Chapter 8 - Senbazuru
There is but One person for me - Stay with me underneath the Heavens, forever In the sky's Reflection - because Only you can
Make me a single promise - let us become One and shine like the Million stars in the midnight skies - because Only you can
Momo was discharged from the 4th division two days after she had woken up, but Unohana advised her to take it easy for a couple of days. Her body was still a little frail. She was exempted from all her paperwork so she spent her days in Toshiro's office. He was not very good at hiding his worry for her.
It was New Years Eve and Momo was sitting on the roof wrapped in a blanket large enough for two, waiting for the fireworks to start.
"Hey, aren't you still recovering? You shouldn't be out here yet."
Momo smiled back at Toshiro. "I'm alright but you're early Shiro-chan."
"That's because you shouldn't worry me like that by taking off without a word!"
"Whoops. I thought I forgot to do something!"
Toshiro sat down next to Momo and accepted the spot she made for him under the blanket. While Momo was engrossed with the night sky, Toshiro glanced at the small box cradled in his hand that was hidden from her eyes. At the stroke of midnight he would confess his love to her.
There was an hour left and Toshiro thought time was against him because soon it was a minute before midnight. He was beginning to feel incredibly nervous, but over and over he reminded himself that if he put this off, he might never get another chance. And he learnt this lesson the hard and painful way.
With ten seconds left until the New Year many shinigamis could be heard all across the Seireitei.
Matsumoto, Kira and Hisagi were at the New Years party at 3rd company yelling at the top of their lungs, having already consumed almost half of the 20 sake bottles in the room. Iba was already passed out in the corner.
Shunsui was trying to sneak out to the aforementioned party whilst Nanao was seemingly preoccupied with the countdown. He barely made it a quarter of the way across the room when a heavy book landed on his head.
Yachiru was zipping around the Seireitei on a sugar rush, shouting numbers like "eleventy-seven". Kenpachi was just sitting there, lazily counting down as he ignored the chaos his fukutaichou was creating.
Jushiro was humming to himself as he tried to find Toshiro so that he could shower his younger self with New Year sweets.
Sentaro and Kiyone were dedicatedly following their taichou, trying to outdo the other in the countdown. Many would be temporarily deaf for the next few days.
Renji and Rukia were sitting outside the 6th division building holding hands. Rukia was cheerfully counting down and Renji just thought it was stupid.
Byakuya was fingering his zanpakuto as he spied on the pair from the shadows.
Ikkaku was swinging his sword and whistling a tune, waiting for the fireworks to start. Yumichika was on the floor, bruised and slightly bloody because he tried to wax Ikkaku's head. He claimed he lost his mirror.
Momo was staring up into the skies, her mouth opened in anticipation. And Toshiro…
Toshiro was ready to tell her.
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
There were many cheers as the fireworks appeared in the sky. The parties that were taking place instantly went up to full blast. Sake was being consumed like water; tomorrow was going to be a painful day for 4th division.
Toshiro nudged Momo. "Hey."
He fumbled around with the box before giving it to her without a word or meeting her eyes. She graciously accepted it and found a small, sparkling ice crane inside. He used his powers to make it just for her. She tackled him with a hug.
"Thank you so much Shiro-chan. It's beautiful."
It was now or never.
"Shiro-chan? Is something wrong?"
"There's…something…something I have to tell you."
"What is it?"
He hesitated for a moment before leaning in and kissing her on the lips. It was a shy kiss, but it was filled with unconditional love. He was blushing as he pulled away.
"I-I love you Momo."
If Toshiro was worried there was going to be an awkward silence, his fears were allayed. Momo responded by giving him a loving kiss of her own. It was short but only because Momo had something to say.
"I love you too Toshiro."
Toshiro smiled and put his forehead against hers. "And you wouldn't want me to be unhappy, so don't you ever dare leave me again you hear?"
"Don't worry Toshiro." She laced her fingers with his. "I'm not going to go anywhere without you. We're always together right?"
"Right." He buried his head in her hair. "I guess you got your wish Momo."
"And you said you didn't believe in wishes."
"Hhnn." He smiled. "I never said that now did I?"
Momo didn't answer for she was entirely too busy kissing him.
They say senbazuru is truly a labour of love; a thousand cranes for each of the thousand years they are said to live for. During those one thousand years they loyally stay with their soul mate, their other half. And as they soar through the skies they carry peace and happiness with them, spreading it across the world.
But maybe it's not all true. Maybe they live for a thousand and one years.
Thank you to my reviewers and to all readers who saw this story to the end. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much! Please take a moment to review this chapter as well.
I also have more stories that will be posted up too:
Drunken Laps: Takes place during the Winter Festival. We get to see just how Matsumoto, Kira and Hisagi fared in the competition they entered (along with some others). Four chapters long
Birthday Lights: A one-shot featuring Toshiro and Momo. Takes place a year before the Senbazuru storyline. The story of how Toshiro got his yukata (the same one all the way back in chapter 2).
9 Moments: The story featuring the memories tagged along with Momo's nine special cranes. Ten chapters long.
And this is just for fun but did any of you notice something special in this chapter's tagline? Tell me if you know or want to know. It's simple really.