I'll look for some Ms.SupaFreek. ; D
Hey Chappy, do you read TheresaCrane's Ichiruki fanfics? COUGH COUGH PR0N COUGH COUGH.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
[FanFiction] To Orihime, With Love
Title: To Orihime, With Love
Characters: Inoue Orihime, Lumina, Verona, Szayel Aporro Grantz
Pairings: implied Szayel Aporro/Orihime, implied Ishida/Orihime
Word Count: 759
Warnings: Potentially disturbing material.
Summary: Szayel Aporro sends Orihime a gift.
Disclaimer: The characters and locations in this work are ©Kubo Tite. This is for entertainment purposes only, not profit.
Author's Notes: Okay, so this is my first step back into the world of fan fiction in several years. Hopefully the things I write now will be a lot better than anything I wrote then. I hadn't planned on writing anything for Valentine's Day, but this just randomly came to me, and I thought it would make a nice first try.
To Orihime, With Love
The door to her room suddenly burst open, eliciting a startled jump from Orihime. Ulquiorra had just left about half an hour ago, and Nnoitra had been gone for hours, so she had thought it would be safe to lose herself in her thoughts for a little while. Apparently she was wrong.
She wasn't left with much time to wonder about who it could be either, as her ears were soon met with loud greetings of "Orihime! Orihime!", shouted in unision by two voices that had become very familiar to her by now. Turning to face her visitors visually confirmed that it was Lumina and Verona, the roly poly fracción of Szayel Aporro. She had seen them both many times during her forced visits to his lab, but he had never sent them to her room before, especially not with... was that a gift one of them was holding?
"Um, is there something--," she started, but was interrupted by their enthusiastic shouting as they bounded toward her.
"Szayel Aporro-sama told us to bring you this!" Lumina held the gift up proudly, offering it to Orihime and bouncing in excitement. "Szayel Aporro-sama sent you a gift! A gift for Orihime!"
"A... gift?" Orihime muttered, more to herself than the two fracción as she accepted the white box from Lumina, staring down at it in a combination of concern and disbelief. It seemed surprisingly innocent and nice at first glance, pure white accented with a bright red ribbon, but looks could be misleading, and she had spent enough time with Szayel Aporro by now to know that the box likely didn't contain gourmet chocolates or a stuffed bear. Well, maybe the bear, if it had been made animate and given sharp teeth with which to bite her.
"Open it! Open it!" The two rotund arrancar encouraged cheerfully, anxiously awaiting her reaction to their master's most generous gesture.
"Okay..." Not wanting to hold onto the box as it was opened for fear of what it may contain, she sat down on the floor, gently placing it in front of her. Tentatively, she reached out with one hand and carefully untied the ribbon, tipping the lid off with one finger as the ribbon fell to the floor.
The anticipation was heavy. At first she stayed back, worried that something might come bursting out to harm her, but when nothing did, she exhaled her held breath and leaned forward to take a peek inside. The second she saw the box's contents, she immediately regretted ever opening it. Her eyes widened in horror as they were met with the sight of a bloody human heart dressed in pink ribbon tied neatly in a bow. After a brief moment of remaining frozen in shock, she recoiled as if she'd been punched in the face, while the two fracción cheered in oblivious delight.
Orihime couldn't stop herself from shuddering as her eyes began to well with tears. She hadn't expected anything from him to be kind or wonderful, but she hadn't been prepared for something like this. Who had he mutilated just for the sake of amusing himself with this? Whose life had he destroyed? There had been a slip of paper placed inside the box as well. Should she read it? She wasn't sure she could stand knowing what he may have written to accompany a 'gift' like this, nor having to actually reach in to retreive his note, but not knowing was almost as bad.
She tried her best not to focus on the bloody organ as she leaned forward again, reaching into the box with only a slight whimper to quickly snatch the slip of paper. Carefully, she unfolded the Octava's message to her, trying to avoid touching the droplets of crimson that speckled it. Written in what was potentially the most elegant penmanship she had ever seen, the note read:
The Quincy, that is, Ishida Uryuu, sends you affections and best wishes with all of his heart.
The tears that had welled in her eyes now streamed down her cheeks in torrents, drops falling onto the paper she held so tightly as she tried in vain to choke back a sob. Satisfied with the reception of their master's present, Lumina and Verona bounded away, back to the Octava's domain. As the door closed behind them her strength faded, and the room was soon filled with Orihime's cries of anguish.
In stark contrast, Szayel Aporro's room was filled with the sounds of his own maniacal laughter.
Dramafreak: OMFG SO SAD, T___T
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
OH HELLZ YEA, OVER 10,000. <3
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
YOU MUST BE 15 OR OLDER TO VIEW. /seriously, though. WHO TEH HELL CARES? :/
"Buttons" - Bleach, Ishida/Orihime
Rating: PG-15? R?
Warnings/Genres: Dorkiness, not too much smut, kissing, het, timeline? what's a timeline?, general unjustified-sex-ness.
Word Count: Approx. 530
Author's note: Written for pr0ntober (although in my case it has now become pr0november, heh...)—[info]_debbiechan_'s request, “Ishida/Orihime – ripped clothing”.
Summary: Uryuu has some... hang-ups. But that's okay, we love him anyways. And so does Orihime.
“Don't—” gasped Uryuu as Orihime's hands tugged at his shirt. She pulled back slightly, looking down at him with a puzzled face, hair falling down over her ears, over the sides of his face and pooling on the bed.
“Eh? What's the matter?” she asked, eyes full of concern. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean t—”
“No,” Uryuu cut her off, panting, “it's not—don't apologize, it's just—don't tear my shirt open, please, or I'll have to sew the buttons back on.”
“Oh... but, well, I thought, you're so good at sewing and things—but if it's really too much bother, eheh—!”
“No, it's—I'd have to sew them back on immediately. I...”
Orihime was staring at him with a furrowed brow, as if he were suddenly talking German, and Uryuu sighed mentally. He shouldn't have tried to explain it. But then she smiled brightly. “That's all right! I just, that's what always happens in the stories and the movies, and I thought it would be really cool, wouldn't it, because it'd be like you have all these other people backing you up! They did it too! And, and it's like the safety-nets those tight-rope walkers have, and I just thought that...” She trailed off, and the wistful note in her voice went to Uryuu's heart like a knife. She smiled at him again, but too late to cover it up: “Never mind! It's fine, I won—”
“No,” Uryuu gritted out. “It's... oh, I suppose it's all right, I'm sorry I brought it up—”
Then Orihime was kissing him, and his words dissolved into an incoherent “mmf!”. She had placed her hands on his shoulders, pushing him down into the bed, but one of them was moving down, trailing over his chest like she was reading a map (this was something, Uryuu had discovered, which Orihime did with a lot of trailing of her index finger and muttering under her breath—the latter was frequently about bananas and ketchup or why angels have wings; he had decided very quickly just not to ask). Like she was looking for a certain X. Somehow, she managed to do it very, very slowly—every place she touched throbbed, and Uryuu writhed, moaning against her mouth.
Finally Orihime's hand ran over the crotch of his jeans, and Uryuu's breath caught as he pushed into the touch. Through lidded eyes, he saw an expression of horror suddenly cross Orihime's face as she broke the kiss, jolting upright. “Uryuu-kun!” she exclaimed.
With what he felt was immense force of will, he brought his attention to her. “What is it? Are you all right?” he demanded, worry lacing his tone.
“Yes, I'm fine! But... there's a hole in your jeans here...”
She moved her hand then and Uryuu groaned loudly, partly in frustration, partly in something else entirely, and reached up to grab the back of her head, pulling her down again and covering her mouth with his. He would fix it later, sometime, but now if she just did that again—oh God—
Shortly thereafter, the room filled with clattering as buttons fell on the hardwood floor.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.
She asked me. I couldn’t say no. I could see it in her eyes, the longing, the love, but it isn’t for me. I look up again at that hole, feeling that tinge of jealousy in my heart. I asked myself, what did he have to get your love? What don’t I have? Either way, I still couldn’t say no.
It was the first time she even talked to me since I have arrived. The first time she ever called my name. She did not even bother acknowledging my presence as I came to save her. I only get something short of a glance. But for me it is enough. To see her, to know she was no way harmed, at least physically, I was already satisfied. But as I look on, I see more damage within her. It is in her eyes. The pain, the sadness, the loss of all that hope that she holds. And I hated myself for seeing her that way, for allowing her to stay too long in the confines of a condemned place.
I should have escaped the walls that training ground earlier. I felt her disappear. But that damned promise halted me from doing so. I never should have made that promise. But if I did not, I would even be more useless than I am now. How I wish I could have done more.
But time can never be turned back. And she is with me now, it is all that matters. We are in a temporary peace, even if it only lasts for a few minutes. Soon she will be safe, once Kurosaki wins. I pray to God he will win. Even if it is by his hands that she is liberated, it doesn’t matter. Even if it is by his arms that she will scream out her happiness and her gratitude, it will not matter. As long as she is safe, it will suffice. As long as she is happy, nothing else matters, I will be happy.
But she had to cut that temporary peace even shorter.
“Please.” she pleaded to me as her voice brought me back from my reverie.
I looked at her, with no words being able to form in my mouth. I just held out my hand for her to take, and she took it. I held her hand tighter for I feared that if I don’t, she may slip out of my grasp. Her eyes widened at the gesture, but she spoke nothing more. She looked away from me, something akin to guilt within her eyes.
I led her to the break in the wall as I gathered reiatsu under my feet. I stepped out of the massive building, the light blue reiatsu solidifying under my feet. I heard her gasp as we stepped on it. Her eyes again regained that innocent astonishment. It was a beautiful sight. I looked away before she could catch me looking. I willed the solid reiastu upward making her jump with a start. She held on to my arms tightly for balance.
After a few moments of silence, she spoke. “This is amazing.”
The compliment was well appreciated, but as of the present circumstances, it only reminded me of my short comings.
“I learned it while passing through the Gargantua,” I answered. “I only realized I could use it in Hueco Mundo when I was halfway here. If I’d realized sooner, maybe I could have been some use in the battlefield.” I let my voice sound as flat as possible, letting any trace of regret be unheard. But I guess it was not as how I wanted myself to sound.
“Ishida…” was all Inoue could say, and she held on to me even tighter.
I wanted to tell her don’t worry about it, that I don’t need her pity. But I just let it be. Saying more would only make me seem defensive for such weakness. And now isn’t the time to let any weakness be visible to her eyes. She needs to see the light from this darkness, and I want to be that light, even if small. I wanted her fear to dissipate, I want her to regain that hope she is losing little by little. I want to see life in her eyes again.
As we get closer to the ceiling of Las Noches, I felt an evil power surrounding me.
“Wh… What the hell.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying. “It’s coming from above the dome.” I felt Inoue’s hand tremble by my arms. She was terrified, and I could say the same for myself. I braced myself for what is waiting for us above the dome.
“What… is… this… Is this spiritual energy?” I said. It was different from any spiritual energy I have felt before. What demon lays in wait for us? It felt so heavy, so dense, that you cannot feel the air. It felt like drowning in a sea of nothingness, of malice.
“What…?” Inoue said, her voice shaky as her hand.
I wanted to reassure her, but what would I say, that there is nothing to worry about? Even I wouldn’t believe such. “Crap” was the best that came to my mind at the time, “we have to hurry.”
We reached the hole that was made into the ceiling and the feeling becomes worse here. There is nothing that I could see. It even felt like someone is stealing the air out of my lungs. It surprised me that Inoue-san could even withstand such pressure.
“I can’t feel Kurosaki’s energy” I told her. “Where is he?”
I heard a cold metallic voice resound at the barren land of Las Noches. “So you’ve come, girl?” it said.
I looked at Inoue and followed where she was looking. I saw a demon taking hold of Kurosaki, and then there was nothing else I can see but that. I saw that demon build a black energy on his fingertips, and this made a hole in Kurosaki’s chest. I felt startled and speechless for a short moment. Inoue’s scream made me snap back to attention.
I looked back at her and what I saw made me enraged. It was enough to drive all the fear I am feeling away. Her eyes lost all life and all hope in one instant, as she looked in the lifeless form of what once was Kurosaki Ichigo. And within the next second, Inoue ran furiously as the Cuatro espada threw his bleeding body, her Shun Shun Rikka coming to life.
As I saw as the Espada blocking her way, the anger and the fear mixed within me, creating a torrent of emotions. I feared what he will do if he lay a finger on her, I felt angry that despite this, I know I was not powerful enough to stop what he would be doing.
I immediately made use of hirenkyaku to get behind him and I conjured the strongest arrow that I could. I aimed it perfectly and released it, but it was waved off as if it was just an annoying fly.
I looked into the eyes of the demon, feeling nothing but anger at him, none of that fear that was smothering at me only moment earlier. I could safely say at this moment, I did not fear him. I was ready for death and I was not afraid. As long as Inoue gets away safely, and I saw her get past him because of the little distraction I created. Despite this effort being made for the one she loves, which was not me.
“Licht Regen.” I commanded sending a rain of white light towards the Espada.
As I expected, he emerged unscathed from the attack that I unleashed. I ran again to position myself for the next attack.
“I’m shocked,” he told me in his emotionless voice, “of all of Kurosaki’s friends, I thought you were the calm one.”
“I am calm. That’s why I can fight you” I bluffed. I knew that I would sooner eat these words. I knew I had no chance.
I focused on the espada sending a barrage of arrows, but still keeping Inoue in my sight. I saw her approaching the body of Kurosaki. I was relieved momentarily that she got there safe. At least she will be able to bring him back, and maybe change the odds from what is happening right now.
It was only a fraction of a second when I looked at Inoue, but in the next second, I saw cord like whip heading in my direction. I was too late to dodge it. It coiled tightly around my arm, and I tried to pull away from it. It pulled on me forcefully it felt like it was going to rip my arm.
As I was flying back I saw blood spurting through the air. I traced where it came from, and I saw an arm land on the floor with a dry thud. It looked so familiar, that I looked at my hand, and what I saw did not surprise me. Only then did I realize that it was my hand that was lying there. I immediately took out the styptic and injected myself with it. It was almost like a reflexive reaction. I did not even feel that I lost an arm. The shock was too much for me process everything. It was only moments after that I realized how much I lost.
But Inoue called my name, reminding me why I was there, why I was fighting. The arm did not matter anymore.
“Don’t worry,” I reassured her, “I’ve already used anesthesia and stopped the bleeding. Inoue… You take care of Kurosaki.”
It was painful to say, but it was the only chance she had to be able to get out of this place. And I am willing to sacrifice myself to give her that chance. I could not stand to see tears in her eyes. Then I felt that I might not see her again after this.
I felt the fury flood within me because of the thought, pumping to my legs as I charged with renewed energy, drawing Seele Schneider. I heard Inoue scream my name, but it sounded so distant, trying to urge me to stop but it’s too late for that. But as I closed the gap between me and the espada, his tail flung out, and my vision dimmed, until I lost consciousness.
I felt the pain in my chest, a gash, an open wound. But despite its intensity, it felt unimportant, unreal. I remember the fight that I have just been in, and it suddenly felt like it was from a long time ago. There is nothing I can see, I don’t know what is happening outside, and I don’t really care.
I felt my left arm throbbing, remembering it wasn’t there. I felt sorrow and rage from the dark caverns of my heart. Losing an arm should be nothing compared to when my stomach and the other contents of my abdomen was crushed. But I am a Quincy, and an archer. Losing an arm would render me useless. It was everything that I had trained for all of my existence. I would have traded it all to regain that arm back. I would rather die than not be able to fight. I did not know that this wish would sooner be granted.
And it is something I would welcome dearly.
I was already succumbing to the comfortable darkness when I heard the piercing cry of Inoue-san. Her voice brought me back to consciousness. I did not know how long it was that I was unconscious. I opened my eyes to see an orange light surrounding me, but it is now shattered, the small fairy like creatures broken with it. The gash on my flesh was still visible, but it was already smaller, my arm was still nothing but a bloodied stump, but I could care less about it with what I saw.
It all came to me in a slow motion, Kurosaki, who now looks a lot different was charging against the Espada, both of them bloodied and spent. I knew exactly that both of them were delivering their finishing blow. What really alarmed me was the one running towards the middle of them, Inoue-san. It seem like she put it upon herself to stop them from killing each other, but I immediately could see what would result from her actions.
I suddenly remembered Kurosaki’s words as he told me to shield her with my body. And that is what I did.
Within a flash I found myself dashing towards her, and within less than a second, I successfully pushed her out of the way and blocked the espada’s blow by catching his wrist above my head. I looked at her by my feet, and found myself smile. At least she was unharmed.
Then I felt a sharp pain on my gut and saw a sword sticking through it. There was also a tail. I traced where the sword belonged to, and I saw the black and yellow eyes that belong to Kurosaki Ichigo, shock visible in his features. I look back again in front of me and saw the collapsing Espada who was holding onto Zangetsu it’s tip forming a second hole just below his first one. I wondered where it came from. He slid from the sword and fell.
My hands traveled without thought to where the sword was sticking through me. I felt a small hole, something smaller than the one from the Espada, just below my rib. Now I realized where it came from. I wanted to say something to tell them it’s ok, but nothing came out as I opened my mouth.
I fell to my knees and as I did so, came in level with Inoue-san widened eyes. Tears were streaming down her cheek. I knew she was crying for me, I knew why she was crying. It’s over. But even then, I felt myself smile at her.
I did not feel it when the sword or the tail was pulled out from me. I did not know when Kurosaki ran madly for help with tears brimming his eyes. I did not know of what happened to the Cuatro Espada. All I knew was that Inoue caught my fall. Looking into her gray eyes, tearful for me, I was happy. She cradled my head in her lap as she ran a hand through my hair, gazing at me with those sad eyes, the trembling within her lulling me to sleep. I see her summoning up her Rikka, touching her hairpins. But they don’t obey. She was telling me she was sorry, that her Rikka was broken, that they also need to heal before they can be used again. And more tears come out of her eyes. I wanted to tell her not to worry about it.
She continuously chanted my name, rocking my head back and forth; it was the loveliest lullaby I heard. A sound I am willing to hear forever. But the sound is growing duller, the world is growing dimmer, until she was all that I can see, until there is nothing more that I can see. The warmth I am feeling from her extinguished, ‘til all I can feel is the cold spreading all over my body. I wanted to reach for her, to touch her, but I can’t move, I’m finding it hard to breath.
I knew I was dying. I accepted that. I knew that there was nothing that could reverse what has happened. I did not fear death, and I do not fear it now as it was already taking my hand. I made a lot of mistakes, in my life, and I accepted their consequences without regret. But there is one thing that I did regret; it is that I never told her how I felt for her, when I have the strength left to do so. I did not tell her how much I loved her, and how I still do at this very same moment, when I was still able to spout out senseless arrogance. But now I cannot move my lips, the strength has left me.
Either way, I was contented. She would get another chance in this life that took so much from her. I felt as her tears fell one last time on my face, it sent one last jolt of electricity through my skin. She may be crying now, but what I will always remember is her beautiful smile. A smile that made me feel alive, even in death.
I was no longer aware when she sobbed furiously, hugging my limp form onto her chest when the life have left me. I was no longer aware of Kurosaki’s blank eyes as he stared at me while the Captain of the fourth division told him it was too late.
I was only aware that I reached the end of my road.
NEW ACCOUNT: SEEYA THERE.