Sequel to Memories Fade Away
Thank you to mortalone for the editing and input into the story…
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, Bleach: Memories of Nobody or copyrights to any Bobby Valentino songs, and I am in no way making profit from this.
'For a minute it was looking like…'
His eyes opened. Everything was cold, silent and vague. Half conscious, he stared about, brown irises taking in blurry surroundings. Somewhere above him he heard the shouts of his name. The water around him thrashed and his head surfaced. His clothes were soaked, hanging heavily off his thin frame. Lungs pounding and mouth greedily sucking in air he stared at the open door. In the doorway, his father stood frozen, slack jawed at the sight of his son.
He had tried to drown himself again.
'I'd end up one of those guys spending my whole life…'
He glanced around warily and pulled his soaking wet body out of the tub, arms shaking weakly as they struggled to support his frame. His feet touched solid ground, cushioned softly by the carpet that lay underneath him.
His father shifted, stepping toward him, a comforting hand reaching out to his shoulder. It didn't help. He stepped passed the older man, wet clothes flopping awkwardly behind him and exited the bathroom. His sisters stood there, faces filled with worry, tears in their eyes.
'Looking for a special lady to save me…'
He turned his head, not wanting to see the fear in their eyes, not wanting for them to see him weak. But it was too late. He would be a fool if he thought they didn't see it, the dead, haunted look that filled his face every waking moment of the day.
That was his sister, Yuzu, calling. He ignored it, a throbbing pain slowly ebbing it's way into his chest. Edging past them he stepped down the stairs, his walk lacking the usual swagger of his demeanor, the usual bounce. His bare feet made low thumping noises as they stepped lifelessly down toward the living room.
'Maybe I'll never be satisfied…'
The light of the sun lanced through the open windows. He squinted, his bloodshot eyes unaccustomed to the drastic brightness. His feet dragged on the carpet of the house as they neared the door. A shaking hand slipped onto the desk near him, clenching tightly on the dark black sunglasses there. He grasped the doorknob as his pale hand jammed the sunglasses over his stinging eyes. Door wrenched open he stepped into the light of the outside world. Shoes slipped on, he stumbled his way onto the pavement, regardless of the state of his clothes.
'Had a couple bad looks and a couple dimes…'
He heard footsteps on the stairs but he paid them no mind. He closed the door behind him with a click and disappeared down the street.
Isshin Kurosaki stepped down the stairs, his head bent at an angle. He could still hear the sobs of his daughters upstairs.'Why Ichigo?'
It had been this way for more than a month, coming close to two. He heard the door close, signaling Ichigo's departure and he collapsed onto the couch, burying his face in his hands. Things were spiraling out of control and he didn't know how to fix it.
It hadn't even been this bad when his wife died and he had assumed that Ichigo would get over whatever was bothering him in a week or so, but things had failed to play out as he expected them to. The school year had ended with a barely wordless Ichigo departing every day, gone to meet with upperclassmen. And every night he came home with the smell of booze and weed stained into his clothing. He had been surprised by the sudden change in his son's attitude, chastising and berating him for his actions. But soon those actions and his previous words hade faded away into hazy memory and he thought no more of it, contributing his son's mood change to teen-age hormones.
Days later he had walked into his son's room, only to find the sharp, blood stained edge of a razor and his sons crimsoned covered body. Thank god he was a doctor. Ichigo had tried to slit his own throat and he had missed, if only by a few millimeters. Quick on the spot care and an ambulance later, Ichigo was in the hospital for two weeks.
And that would have been good, had he not tried to kill himself by jumping out of the fifteenth floor. The quick hand of Uryu Ishida, the son of the Hospital Chief Ryuken Ishida a long time friend, had been the only thing preventing Ichigo's death.
He couldn't figure out what was wrong with his son and nobody was bothering to fill him in. He had a slight suspicion that Urahara knew something, but he couldn't get the insufferable ex-shinigami to tell him jack.
Since being released from the hospital, suicide attempts by Ichigo had been a common occurrence, happening perhaps every week. Therapy had been recommended and assigned to the teen, but he had simply brushed it off, not bothering to show up for counseling sessions. And since the young teen was not in school, his disappearances from the house increased rapidly. But no one was around to keep track of him and none of his friends had seemed worried in the least. Perhaps they also thought that this was some bout of teen drama. Or perhaps they were in on it too. Whatever it was, he knew they weren't overly concerned. He had luck on his side though, at least for now.
So far those suicide attempts had been prevented by the quick thinking of random people, friends and family, but Isshin knew that wit and luck was soon to run out. His son was slowly killing himself, submitting to whatever memories or events haunted him. Succumbing to the demons that threatened to eat him whole. He hated this situation. He felt…helpless, and if Ichigo died, there would another death on his conscious, another death that he could have prevented.
A death that would be his fault.
He grimaced. These were the times he wished he hadn't stopped smoking. But he had made a vow, a vow to his children when the first was born.
He could not let this stand. He had failed as a father. And why? Because he did not want to smother Ichigo? Because as a fruity goofball he could protect Ichigo from his own past? He made a vow to Masaki and now it looked like it was time to make a new one. It was time for him to remedy his failures. He slid his worn and rough hands from his face, his mouth folding into a sad smile.
After all, what would Masaki say?
He got off the couch and strode purposely towards the door. He stopped only to grab his jacket. He had a son to find.
"Dad, where are you going?"
The voice of Karin called out from the top of the stairs. He paused and looked up.
"I'm going after Ichigo."
The door was sent flying open mere seconds after his statement. Karin looked at the spot where her dad had just stood her ears straining to pick up the rapid footfall that sounded in his wake.
'Please…bring Ichigo nii back safely…'
'But I'm looking for you, why you so hard to find…?'
The sun hung in the middle of the sky, it's bright rays glancing across the building and windows of the town. The honking of cars and buses jumbled together with the sounds of nature and the voices of many. The sidewalk was filled with people, many more than usual, but then again Ichigo rarely came to this part of town.
And it was summer. And it was a Saturday.
Smoke drifted past him mixing with the exhaust of the nearby buses. He grimaced at the smell, increasing his lazy pace to get away from the gray cloud of pollution..
He walked along the street, eyes down, feet dragging on the pavement. The burning sun had long since dried the sopping wet condition of his clothes and they clung to his body now. He was walking against the flow of the busy intersection. People jostled him, bumping, pushing and shoving, but he let it go. Crossing the street he struggled to remember the location of the bus stop through his blurry memory.
The name evoked memories and emotion in every single Shinigami that had been there. Karakura town, a large concentration of spiritual sensitive people, home of substitute shinigami's, ex-captains, humans with super powers and the focus of a certain renegade fifth division captain.
The place radiated so much spiritual energy and that even some of the lowliest people could sense the power of a hollow or a shinigami here. Some could even see them.
And this was the place that the so-called 'Dark Ones' had chosen. This was the place where the blanks had manifested. This was the place where the portal to the Valley of Screams used to be. This was the place where the Memory Rosary had come to life. This was the place where he had first met Senna.
This was the place where he fell in love.
She was a carefree girl, not caring whether or not something was 'out of the norm'. She had memories just like everyone else, she had fun, she could be happy, be sad, feel fear, feel sorrow, feel pain…feel love. She had the zanpakuto of a deceased shinigami. She had the power to keep the two worlds apart. And she had everything that he realized he wanted.
She was the girl he fell in love with. She was a girl he could have lived his life with. His heart hammered against his chest.
And this was the place she had disappeared.
He walked on, his bloodshot eyes tearing behind his black shades. The buses were near now, he hadn't even realized.
His heart clenched.
When it had come time for her to disappear there was no Bankai, no Zangetsu, no Zanpakuto, and no Hollow, just the feeling of warmth against him. He didn't help, standing there as the feeling of her figure slowly dissipated into the air. She had just faded away from existence, people forgetting that she was ever there. She had sacrificed herself to keep them from disappearing.
'I'd rather sacrifice myself than let you die.'
He knew he wasn't supposed to remember. Memories of her were supposed to have disappeared right? After all, you weren't supposed to remember something that wasn't supposed to exist in the first place right?
He wasn't supposed to remember the way she spoke, the tone of her voice, the way she laughed. He wasn't supposed to remember her skin texture, the color of her hair, the way her body was shaped, the color of her eyes. He wasn't supposed to remember the way she walked, the emotions he had seen fly across her face. He wasn't supposed to remember what she had said to him, they way she had made him feel, the warm bubbly feeling that welled up in him when she was near.
'I'll see you again right?'
He wasn't supposed to remember anything about her.
'Don't be dumb, of course you will.'
But he did anyway.
What was it that let him remember her? He had once attributed it to love. But now he was starting to draw other conclusions. After all, if there was a Memory Rosary, Blanks, Hollows, different worlds and Shinigamis, what wasn't there? Love wasn't that powerful. Love was just something everyone needed and it could never link someone such as him with a girl such as Senna.
He shook his throbbing head. He thought too much and sometimes things were better left untouched, he had learnt that through hard experience. So he would forget about it now, after all, where he was going, there were no memories. Some more people jostled into him as he turned the corner. He needed a joint right now, just to get his mind off life. It was a shame he had quit after it failed to quell his emotions and insight, perhaps making him notice things in clearer aspects. Yes, he definitely needed one, because if there was one thing a joint did, it was get you lost in the moment.
He bumped into someone else, his mind still wrapped around the usages of joints, not caring who he or she was. All he saw in a brief glimpse was a glint of glasses and the dark braids of cornrows. He shrugged, continuing on his way to the bus stop. He didn't have time to worry about that now, he had somewhere to be.
The sun beamed through her window, the light spreading throughout her room.
She remembered a time when they were a great family.
A time when they weren't broken apart by the loss of their mother.
She remembered a time when she was carefree, still naive about the world, a time where the necessities of life did not concern her.
When their mother had died, reality struck hard and fast like lightning, and suddenly the gravity of their situation had filled her mind..
She had vowed to never trouble her family again. Her personal troubles were her own.
But when Ichigo tried to commit suicide, she took another vow: To look after her brother and care for her family as best as she could.
Her brother's sudden affliction had come as a shock to her system and for a moment she felt as if another member of her family would die. The pain at that thought was unbearable.
Karin lay on her bed, spread eagle, looking up at the dusty colored paint on her ceiling.
She didn't want her family to break apart any farther. Ichigo had grown so…distant. He was cold now, cold, and uncompassionate, almost like a part of him had died. She clenched her fist. She didn't know whether it was from those weird people in black and white robes, or Rukia or those spirits that kept on appearing. But she knew something was wrong. She could feel it.
Karin turned her head, the crying of Yuzu ripping her back into reality.
She didn't want her family to be torn apart again, but it looked like it was already too late.
"Alright…keep an eye out okay?"
"Kurosaki-san, of course, anything for a …friend."
Isshin shut his cell phone off, dropping it back into his jeans pocket. Sighing he scanned the streets for any sign of orange hair. Nothing. He looked again desperately hoping that his eyes, old with age, might be able to pick out the figure of his son in the crowd. Still nothing. It felt like a massive hand was gripping his heart.
Ichigo might be dead now. He had no way of knowing.
The sun beat bright and hot above him and Isshin wiped a hand across his sweaty brow. He had run all the way into town, desperately searching for his son.
What a horrible father he was.
He didn't even know where his son was. He couldn't stop his son from trying to commit suicide. He couldn't even help. He hadn't even called the police. What the hell had he been doing for the past few months? He was an ex-shinigami for crying out loud! And yet he couldn't give sympathy to his only son?
He'd known Ichigo was a shinigami, but yet the thought of a mission gone wrong had never crossed his mind as the reason of Ichigo's sudden depression. Until he had gotten off the phone with Urahara.
To think that this was all because of a girl.
He sighed and continued down the crowded street. He needed to find Ichigo, he would be damned if he let another member of his family die.
The area was quiet, very few people came here, but it was to be expected. After all this was a deserted part of town, home only to a few individuals who took care of the surrounding cemeteries.
Ichigo stepped off the bus, the throbbing in his chest becoming stronger. His shaded eyes looked into the distance, picking out the familiar details of the graveyard. He walked, his black shoes echoing against the pavement. His hand pressed against the door of the graveyard but his now frail and weak arms failed to push it far enough open. There was once a time when his chiseled body possessed enormous power and a strong push from him would have sent the door flying off it's hinges, but that once mighty strength had long ago been sapped away. He sighed, slumping against the door. It looked like this was as far as he was going to get.
He reached into his coat, his shaking hand fumbling through the folds of cloth and he gripped the cold steel that rested in a slight bulge on his stomach. He had made a slight detour on getting here, stopping at the flat of one of his upperclassmen drinking buddies. He apparently knew some arms smugglers and the young man had picked this up free for doing a few favors. A nine-millimeter, filed down hand guard and shortened trigger. Modified muzzle, the whole deal-a piece of custom craftsmanship.
Ichigo pulled the handgun out of his coat. He had stolen it from his buddy's safe while he slept off his drunken stupor and now it rested in his hand, the high-polished chrome glinting in the sun.
'I thought I took one step…'
It already had a bullet in the chamber. He stared at the chrome, his reflection looking back at him. His once vibrant orange hair had turned pale.
'Just like her eyes…'
The throbbing in his chest increased and he gripped the gun tighter in his hand.
'I took two back…'
He raised it up, cocking the hammer and positioning the muzzle directly at his temple. His index finger curled around the trigger.
'I'm not even close this time…'
The pressure building in his finger was unbearable. It twitched, urging him on to get over it. He almost dropped the weapon, his mind telling him to back out of this. But his heart ached. He would never find peace if he didn't do this. He had tried it all, alcohol, drugs, ranging from coke to weed. He had tried slitting his wrists, maybe to try and feel the pain that she experienced in her final moments. He had tried drowning himself, tried cutting, pills, everything.
He still couldn't get rid of it. His finger slid off the trigger. One hand traced the long, violent, pain and anger filled red scars drawn across his wrists.
'And that's a fact…'
Could he do it? Could he end it all? He would be closer to her…
'It may only last for a few more seconds but for now, at least, I can still hear her voice.'
But that wasn't enough.
His finger tightened around the trigger again.