Liner notes: Alright, the last BLEACH story in this continuity (maybe, if I change my mind). This will be by far the darkest, most violent, and possibly erotic story of the bunch. However, this will be edited to suit the site, so I believe people will know where to find the unedited version of this. Anything about Issou and Setsu will be answered, so watch as this record rolls. The main story is set five years after "Shiki no Uta" while the prologue is an unknown amount of time after the main story. I will also do epilogues for other people in Bleach (Tatsuki, Chad, etc.).

Summary: Despite his duties and his creeds, there's nothing Ichigo would love better than to be with his wife, Orihime. However, it seems Ichigo will now have to decide between what's right and what's wrong.

XXXXX

Why is it that the saddest things

Are sometimes the most beautiful?

-Kurosaki Orihime

0: Memories in the Rain: Dyed Earth Jass

It was raining again. There had been a drought for about ten days with blazing heat and humidity intense enough to make it feel like the tropics. However, that soon gave way to a thunderstorm like that thrown by the gods, making a torrential downpour for the past three days. As such, everyone was miserable from the atmosphere being the way it was, especially those of the Kurosaki family.

Orihime sighed as she drank her tea, listening to the infinite number of droplets outside. She had put Gozuki to bed about an hour ago and was now just writing a few reports she had to catch up on. Starting a family had taken up a lot of her time and she was usually multi-tasking nowadays, though she didn't regret it one bit.

The clock had struck ten some time ago, though Orihime supposed by now that it wasn't surprising for Ichigo to be out so late. Captains had some of the most mind-bogglingly random schedules Orihime had ever seen. One time she swore that they had a meeting for three days straight (though Head Captain Kyouraku having drinking breaks didn't help at all). As such, she'd gotten used to Ichigo being in and out at odd times.

It was a bit hectic, but Orihime didn't get lonely that quickly. Besides, there was someone else in their lives besides each other now. It was nice, having a family.

"Mama."

Orihime perked up, seeing a little brown-haired boy in the doorway to her room. Clad in his pajamas, the little boy was rubbing sleepiness out of his eyes with his small hands.

"Gocchan, you should be in bed." Orihime chided "Is something wrong?"

"I can't sleep; the rain is loud.

Orihime sighed, seeing that Gozuki had acquired something from Ichigo besides his eyes. The woman put her pen down and walked over to her son to pick him up and take him to his room. The little boy put his small arms around his mother's neck, half drowsy. Orihime just smiled and held him tightly.

"Papa isn't back?"

"No, not yet, honey."

"Papa is always late." Gozuki pouted.

"I know, honey, I know."

Ichigo was often away from Gozuki due to his work. Often times the boy was asleep before his father was able to be home. Ichigo tried as best he could, but he had his duties.

Orihime slid open the shouji into Gozuki's room and set him on his futon. The boy unwillingly let go of his mother and let her cover him. Gozuki snuggled into his blankets and looked into Orihime's brown eyes.

"Mama…" the little boy said.

"What, Gocchan?"

"Tell me a story, I'm not sleepy."

Orihime lied on her side on the futon, running her slender fingers through Gozuki's soft hair. Orihime knew many stories. She knew stories about dragons and knights; ones about gods and goddesses; and even bizarre ones she made up herself. However, she'd told her son all of those before and didn't like telling them again. She did have that though.

"Alright, let me tell you one about your papa."

"Papa? A story about him?" Gozuki raised his little eyebrows.

"Mm-hm, one about him and friend of his."

"Is it Ren-jitan?"

"Mm-mm." Orihime shook her head.

"Ken-jiji."

Again Orihime shook her head.

"What about Ruki-neetan?"

"Mm-mm, one that was gone before you were even born. Papa and he fought a long time ago."

Gozuki's big brown eyes blinked in intrigue, a little confused. Then again, a boy of such a young age could be confused rather effortlessly. Orihime just kept scratching the child's head and waited.

"Did Papa hate him?"

"No, in fact he liked him very much. They were two of a kind."

"Then why did they fight?"

Orihime's eyes would have looked sullen if she wasn't around Gozuki. The memories of back then were still vivid, still fresh. Those days…those days were so messed up, so confusing. But ultimately, she knew why that happened.

"Well, let me tell you."

XXXXX

Warmth from another

Always makes it colder when they're gone

-Munashii Issou & Kurosaki Ichigo

1: Painful Passion Blues

Orihime tucked her hair behind her ear as she wrote down the paperwork for a few more patients that had come in that day. It was nothing serious, just a few injuries from Hollow hunts. She hummed and went back to drinking her tea.

"Tired, Orihime?"

The auburn-haired woman observed her superior, Vice Captain Kotetsu, who was filing away a few sheets. Her braids were hanging down as she did so. Orihime rubbed her eyes and yawned.

"It's not that late. Besides, Ichigo said he has a meeting tonight anyway, so he won't be home until late tonight."

"Is that so?"

"Hmm."

Orihime took her pen again and wrote on the standard report. There were about ten injuries today, the worst being a deep gash along a man's abdomen. Still, nothing was life-threatening. She'd seen worse during her time in the Fourth Division.

"Don't you get a little lonely sometimes?" Isane asked.

"No, not really, it makes the time we share a lot more important."

Isane smirked and raised an eyebrow at her subordinate's personality. She'd known her for about six years and she was still a bit unpredictable. Most women would get into huge fights with their husbands over so little time, but Orihime kept a positive attitude about it. She's been married to the hot-headed Thirteenth Division captain for four years and still she thought like a newlywed.

Orihime filed away another report, putting it into the proper stack and yawned again. She saw that the clock was reaching ten rather swiftly; had the time really flown that fast? She stretched and stood up, groaning as she did.

"Orihime, just go home already," Isane chided "you're tired and there's no rush to do paperwork."

"Alright, alright, I'll go home already."

Orihime retrieved her sword and stuck it though her sash. Isane just smirked as usual at the younger woman. The latter wrapped a scarf around her neck and went out into the autumn chill.

"Good night, Isane-san!"

"Good night."

Orihime walked down the street, her breath visible due to the cold. It was an especially cold autumn this year for some reason. However, she liked it somewhat because Ichigo always had a tendency to hold her extra tight when it was especially cold.

Ichigo, her husband of four years and her infatuation of many years longer. She blushed at how he treated her like her namesake. He held her like a delicate flower and nurtured her as sweetly and gently as he could, though Orihime wouldn't expect anything less of him. It was a bit suffocating at times, but she supposed Ichigo was making up for time that could have been.

Orihime sped up, wanting to be in Ichigo's arms soon.

XXXXX

Elsewhere in Soul Society, someone knocked down a few boards that were sealing an old cave. The wood clattered against the ground, but not before being in air for a few seconds.

"Damn, someone wanted to lock this place up."

"Indeed."

A tall pair, an effeminate man with an emerald mane and a woman with a bob of cobalt, began climbing down the ladder into a huge, underground chamber. The man touched the ground first and observed the place.

"Whaddya think keeps this place lit?" the woman asked.

"I don't know, though I doubt it matters."

The man ran his fingers through the long, green hair going to his knee. The chamber was wide and tall, about a thousand meters of the former and a hundred of the latter. The man knelt in front of a hot spring steaming profusely.

"This place will do."

"Great, and you just had to forget that doll, Icchan."

"I'll get it in a moment."

Issou just retained his bored look and eyed the chamber again. It was very barren and featureless, except for the hot spring. Issou drew his sword, swinging it randomly.

"Well, are you sure about this?" he asked.

"Yes, I've trained for five years so my reiatsu should be sufficient enough. God, how high must I get?"

"Tonight is to be a warm-up for the training, so don't expect me to go easy on you."

Setsu smirked and threw her hat to who-knows-where. Her jacket soon followed, sliding off her long, slender arms. Her swords were drawn, ready to take Issou on.

Confident, prepared, and…very stupid is what the emerald-haired youth thought of his partner. Issou's face hadn't changed expression as he walked towards Setsu, not going into any particular stance. His steps were slow, methodical, and freakishly calm. Even Setsu had to admit he was scary.

Issou shouldered his sword, still calmly keeping stride as Setsu kept her rigid, nittou-ryuu stance. Issou seemed frightening for some reason, though it was a reason only Setsu knew.

It then seemed that Issou vanished, his form going to the winds. Setsu went automatically into action, moving her defense to her back and blocking Issou's strike at her spine. While her sword occupied Issou's, she moved her other one to strike but it was parried by something. What exactly it was would not have been seen by anyone else. Then again even Setsu couldn't say she saw it.

The woman backed away from Issou, her stance still offensive. Issou was as calm as ever for some reason, his composure never shaking. Those eyes of his were just as intense and firm as ever.

Issou stepped forward, launching off his left foot and clearing the distance with shunpou. Setsu knew he was coming from behind to catch her off guard and thus adjusted her guard. However, the blow came from her side, making her knees buckle due to the impact and then a sword blade was at her throat.

Setsu swallowed and then looked up the length of the blade to meet Issou's cold, silver eyes. No mercy, even when just sparring or training as one would expect of him. The cold metal tickled her jugular, threatening to pierce it. If this were an actual battle, Setsu's throat would have been run through just now.

However, the sword lowered from the girl's throat and its tip settled to the ground, scraping along the rock and dirt. Issou sighed, wondering if Setsu would actually survive these next three days. Then again, it's not like the girl wouldn't fight until her bones were shattered to survive this.

Setsu rose from the position she was in with Issou's blade at her. She rubbed the place where there could have been a hole at her throat if Issou slipped. She was lucky Issou was kinder than he looked, otherwise she'd be dead. However, she wished he wasn't like that at times.

Issou turned, his emerald hair flying with his head as he did so. He slid his zanpakutou along the ground again, making a half-circle.

"Well, are you actually going to fight level with me or must we dance further?" he questioned.

Setsu twirled one of her swords on the ring decoration on the handle, supposedly showing off. However, her stance changed, blades crossing with the tips pointing at the ground.

"…Well, it's been awhile since I've seen this."

XXXXX

Orihime removed her scarf as she entered her home, finally getting into the warmth. However, no one was home that she could see. All the lights were off and not a sound went through the house.

Orihime pouted, perhaps a bit vexed that the captains had meetings at such random and time-consuming points. Oh well, it wasn't like Ichigo could just skip on his duties whenever he didn't feel like going. As such, it still made Orihime feel anxious whenever she came to an empty house.

Orihime removed Rokurenge from her sash, setting it on its stand in the living room. She looked around for matches to light the candles so the place wasn't so dark. Orihime swore things became a lot quieter when it was dark. The blackness just swirled everywhere and seemed to kill noise altogether.

As such, the silence frightened Orihime at times. Everything so quiet that it seemed dead was something that Orihime wasn't able to stand ever since she got married. Any sort of silence bothered her when she was at home, especially when Ichigo wasn't around.

However, the sound of the front door sliding open caught her attention.

"I'm home".

Orihime smiled at the sound Ichigo's gruff voice and his boots coming off. Instead of looking for things to light the candles with, she decided to go to the door and greet her husband.

Ichigo groaned as he pulled off the slim-fitting boots he wore. Lord, did Kyouraku have to rattle on for five hours about how a friggin' storage building got broken into? It wasn't like anything important or dangerous was taken, so what was the big deal? Ichigo swore that the shinigami worried far too much for their own good.

Ichigo then felt a pair of slender arms entwine around his shoulders and a gentle warmth cascade on his back.

"Wel-come ho-me."

Ichigo turned his head to see Orihime resting her own on his shoulder. The auburn-haired woman grinned and leaned in close to him.

"So, was the meeting fun?" she asked.

"I swear, I think I'll grab Kenpachi and then break Shunsui's head with him when that frickin' drunk starts yacking his head off."

"Heh-heh, Kyouraku-san is so fun."

Ichigo sighed at Orihime's upbeat attitude. It seemed she always interpreted what he said the exact opposite way. When he whined about work, she just smiled and said how many people in the squad were energetic. Yin and yang is what most people would think about their conversations (himself included) though that's just how Orihime was.

Ichigo looked to Orihime, his hand straying to her auburn mane.

"You weren't lonely, were you?" asking of Orihime.

"Mm-mm," Orihime shook her head "I just got here a minute ago."

"…'Zat so?"

"Oh dear, I should go light the candles."

When Orihime let go of Ichigo, he merely just tugged her down, keeping her from rising.

"Ichigo…?"

"Just…just come here."

Ichigo tugged on Orihime, keeping her close. He drew her in closer, Orihime's hair veiling them both.

XXXXX

Setsu felt the cold earth her back and the heat of sweat on her front. Her chest rose and fell as she took exhausted, ragged breaths. Her zanpakutou were on the ground and she couldn't find the strength to pick them up.

"So, do you give up?" asked a smoking Issou who was sitting on a rock.

"I…can't…move."

"I'll take that as a yes then."

Setsu groaned at Issou's comment, though quickly disregarded it as the effeminate man picked her up. Setsu blushed, despite her familiarity with Issou.

"You should take a bath to relax those muscles of yours. Honestly, you were about to pull something." Issou chided oddly.

"What are you, my mother?"

"The answer is obvious."

XXXXX

Legs entangled, fingers intertwined, it was something that happened all the time. It always happened with Orihime on top of Ichigo, her slender fingers laced with his and a gentle squeeze binding them. Orihime sighed contently against Ichigo's whipcord chest and nuzzled against him.

"Heh, it always ends up like this, ne?" she purred.

"…Yeah, it does."

Newlyweds was indeed the term to describe them (even if that had actually been years ago). They'd often be like this at odd times; one moment they were merely talking in their home and the very next their clothes had seemingly burst and writhed on the floor lovingly. However, that was far from a bad thing.

Orihime propped herself up on her elbows, the sheets on top of her sliding a bit to reveal some of her nude form.

"Ichigo…"

"Hm? What is it, Orihime?"

The woman ran her slender digits across Ichigo's orange shock of hair delicately. She smiled and drew closer, kissing him gently.

"You…don't really have to do this every time."

"Heh, I guess I'm really a selfish bastard in the end for getting satisfied."

As expected, Orihime giggled like a girl

XXXXX

Issou sat against a rock as Setsu bathed. The girl had been so worn out from training that she requested she undo the ties on her clothes just so she could remove them. He did so as requested, but retreated lest he incur Setsu's wrath; the woman could get frightening when she was angry.

Issou sighed as the smoke from his pipe trailed upward like a snake up a tree. Setsu could definitely do this training within the time limit, though "could" was the key word there. Perhaps he should try to make her reconsider. Despite how hard Setsu had worked to improve herself these past five years, success was not guaranteed.

"Having doubts?"

Issou's moon-like eyes glanced to his left, seeing a tall, slender male figure clad in white leaning against a dead tree. The man had long, thick white hair tied back into a high ponytail and one of his eyes was covered with an eye patch; the other was an intense green.

"Oh, Kyoutaiyou," Issou said as smoke billowed from his teeth "that's the form you've chosen this time?"

"I got bored with my old one; extremely scarred and towering grows tiring after awhile."

"Your interest changes more than a child's."

"Che, as opposed to you whose interests never change."

Issou merely stared into space as Kyoutaiyou kept talking. As always, Issou was seemingly stoic.

The sword-spirit looked out of his single eye at the spring which Setsu was bathing in. He could hear her content sighs and her relaxed groans.

"What do you think?" Issou asked.

"About Setsu training for Ban Kai?"

The emerald-haired man lowered his head as a nod. Kyoutaiyou pondered, stroking his delicate chin.

"I would say she has the potential," Kyoutaiyou commented "though I can't exactly say it's for certain she'll succeed. After all, Tatsukuchi is just as powerful as I."

"Is that a bit of ego?" Issou's brow rose quizzically."

Kyoutaiyou smirked at the thought "Aren't I allowed?"

Smoke trailed from Issou's pipe once more, curling to the ceiling of the chamber. The ashen smoke drifted lazily like a cloud amongst the sky. Traveling over rocks and trees, Issou watched it for a good minute.

Setsu…he shouldn't have dragged her into this mess. It was more his battle than anything; it wasn't at though she had anything to do with it. Blast, why'd he have to let his mouth move before his brain?

"Y'know, you get a helluva funny face when you're thinking hard."

Setsu stood next to Issou, the top half of her shihakushou covering all but her long, slender legs. Unsurprisingly she was soaked, but one would usually fluster upong seeing a half-naked woman's legs as well as an abundant amount of cleavage. Appropriately, Issou turned his head away for modesty. Kyoutaiyou had conveniently vanished the moment he saw the Amazonian woman.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Setsu put her hands on her hips, feeling a bit annoyed.

"You've no pants on, nor did you even properly put that top half on."

"Pfft; you've seen me nearly naked so why are you blushing now?"

"I still looked away in the end."

Setsu pouted and sat on the rock Issou was resting against. She looked at the ceiling of the chamber; the crappily painted clouds and sky were depressing. The trees and the barren atmosphere didn't help either.

"Hey, Icchan."

"What?"

"If…if I don't succeed, bury me back home."

Issou's eyes widened a bit and his pipe drooped from his lip. Setsu kept her head high and smiled a bit, but he could still see that look in her eyes. She smirked, glancing at Issou from the corner of her eye. Her violet orb bored into him instantly.

"C'mon, I promised you if that ever happened." Favors, how Issou now regretted them.

Issou grunted, lowering his eyelids a bit "Alright, I will."

Warmth next to him, with a dampness of freshly cleansed hair came as Setsu sat. Setsu snuggled contently against Issou, her smirk becoming a bit of a smile now. Her head now rested in the crook of Issou's neck.

"Icchan…"

"What is it?"

"You remember…when we used to do this back home?"

Issou's silver eyes perhaps flickered something deeper for a second. His lids lowered, long lashes framing his eyes. He looked at the damp girl, her eyes closing probably from exhaustion more than anything. Issou sighed, pipe smoke curling upward once again. The water on Setsu was now cold from being out of the spring for several minutes. However….

"Che, nostalgic…" But at the moment, Issou very much liked her warm body.

XXXXX

Liner Notes: Egad, this is one of the roughest chapters I've done in awhile. Then again, it doesn't help when I work on and off it for about two months and procrastinate. Hopefully next chapter is better (I think I mostly had trouble because I had to set things up). Anyway, here are Ichigo's stats and data for the story.

Name: Kurosaki Ichigo
Birthday: July 15th
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 71kg
Hair: Orange
Eyes: Brown
Birthplace: Karakura Town, Tokyo
Squad: 13th
Rank: Captain
Discipline:

· Zanjutsu (main): Master

· Hakuda: 2nd dan (brawler)

· Hohou (secondary): 3rd dan

· Kidou: none

Zanpakutou:

· Name: Zangetsu (Slicing Moon)

· Appearance: A huge sword with neither a hilt nor handle. Resembles a flaying knife

· Avatar: A middle-aged man with clear sunglasses and an anamorphic coat

· Inner world: A sideways modern-era town

· Shikai:

o Command: None, permanently in shikai

· Ability: Offensive reiatsu manipulation based on the phases of the moon

o Getsuga Tenshou (Moon Fang Striking the Sky): An extended slash representing the crescent moon (engetsu). Ichigo has actually gained such proficiency with this ability that he has created variations of it, which is considered absolute genius

§ Taihou (cannon): The most basic and powerful form where it's just a huge slash.

§ Danganhiu (bombardment): The attack willingly splits and creates many, smaller crescent blades to encompass a wide area. Each blade is much weaker than the Hou in terms of power, but almost guarantees a hit.

§ Bikou (tail): A Getsuga with a homing property that will follow its target. Very useful, but expensive in terms of reiatsu.

§ Amenonuhoko (heavenly spear): A piercing attack that concentrates all power at a single point. Fast moving, but basically an all or nothing move

o Getsurin Mamorukimi (Moon Scale Protecting the Flesh): A barrier that protects Ichigo (and anyone he desires) from head-on attacks and represents the half-moon (chuugetsu)

o Getsuzume Keikai (Moon Claw Lighting the World): An explosion of energy that destroys nearly anything in the vicinity. It's initialized by Ichigo twirling Zangetsu by its cloth and represents the full moon (mangetsu)

· Ban Kai:

o Name: Tensa Zangetsu (Heaven-Chain Slicing the Moon)

· Appearance: A formal, jet-black nodachi with a manji hilt and a chain decoration. Ichigo also gains a black, red inner-lined coat

· Ability: Is super speed at the initial move, but can actually manipulate time for extremely short bursts. Represents the new moon (shingetsu).

Likes:

· Chocolate

· Spicy food

· Music

· William Shakespeare

· Al Pacino

· Mike Ness

· His wife

· Tight clothes

Dislikes:

· Being bugged about his hair

· Rain

· Disappointing his wife

Miscellaneous:

· From the human world

· Is heavily hybridized. Mother was a human, father a Shinigami and is also a Visored (half-Shinigami, half-Hollow)

· Has been 13th Division captain for fifteen years

Bio: Ichigo has never been happier in his life. He's found something he can do whole-heartedly and he has a wife who loves him. His reiatsu is said to surpass even that of General Kyouraku when he uses his unleashed form. Despite his appearance, he's kinder than he appears.
Theme Song: "News from the Front" by Bad Religion. Recorded in "Stranger than Fiction"
Paint it Black Theme Song: "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. Recorded in "Urban Hymns"