a/n: These short little series was written for a contest on Mediaminer. The theme was "Home at Last" and they had to be 500-word drabbles. I don't know if I won or not yet but I thought I would share them with you.
All of them take place at the "end" of the Hueco Mundo arc and so far, there are four in the series. There may be more.
Characters: Tatsuki, Orihime
Words: 500 exactly
Description: Takes place at the "end" of the Hueco Mundo arc. There is always someone waiting.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach; Tite Kubo has that honor. I merely borrow and slash the hell out of his characters.
When the rapping came around midnight, it startled Tatsuki from deep meditation. She stirred from her position on the floor, legs crossed, and blinked slowly.
The noise hadn't come from her door, as she would've expected, but rather from behind her. She glanced over her shoulder, seeing her wall, covered in posters of her favorite martial artists, and her window. The shades were currently drawn tightly.
Frowning, Tatsuki rose to her feet, a strange feeling in her belly. It wasn't discomforting or even worrisome. In fact, if she dared name it, the sensation was more like... relief. And happiness. As if there were recognition somewhere out there in night's darkness, hiding just behind the glass.
She padded quietly across the floor to the window, not for once thinking of the consequences of her actions. Perhaps she had imagined the noise. Maybe it was just a coincidence, an insect drawn by the lights of her room or a bird that had somehow lost its way. She was on the second floor, after all. But her curiosity refused to let her ignore it.
The curtains rattled as she moved them aside. Tatsuki peered into the night, the outside difficult to see thanks to the light shining behind her. The wind blew strongly, rattling the leaves of the tree just outside her bedroom. A branch struck against the window. Perhaps that had been it.
Yet, the feeling grew stronger in her belly.
She was about to turn away, considering herself foolish for even daring to hope for an instant. That perverted shopkeeper had said as much. He would tell her himself when the time came.
Then, a palm pressed to the glass, and Tatsuki's heart leapt in her chest. She jumped back from the window in surprise, nearly pulling off the curtains.
A face, so painfully familiar, pressed itself to the glass, a big smile stretching Orihime's lips. She looked tired and worn, dirt streaking her face and hair sticking in all directions. But she was there; she was alive.
"Tatsuki-chaaaan! I didn't wake you, did I?" Orihime asked, scooting forward on the branch and oblivious to the near heart attack she had almost caused.
Swallowing down tears that were threatening to boil over, Tatsuki wasted no time in throwing open the window. Orihime nearly tumbled in on top of her, and it was only her quick reflexes that saved them both from a collision with the floor. Tatsuki's hands settled on the other girl's shoulders, solid and real beneath her fingertips.
"You're back," she said and wondered why she suddenly sounded like a love struck fool.
Grey eyes met hers, pained in their knowledge but still very much Orihime. "Yep!" She swung her legs inside. "I'm finally home."
Feeling the prickle at the back of her eyes, Tatsuki's fingers tightened in their hold as she smiled brightly for the first time in weeks. "Welcome back."
Then, Orihime was hugging her. And for once, it didn't bother Tatsuki at all.
Not one bit.
a/n: Thanks for reading! I look forward to your comments!