A boy of about seven stood in a room full of people. The two coffins before him were empty; the bodies had never been found. His parents had been attacked while at sea and Sin had taken the whole boat down. He wouldn't cry though. When he had first found out, he cried. But now he wouldn't. He was a big boy now. He was on his own. He had no other family; it was time to grow up.

His train of thought was interrupted when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning, he saw a young girl close to his age looking curiously at him. Her blond hair was up in cute pigtails, and she wore dark overalls which made her look like a very tiny mechanic.

"Hiya. Ummm, did you know them?" The boy nodded a little.

"Y-Yes… T-They were my parents," he sniffled, trying not to cry. The girl's eyes widened before she jumped forward and hugged him tightly. He gasped and tried to pull back.

"H-Hey! What're you doing?"

"I'm really sorry… I lost my momma like that too," she said quietly. He stilled and looked at the girl hugging him, before slowly hugging back.

"I'm sorry too…" She looked up at him and smiled weakly.

"Daddy told me to remember the people we lose, but to honor them by living for them too. 'Memories are nice, but that's all they are,' that's what he says."

The boy frowned a little and thought to himself. He loved his mommy and daddy; and they had loved him. But if he spend his whole life mad at Sin over them… they'd both be really sad. He bravely smiled back at the girl just a little, nodding some.

"Yeah, I think you're right…" She smiled more back and nodded, before suddenly grabbing his arm and pulling him toward the exit.

"Of course I am! Now come on, let's do something fun so you'll feel better!"

"H-Hey, wait! I don't even know your name yet," the boy protested as he was dragged from the room. Their voices slowly faded in the ears of the transparent green haired man standing near the back of the room. He grinned and sheathed the sword he carried, propping it in the corner. The blade slowly became more solid as the man faded away.

"You made the right choice, child... Goodbye... for now..."

wow. i honestly can't believe it's finished. nearly 4 years in the making, with breaks of 6 or 7 months, and then one of 2 1/2 years. i know for a long time i never thought it would get done, either writer's block or some awful life event kept me from being inspired. it's odd to look back at the first chapters of this piece, from the summer before my junior year in high school. the writing style, tone, vocabulary, even the author's notes... so much has changed, and it's quite humbling in a way. i have new respect for writers who crank out stories several hundred thousand words long, or authors who do around 7 of them to re-write harry potter. i think i'll be reviewing more too, after realizing how good it feels to get them.

speaking of which, i want to thank everyone who reviewed this story. your comments helped me along the way, both in motivation and in inspiration. the 30 seconds to type a short comment can make a writer's whole day a thousand times better. i want to thank any of my former reviewers and readers who came back to this after my long hiatus. i've gotten no reviews from the old crowd, but if you came back to read how this ended, thank you. as of now this story has over 6,000 hits, which is barely anything for some people but a huge something to me. if you're one of those hits, thank you.

i once had a sequel planned, but that seems rather unlikely now. Hopefully Arek will live a happy life with his second chance, even if he crosses paths with Yamata again someday and learns to fight again. i'd like to think he'll settle down and see to some of those machina he was so good with as a toddler.

if you're interested, take a look at my other stories. some are old, but i'm into writing for Bleach now and i'm updating regularly there. see you all around!