We Came to You

"Pudding, I'm sure he'll come back. He promised, remember?"

The speaker was Ichigo, and she and Lettuce were at Pudding's house, trying to comfort their young friend. It was midnight; Pudding had just had another nightmare about Taruto's death. Ichigo and Lettuce took turns and sometimes came together, sleeping over at Pudding's house every night.

The battle had ended four years ago, and the Cyniclons hadn't returned. Mint, Zakuro, Ryou, and Keiichiro could care less, but Pudding, Lettuce, and Ichigo were very sad about this. Ichigo had realized soon after the battle with Deep Blue that she loved Kisshu, not Aoyama, and Lettuce already loved Pai. Pudding now knew she liked Taruto as more than just a friend, and the fact that he hadn't come back yet hurt.

Pudding sighed as Ichigo and Lettuce hugged her. "Do you really think Taru-Taru's coming back?" she asked. "It's been four years…."

"I think that if he's okay, he'll come back," Lettuce said.

"But what if he's not okay?" Pudding asked worriedly.

"Well, there's only one way to find out, right?" Ichigo asked gently.

"You don't mean…." Lettuce started.

"That we should take that portal machine I stole from Ryou and use it to get to the Cyniclons' planet?" Ichigo asked. "Yes I do. If they're not going to come back, we'll go find them."

Pudding perked up a bit, and asked, "When are we going?"

"Let's go tomorrow," Ichigo said. "We can each pack a backpack, and we'll go tomorrow afternoon. So let's get some sleep, okay?"

"'Kay…." Pudding said sleepily. Ichigo and Lettuce tucked her back in, and turned out the light, then quietly headed back to the guest room they shared.


The next morning: Ichigo, Lettuce, and Pudding got up, and Ichigo said, "Let's meet at my house when we're done preparing."

"Okay," Pudding said happily.

"Are you sure about this?" Lettuce asked.

"You want to see Pai again, right?" Ichigo asked.

Lettuce's blush was all Ichigo and Pudding really needed. Ichigo smirked and said, "Then let's go."

The girls made breakfast, and then they went home to pack. Ichigo heard the doorbell as she finished packing, and went to get it. Lettuce and Pudding were outside, and she let them in, then said, "Come upstairs, that's where the portal machine is."

Pudding and Lettuce followed her upstairs to her room, and waited as she pulled the portal machine out from under her bed. "Where should I set it to get us to?" she asked. "I don't think it's a great idea to teleport directly to any of them."

"Just type in Cyniclonia, then," Lettuce said. "We can figure things out from there."

Ichigo nodded, and set the machine to get them to Cyniclonia, then picked up her backpack and opened a portal. Lettuce and Pudding stepped in, and Ichigo followed with the machine.

The girls landed a minute later in a forest, but they could see a house not too far off. "Should we go ask for directions?" Lettuce asked- just as they heard teleportation.

Before they could turn, a male voice asked warily, "Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

The girls turned, and saw Pai standing behind them. He looked utterly shocked when he saw their faces, and whispered, "What is going on?"

"We missed you guys," Ichigo said simply. "And when you didn't come back, we decided we'd come to you."

"But how did you get here?" Pai asked.

"Ichigo stole some of Ryou's equipment that he was planning on using before we formed a truce," Lettuce said. "It's a portal machine that can get the user anywhere."

"Can Blondie track you?" Pai asked.

"No, the machine doesn't give off a signal, and we didn't bring our pendants," Ichigo said. "To my knowledge, there's no other way he can track us, since Lettuce took the tracking devices out of our cell phones."

"Alright," Pai said. "I'd better bring you back to my house. Grab on."

The girls obeyed, and Pai teleported them to the front of a large mansion. "This is where you live?" Ichigo asked.

"With Kisshu, Taruto, and my parents," Pai said. He led the way to the door, and opened it, then motioned for them to go in, and went in after them. Soon after, they heard teleportation, and a woman who looked almost exactly like Taruto appeared, and as soon as she saw the girls, she said, "Explanation."

"I found them in the woods," Pai said. "Apparently they missed us."

"This will make Kisshu happy," the woman said. "He's still sulking." She looked at the girls, and said, "I'm Yuki, Pai and Taruto's mother and Kisshu's aunt. So what brought this on?"

"We missed Kisshu, Pai and Taruto, and Pudding kept having nightmares about the final battle, and finally last night we decided we'd had enough of waiting for them to come back, and came here," Ichigo replied.

"Pudding wasn't the only one having nightmares," Lettuce said, giving Ichigo a significant look.

Ichigo sighed and said, "I don't want to talk about it. You're the lucky one, Lettuce; you were unconscious when Pai died. Pudding saw Taruto die- and I held Kisshu in my arms while he was dying, knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. And then I spent four years asking myself why the HELL I didn't kiss him while I had the chance. And by the time I woke up after that, he was gone. I didn't even get to say goodbye! And I hate talking about this, so would you PLEASE stop reminding me that I wake up screaming every other night, and then spend hours sobbing and wondering why I'm so stupid?"

Lettuce hugged Ichigo gently and said, "I'm sorry. I know you've had it harder than me or Pudding, and I don't mean to hurt you; I just think it would be good to get some of this off your chest. You never told us what you see when you wake up screaming Kisshu's name; I really think you'll heal better if you tell someone. It doesn't have to be me or Pudding, but wouldn't it feel better not to have to hold this in?"

"I guess…." Ichigo mumbled into Lettuce's shoulder.

Yuki sighed and said, "Excuse me for interrupting, but did you say Taruto died too?"

"Yes, they didn't tell you?" Ichigo asked. "Pudding's been having nightmares about it ever since."

Yuki looked at Pai sternly. "I assume there's a reason for this, Pai?" she asked sternly.

"It was Taruto's idea; he didn't want you to worry or take your feelings out on me," Pai said. "I think he also mentioned that he didn't want another episode of you not letting him out of your sight for six months, but that was four years ago, so I don't quite remember the full conversation."

Yuki appeared to be concentrating, and two minutes later, Taruto appeared looking grouchy. "You didn't have to- PUDDING!?" he asked incredulously.

Before Pudding could launch herself at Taruto- which was what she obviously wanted to do- Yuki asked, "Taruto, is there a reason I didn't know you DIED four years ago?"

"Um…" Taruto said uncomfortably. "Do I have to answer that?"

"Yes, because I want to know why you boys have been hiding things from me," Yuki said. "Out with it."

"Pai killed me," Taruto said gloomily. "I stopped him from attacking Ichigo, and told him I was sick of fighting, and since he's the better warrior, my attack didn't do enough damage to stop him from killing me with his attack. And before you ask, the reason I was fighting him alone was because I had told Kisshu that he should go after Deep Blue while I helped the Mews. Kisshu didn't want to leave me alone, but I told him he was our best hope to kill Deep Blue. He was all for telling you and the Council what Pai did when he heard about it, but I said we should just let it go; I was alive and that's what mattered. He still didn't speak to Pai for a month, but we managed to pass that off as the lack of time they spent together."

Yuki looked horrified. Two seconds later, it turned to anger, and she screamed, "What the HELL were you thinking, Pai!? And WHY did your father and I never hear one word about this? We trusted you to take care of your brothers, and you KILLED Taruto!? Simply for disagreeing with your loyalty to a madman? Where was your loyalty to your family, Pai? Taruto is your little brother, and your father and I specifically told you to look after him, after we found that he stowed away on your ship! We trusted you, Taruto and Kisshu trusted you, and that's how you repaid us? And THEN you didn't even own up to your actions? Regardless of what Taruto said, ONE of you should have told me what happened! I should have heard this from one of YOU, NOT from Ichigo!"

The screaming brought Kisshu and a man who looked similar to Pai running, and Kisshu stopped dead as the man with him went to Yuki, and asked, "What happened?"

Yuki, who by that point was crying, buried her face in Hayako's shoulder, sobbing. Hayako hugged her and said gently, "Yuki, calm down. I need you to calm down and tell me what happened."

"I can't!" Yuki wailed, and started sobbing again.

Lettuce sighed slightly, and said to Ichigo softly, "Let's do the aura thing we came up with for Pudding."

Ichigo nodded and joined hands with Lettuce, then closed her eyes. Lettuce did the same, and the girls slowed their breathing down, then started taking deep breaths, in time with each other. They both began to glow a soft blue, and the glow flowed off them in ripples, enveloping both Yuki and Hayako. The others watched in amazement as Yuki's sobs slowed, then stopped. When she was calm again, Ichigo and Lettuce let go of each other and opened their eyes.

"What was that?" Kisshu asked.

"Lettuce and I talked after Pudding came to us with her nightmare problem, and we discovered that Lettuce has the power to calm people down with her aura, and so do I," Ichigo said. "It took me longer to learn, but we both got it down, and we use it when Pudding is too upset to listen to us. Usually we use it individually, but since Yuki was so upset, we thought it would be better to combine our powers- and that turned out to be a good idea, because that was harder than usual."

"We've never tried using that power on anyone besides Pudding, though, and since the three of us are basically bonded, it's much easier to do it with Pudding," Lettuce added.

"Thanks, girls," Hayako said. He looked at Yuki and asked, "Can you tell me what happened?"

"The girls were talking about the final battle, and Ichigo mentioned that Taruto died too," Yuki said. "The boys didn't tell me that, and I wanted to know why, and Taruto told me that Pai killed him, and they decided to hide it from us."

Hayako's expression went cold, and he said, "Pai, family room. NOW. Kisshu, Taruto, take the girls to the guest rooms and stay with them until we call for you."

Kisshu nodded, and as Yuki, Hayako, and Pai left, he said, "The guest rooms are upstairs, follow me."

The girls obeyed, and they came to a set of three rooms in a row. "Pai, Taruto, and I set up rooms specifically for the three of you; we were planning to go back to Earth later this month," Kisshu explained. He opened the first door, and they saw it was a pink room, with a canopy bed, a desk, a walk-in closet, and a large dresser. The window looked out at a garden, and Ichigo said, "Wow… this is amazing."

"Thanks, I designed it after all the time I spent in your tree," Kisshu said. "You can put your backpack in there, if you want."

Ichigo slipped the backpack off her shoulders, and set it next to the bed. Kisshu opened the door next to her room, and they saw a yellow room with a similar set-up to Ichigo's, except there was a box of toys in there too- mainly balls and things like hula hoops and jump ropes. "Taru-Taru, did you design this?" Pudding asked.

"Don't call me that! And yes, I designed it with some help from Mom," Taruto said.

Kisshu opened the third door, and they saw a green room with three bookshelves, a large desk stocked with paper and pencils, and a laptop on the desk. "Wow…" Lettuce said. "Did Pai do all this?"

"Yep, and he got you some books on our culture and history," Kisshu said. "There wasn't much plant life here before the Mew Aqua, so books about that aren't very common. And neither is fiction, unfortunately, which is why I hate reading. Humans actually thought of some good fiction books, but does anyone around here do that? Nope, never."

Lettuce set her backpack down and said, "This is really nice."

"Good," Kisshu said. "The next door down is a bathroom, and that's about it. The other side of the hall is Pai's room, my room, and Taruto's room, which is another thing that was arranged after we moved here."

Before the girls could respond, a woman in a maid's uniform teleported in, and said, "Kisshu-sama, you have a visitor."

"If it's Koshou, you can tell her that she's still not allowed within fifty feet of me," Kisshu said.

"It's not Koshou, it's Takeshi-san," the woman said.

"Fine…" Kisshu sighed. "Tell him I'll be down in a minute."

The woman bowed and teleported off. "Well, I guess we should go," Kisshu said.

The girls and Taruto followed him as Ichigo asked, "Who's Takeshi?"

"My second-in-command," Kisshu said. "I got appointed General of the Cyniclonian Army after healing the planet. I really hate it, but there's not much I can do about it right now."

They had reached the main hall, and found a man a little older than Kisshu standing there. "What happened this time, Takeshi?" Kisshu asked.

Takeshi appeared to be staring at Ichigo, and Kisshu waved a hand in front of his face. Takeshi snapped out of it, turning pink, and said, "Someone noticed the energy signatures of those three, and informed the Council. They told me to bring you to them so they could figure out what's going on. Are we bringing the girls?"

"Yes, but I'm teleporting Ichigo, because judging by the look on your face, you'd lose concentration the minute you touched her," Kisshu said.

Takeshi sighed and took Lettuce and Pudding, then teleported, followed by Kisshu with Ichigo.

They landed in front of a set of large, ornately carved wooden doors, and found a woman a little younger than Yuki standing in front of them. She sighed when she saw them, and said, "Kisshu, try not to get yourself executed, okay?"

"I KNOW, Kia," Kisshu said. He mumbled something along the lines of 'stupid geezers' as Kia let them in, then said to the girls, "Follow my lead." He walked to the center of the room, which was filled with Cyniclons, and went down on one knee, bowing his head. The girls and Takeshi copied him, and then a man with white hair and sharp blue eyes said, "Rise."

They got up, and the man said, "Kisshu, I assume there's an explanation for this?"

"Apparently these three missed us enough to come to Cyniclonia," Kisshu said. "And just so you know, if you make them go back, we're going too."

A woman on the Council sighed. "You have NO respect for us, do you?" she asked wearily.

"After what you put my father through? Not much," Kisshu said bluntly. "Not to mention you literally forced me to become General, and now everyone looks to ME every time something goes wrong. Not to mention my second-in-command is fifteen years older than me…."

"We get the picture, you hate us," the man who had spoken first said. "I assume these girls will be living with you now?"

"Yes," Kisshu said.

A man on the Council smirked and asked, "Have you popped the question yet? If not, do it soon; Takeshi is drooling."

Kisshu whipped around and glared at Takeshi, who started whistling innocently. "You can go home now, Takeshi," he said.

"But Yuki-san invited me over for dinner!" Takeshi complained.

"Then go freshen up beforehand," Kisshu said.

"Can't I watch?" Takeshi asked plaintively.

"You know, I think we all want to see this," the man who had just spoken said.

Kisshu promptly grabbed Ichigo and teleported. They landed in a beautiful clearing in a forest, with a small spring in the middle. "This is amazing," Ichigo said, looking at Kisshu.

Kisshu just smiled and took a box out of his pocket. Ichigo looked at him quizzically, and he went down on one knee, then opened the box and asked, "Momomiya Ichigo, will you do me the honor of marrying me?" Inside the box was a gold ring with a pink diamond on it.

Ichigo promptly tackled him, saying, "Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

Kisshu smiled happily and put the ring on her right ring finger. "You've made me very happy, Ichigo," he said.

"No more Koneko-chan?" Ichigo asked.

Kisshu smirked. "I knew you liked that," he said. Ichigo blushed, and Kisshu kissed her. She kissed back, and they both got lost in each other's touch.

Fifteen minutes of kissing later, Ichigo and Kisshu broke it off, and Kisshu said, "Damn, you're good."

"Thanks, so are you," Ichigo said. Her smiled faded when Takeshi teleported in, and said, "Um…. sorry to interrupt, but the Council wants you back."

"What for?" Kisshu asked.

"Beats me, but they called Hideki-sama in too," Takeshi said. "I've been ordered to bring you two back."

Kisshu sighed and teleported Ichigo back to the Council room, where they found Lettuce, Pudding, the Council, and a man with graying brown hair and brown eyes waiting. Kisshu bowed, and Ichigo copied him as the man asked, "I assume there's a reason you left, Kisshu?"

"Yes, I didn't want to propose to Ichigo in front of THEM," Kisshu said, gesturing to the Council. "I think that's something that should be allowed to be done without the geezers as an audience."

"You have a point; proposing to your girlfriend doesn't need to be a public affair," Hideki-sama said. "So, how'd it go?"

Kisshu held up Ichigo's right hand, showing everyone the ring. "Now you're going to let me off the hook, right?" Kisshu asked. "That was the deal we made; I would remain in the position of General until Ichigo agreed to marry me. If she never agreed to marry me, I would remain in that position indefinitely."

"I see no problem with that; I assume you have someone in mind to take your place?" Hideki-sama asked.

"Takeshi," Kisshu said. "I chose him as my second-in-command because he would be far better at my position."

"And what will you do next?" Hideki-sama asked.

"I'll remain in the army; I just won't be General anymore," Kisshu said. "Besides, since so far we haven't needed the army very much, I'll get to spend time with Ichigo and maybe start a family."

"Very well," Hideki-sama said. "I will arrange the ceremony to make Takeshi General, and as such, he can decide your position in the army."

Takeshi and Kisshu both bowed. "Thank you," they said together.

Hideki-sama smiled, and said, "You may go, and Kisshu, try not to refer to the Council members as geezers within their hearing; I get an earful later."

"I'm sorry," Kisshu said. "I'll try harder."

Hideki-sama nodded, and Kisshu led the others out.

"Still alive, I see," Kia said dryly as they came out.

"Zip it," Kisshu grumbled. "How was I supposed to know Yumemi-sama was sensitive about her liver spots? I was SIX YEARS OLD, for crying out loud!"

"You have a point, but you're not six anymore, and you still like antagonizing them," Kia said.

"Give me one good reason why I should respect the people who put my father through hell before he died, and me through hell after that, and I'll CONSIDER not antagonizing them anymore," Kisshu snarled.

"I just don't want to see you killed, especially now that you're engaged," Kia said softly. "And I did this to your dad too, you know. You're Higashi's son, and I promised your dad after the mutilation incident that I'd make sure you knew what to do when you went through those doors."

Kisshu sighed. "I know," he said softly. "It's just hard for me to be respectful; I could have had more time with Dad if they hadn't forced him onto the Council."

"Kisshu, would you like to hear a funny story about your mom?" Kia asked.

Kisshu perked up, and looked at Kia hopefully.

Kia smiled and said, "Our leader before Hideki-sama died right after Anzu discovered she was pregnant with you, and the Council had narrowed their choices for successor down to Hideki-sama and your dad. Your dad threatened to kill Koni-sama when he found out, and that got Koni-sama out of his hair. But Koni-sama got the idea that your mom could convince Higashi to take the position, and called her to the Council room. When she heard what he wanted, she went straight up to him, told him- and I quote- "There is not a chance in HELL of me helping you, you stupid old bat!"- and kicked him in the balls."

Kisshu started laughing as Kia continued, "She then proceeded to tell the entire Council that if Higashi was forced into being leader, she was going to not only make their lives a living hell, but she'd raise you to do the same. Koni-sama was in so much pain by that point that he told her he'd make Hideki-sama leader, and leave Higashi alone."

"Why was Dad on the Council after that, though?" Kisshu asked.

"They convinced Hideki-sama that he'd be a great choice for the Council," Kia said bitterly. "I think Hideki-sama still regrets that decision, and that's why he's so tolerant of you insulting the Council. And I think he doesn't like the Council much either, which is why he just laughs whenever you do something that would normally warrant some kind of punishment. I think he feels that he should honor your father's memory by letting you get away with insulting and belittling the Council; he knew about your father's hatred of them. Did you know that the reason your pranks went largely unpunished, even as you got older, was that Hideki-sama allowed them?"

"No, I didn't," Kisshu said.

"He'd let you prank the Council if he thought he could get away with it," Kia said.

Kisshu snickered, but then they heard from the Council room, "YOU DID WHAT!? GET THEM BACK NOW OR I'LL LET KISSHU KICK YOUR COLLECTIVE ASSES TO KINGDOM COME!"

"Jeez, what's going on in there?" Takeshi asked.

Kisshu peeked into the room and said, "Hideki-sama's beating Koni-sama to a pulp and the others are trying to sneak away."

Kia sighed. "I guess we'd better go stop them before Hideki-sama kills Koni-sama; last time this happened, it was because Koni-sama was attempting to put you on the Council and make you Hideki-sama's successor behind his back. Boy was Hideki-sama mad."

Kisshu sighed and went in, followed by Takeshi, Kia, and the girls. "Not that I mind you beating Koni-sama up, but what happened?" Kisshu asked Hideki-sama.

"Koni trapped Higashi and Anzu in another dimension, and unless he wants to die, he's going to get them back," Hideki-sama snapped.

"Wait….. Higashi and Anzu are alive?" Kia asked, shocked.

"Yes," Koni-sama said gloomily. "If Hideki-sama would get off of me, I can get them back."

Hideki-sama got off of him, and Koni-sama concentrated as he made a complex hand sign. A portal opened up a minute later, and two Cyniclons fell out of it. One of them, a man, had black hair styled like Kisshu's, and golden eyes. He was the first to get up, and he noticed Koni-sama, then kicked the older man into a wall before helping his wife up. She had long green hair pulled into a braid that reached her knees, and chocolate brown eyes. She looked around as Higashi helped her up, and asked nervously, "Where are we?"

"You're in the Council room," Hideki-sama said. "And I'm about to kill the Council."

"How long have we been gone?" the man asked.

"Twelve years," Kisshu said gloomily.

His parents turned quickly as they heard his voice, and Anzu asked softly, "Kish?"

"That's me," Kisshu said gloomily.

Anzu came over, and hugged Kisshu tightly. He stiffened slightly, then relaxed, burying his face in her shoulder. Higashi came over too, hugging them both. Kia went over to Takeshi, and said softly, "Let's teleport the girls back to Yuki's place; I suppose I should be the one to inform them of what happened."

"Okay," Takeshi said. He took Lettuce and Pudding and teleported, and Kia followed with Ichigo. They landed in the main hallway, and Taruto met them. "What happened? Where's Kisshu?" he asked.

"This is something your parents should hear too, can you inform them?" Kia asked.

"Sure," Taruto said, and teleported off. He returned with Yuki and Hayako, both of whom looked worried.

"Kia, did something happen with the Council?" Yuki asked.

"Koni apparently decided that he'd seal Anzu and Higashi in a different dimension, and make us all think they were killed in the rockslide," Kia said grimly. "Hideki-sama is currently beating him up. I'm not sure if he had help or not, but I'm guessing the entire Council was in on it. Hideki-sama didn't know until today; apparently someone let it slip, and we heard him shouting, so we went back in and found him beating Koni into a bloody pulp. We stopped him long enough to get Koni to bring Higashi and Anzu back, but I get the feeling Koni's days are numbered, if not over."

"They're alive?" Yuki whispered.

"Yes," Kia said. "It's ironic, though; I was just telling Kisshu that story about Anzu kicking Koni in the balls when she was pregnant with him when we heard the shouting. I should get back before it turns into a bloodbath; will you excuse me?"

"Of course, but tell them we want to see them soon," Hayako said.

"Will do," Kia said, and teleported out. The others settled down to wait.

About fifteen minutes later, Kia teleported back in with Higashi and Anzu. Higashi was carrying Kisshu, who appeared to be asleep. "What happened?" Ichigo asked worriedly.

"Kish fell asleep; he's emotionally exhausted," Anzu said softly. "Where's his room?"

"I'll show you," Hayako said. "It's good to have you both back."

"Thanks," Higashi said. "It's good to be back."

Hayako smiled and led them to Kisshu's room. Lettuce noticed Ichigo wasn't following them, and asked, "Aren't you going with them?"

"Do you think I should?" Ichigo asked. "I figured Kisshu would want time with his parents."

"I guess you're right," Lettuce said. "Would you like to go back to your room? I'll keep you company."

"Okay," Ichigo said quietly. "Thanks, Lettuce."

Lettuce smiled, and they went back to Ichigo's room. Lettuce closed the door behind them, and asked, "What's bugging you?"

Ichigo sighed and sat on the bed, followed by Lettuce. "I guess I started thinking about my parents again," she said softly. "Seeing Kisshu's parents come back reminded me that while I still have parents, they don't love me the way Anzu and Higashi love Kisshu. You know what it was like after they abandoned me, and I've tried to forget them and the pain and betrayal I felt when that happened. I guess seeing Kisshu's parents come back reminded me that I'll never see my parents come back, even if I was still living on Earth." A tear slipped down Ichigo's cheek, and Lettuce hugged her.

"Have you told Kisshu about this yet?" Lettuce asked gently, as Ichigo buried her face in Lettuce's shoulder.

"No…. I didn't get the chance to," Ichigo said. "I don't want to ruin his happiness, though."

"Ichigo, I think you need to tell him," Lettuce said. "You shouldn't keep secrets from each other, especially now that you're engaged to be married to him. And I think he'd want to know. He's always truly cared about you; don't you think he deserves to know what you've been through? He can help you; please don't shut him out."

"I don't want him to see me as weak, though…" Ichigo said sadly.

"Sharing your feelings and problems doesn't make you weak," Lettuce said. "And even if it did, I don't think Kisshu would mind. He died for you; I think that proves he loves you unconditionally. If you love him the same way, you should tell him what you've gone through. I'm sure he'll understand; he can't have had it easy either."

"I guess you're right," Ichigo said, drying her eyes.

"When am I NOT right?" Lettuce asked, smirking.

Ichigo giggled and said, "Never; you always seem to be right. Thanks, Lettuce."

"Sure, Ichigo," Lettuce said.

They heard a knock on the door, and Ichigo called, "Come in."

The door opened, and Kisshu came in. "Koneko-chan, are you okay?" he asked.

"Sort of," Ichigo said. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I was just tired," Kisshu said. "Do you want to talk about whatever made you cry?"

"Yeah…." Ichigo said.

Kisshu came in and sat next to Ichigo. Lettuce left, closing the door behind her as Kisshu asked, "So what happened?"

Ichigo sighed. "About a month after the battle ended, my parents abandoned me," she said softly. "I think they figured out my secret, and decided they'd rather not live with me. They still sent me money and paid the bills for the house, but they went to live somewhere else. I'm guessing they also got tired of me waking up screaming every night I wasn't sleeping over at Pudding's."

"You have nightmares?" Kisshu asked.

"Yeah," Ichigo said sadly. "Every night, and it just got worse after my parents left. It's the same thing every time. You're fighting Deep Blue, and he stabs you, then throws you off his sword, and I'm left holding you as you're dying. It's basically the final battle replaying in my mind every night. That was the absolute worst moment of my life; worse than when I found out Aoyama was Deep Blue, and worse than when my parents abandoned me. It was worse than ANYTHING I've ever experienced, and I'm still cursing myself for not kissing you then, and not giving my life for yours; I didn't have to save Aoyama; he didn't deserve it nearly as much as you did, but I was too selfish to see that. And by the time I realized my mistake, you were gone. It was my idea to come here; Pudding has the same nightmare problem I do, and she was wondering if Taruto was really okay. I was wondering the same thing about you, since you hadn't come back for four years."

"What happened with Tree-Freak, anyways?" Kisshu asked.

"We mutually agreed that it wasn't going to work out, and soon after that, he moved to England for school," Ichigo said. "It was really for the best, since I discovered that I was in love with you, and he wanted to move to England for more schooling. We both knew a long-distance relationship would be hard on both of us, even if we both still felt the same."

"I'm sorry for not coming back sooner," Kisshu said, hugging Ichigo tightly.

"I don't blame you," Ichigo said softly. "I wouldn't blame you if you never came back; I was horrible to you the whole time you were on Earth. I'm glad you love me."

"I'm glad you love ME," Kisshu said. "It's a dream come true for me."

Ichigo smiled. "I'm glad I can make you happy," she said. "We can be together forever now, right?"

"Right," Kisshu said happily, and kissed her.

Nice long one-shot for you there. I hope you enjoyed it, and please review on your way out!