|Chance to Say Goodbye
Author: CrystalRaindrop007 PM
I will become stronger. . . he who said such was defeated. Even now. . .he still failed. . .to protect. — A chance to say goodbye was all he wanted.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Angst - Ichigo K. & Rukia K. - Words: 1,680 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 18 - Published: 10-13-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3197436
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I don't know why I wrote this. But I did. I thought it fit with the quote and with the bible verse.
P.S. The quote is from the Manga chapter 213. Page 8.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the characters. I do own Keitaro, though!
Chance To Say Goodbye
He had preformed Konso on hundreds of thousands of spirits since he had become a Shinigami: Children, old people; famous people, poor people; girls and boys and women and men; People who had died from terrible sickness, and some who had died from freak accidents; some who had killed themselves, and some who had been killed.
But this was different.
This was his son.
The little spirit was sitting on a swing, slowly rocking back and forth. His small, sad violet eyes were twinkling with tears. Ichigo was torn apart when he saw him. He would not, no, could not, ever forget that face. Or his hair. The little boy had hair just like his father. It looked like flames in the afternoon sky.
Then, he looked up. Ichigo wanted to cry with happiness and run to the little boy.
Would he recognize Ichigo as his father, though? The tiny boy had died when he was only four. It had been ten years since that day.
But as he stared at Ichigo with his big eyes, he smiled, jumped off the swing, and ran over.
Ichigo smiled, allowing his tears to fall. He bent down on his knees and held the child tightly.
"Keitaro," Ichigo whispered, burying his face into the childs hair. He hadn't changed from the last day Ichigo had seen him. He was still the same, beautiful little baby boy Ichigo had always loved.
"Daddy, where's mommy?"
Ichigo pulled back a little, smiling. He wiped away his tears.
"Mommy's at home."
"Daddy? Why are you crying? Are you sad?" Keitaro asked, his tiny face forming into a frown. Ichigo smiled and hugged him again.
"No, Daddy's not sad, baby, he's happy."
"Daddy, I'm dead, right?"
Ichigo looked into Keitaro's eyes. He nodded sadly, wishing he didn't have to see the pain in the child's eyes. He looked sad, but he smiled bravely.
"I want to move on, daddy, so I can see you and mommy again someday."
"Will you come home with me and see mommy before you go? She would love that."
Keitaro's eyes lit up and he nodded, taking Ichigo's hand as he stood up.
Ichigo knew he must look stupid as he walked along the road, holding an invisible child's hand, but he didn't care. He didn't care about anything. He just wanted to be with his baby boy as long as possible.
As he watched the child walk beside him, Ichigo noted that he hadn't aged a bit since his death. On his head, he still bore the scar that he had received when he fell out of his crib at seven months old.
Smiling fondly at the memory, Ichigo remembered how scared he had been on that day. There had been so much blood, and Keitaro was crying so loudly. But Keitaro still looked like the little four-year-old baby he had been when he had died. Ichigo noticed that he talked and acted more like the fourteen-year-old he would be today if he hadn't died. He spoke clearly, not in the tiny voice he used to use when he was just learning. He was walking perfectly, not as he had years ago, tripping on everything. He understood death, not like when he had asked about grandma, and Ichigo had to explain that she was gone.
He wasn't a baby anymore. He looked like a baby, but he was growing up. And if Ichigo sent him to the Soul Society, he would have the chance to live and grow as all children there did. Who knew? Maybe he would become a Shinigami and they would see him again.
"Daddy? Why did I die? I try and try to remember, but I can't."
Ichigo took a deep breath. Every time he told the story, it tore him apart inside.
"It was because I couldn't protect you, Keitaro. I couldn't protect you and your mom. And you died. She tried to protect you, but she couldn't. He stabbed straight through her to get to you, and you couldn't live."
"Was mommy sad?"
Ichigo tried not to cry. It had been so hard. The Hollow had stabbed her, and the doctor said that she would live, but never be able to have more children. She had cried for hours.
"Yeah, she was sad, baby. But she'll be happy to see you, I know she will. It will be a chance to say good-bye."
"Good-bye?" Keitaro asked, looking up, his eyes filled with curiosity.
"She didn't get to say goodbye because she was hurt, too. I didn't get to say goodbye either."
"Oh." Keitaro looked thoughtful for a second, then smiled, announcing, "I love you, daddy!"
Ichigo had never had such a battle with tears before. He didn't cry. He didn't allow himself to, because he had to be strong for those around him.
He smiled as he reached down and picked up Keitaro. The little boy smiled and snuggled up against Ichigo.
"And we have a surprise for you, too," Ichigo whispered.
"What?" Keitaro's violet eyes were glowing with happiness.
"Daddy, when I move on, what will it be like?"
Ichigo began to explain everything he knew about soul society. He noticed that Keitaro seemed to understand every word. Another sign that he wasn't a baby anymore.
When they walked into the bright front yard, Keitaro struggled to be put down. The second he was on the ground, he ran around, smiling at all the flowers. Ichigo had to remind himself that he had to let go. Keitaro had to move on.
Ichigo could hear the dish crash to the ground inside. He could see bright violet eyes looking out the front window and into the yard. Keitaro had also seen his mother and began waving happily. The dark haired woman disappeared from the window and soon reappeared outside.
"Ichigo . . . is this . . ."
"I found him in the park. I recognized him and thought you would like to say goodbye before I preform Konso."
Before Ichigo knew what was happening, Keitaro was being smothered by his mother, hugged tightly in the arms of a woman who had missed her son so badly.
"Oh, Keitaro, I missed you so much."
He hugged her back, finally pulling away and smiling.
"Rukia, Keitaro has to go very soon. I can sense his spirit power. He had lingered in this world too long, and he needs to move on before he becomes a Hollow," Ichigo explained, kneeling down beside his son and wife.
"Daddy? What was the surprise?" Keitaro asked, jumping up and down.
"Mommy's going to have a baby boy. It's something we thought could never happen, but it did, and we're very happy."
"I have a brother?" Keitaro asked, his excitement showing. Ichigo and Rukia nodded happily.
"We're going to give him your name as a middle. Is that OK?"
"I have to go now, Daddy. I've been fighting something bad inside me for a while, and it's getting stronger. Please let me go."
Quickly turning into a Shinigami, Ichigo puled out his Zanpaktou, preparing to preform Konso. Rukia stood beside him, gripping his arm tightly as Keitaro stood there, smiling and waiting for his daddy to send him to a better life.
"Goodbye, Keitaro. I love you," Rukia whispered.
"I love you, too, mommy. Daddy, too!"
And then Ichigo lowered the hilt of his blade to the little boy's forehead. Keitaro closed his eyes as the bright blue glow surrounded him.
As Keitaro spoke his last words, Ichigo could see that Keitaro was not a little boy anymore. He was growing into a man. Appearances aside, he was the young man Ichigo had always imagined his baby boy would grow into.
"Bye, dad, bye, mom."
Then, he was gone, and all that remained was the little, black butterfly flying off in the distance.
Ichigo watched it go, remembering the memory verse he had learned so long ago in Sunday school. He had always had trouble remembering each line in it, but today it came soft and clear.
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
Keitaro had put away childish things in order to move on. He had put away his longing and desire to stay with his parents. His desire to linger where he didn't belong. And his his feelings of Jealousy toward every child he saw playing with their own mommy and daddy. He had chose to move on toward a brighter life.
But they had had a chance to say goodbye . . . and that was good enough.
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