Note: Lots of swearing.
Sorry this is so insanely late. I was SERIOUSLY wasted all weekend. There was an anime and gaming convention and I'm weak-minded. Yesterday I had 3 or 4 days worth of a hangover to contend with so spent the entire time getting into D. Gray-man. I wrote this a while back, but, well, I couldn't find myself being happy with this chapter.
This is the last one guys. (Because I don't want to get your hopes up about an aftermath chapter because I quite like where I ended it.)
Sorry about all the failwriting this story has incurred so far.
Sorry this chapter's so short.
The sky was darkening, the sun was setting. They always say that in your last moments, a strange kind of peace overcomes you. Even though his heartbeat was racing and the impact of what he was about to do was causing his body to scream in retaliation, he couldn't feel it any more. He was numb. Nor was there unrest in Ichigo's mind. His normally ever so intemperate mind. As he wrote down his final thoughts, he waited for Renji to find him. He knew he would look, he was the only one in the world that would, but he knew now that when he said 'I love ya, Ichi' he really meant, 'I love fuckin' ya, Ichi'. But he didn't care any more, he was going to finally put everyone out of their misery. He took another swig of sake and waited patiently.
Renji raced through Seireitei, searching more desperately for Ichigo than he had ever searched for anything in his life, Byakuya hot on his heels. "Would ya jus' fuck off already?"
"Leave it. Please, taichō. Ya didn' fuckin' see him, tha look in his eyes... I've gotta find him and yer really not helpin'." He ran off again, trying to follow that characteristic reiatsu like he'd done so many times before, but falling short time and time again. His reiatsu was everywhere in large quantities but his own had depleted by so much that by the time he had tried to find him, he was virtually invisible to his senses. This time, when he ran off, Byakuya didn't follow.
He could feel him coming, he was getting nearer, even if he didn't know it yet. Renji had already been to where he'd been beaten up, a couple of places he'd coughed up blood on the way back, the place where he got this wonderful sake and was currently drawing closer. Sunset on Sōkyoku Hill. Fitting. Any minute now he'd raid the training grounds before coming up here. He fingered the cuffs in his pocket and made his way to a particularly dense thicket of trees.
As soon as he got inside he knew he wasn't there but he refused to admit defeat, deciding that 'search under every single one of these fucking stones until I find him' could be a more effective approach. Not wanting to give up, he left the room and climbed to the top of the hill, sensing the tiniest traces of his reiatsu. His eyes started to sting as tears fell unbidden from his eyes, the sun had now fully set and the moon graced the sky above. He shoved the thought to the back of his mind that this night was becoming more and more like that night. He carefully followed the trail of reiatsu into the white forest that sat atop the hill, finally finding what he was searching for. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Ichigo..."
"Hey, Renji." He ran up to him and hugged him tighter than he even thought possible. Ichigo winced. He deserved the pain.
"Ya scared me, Ichi."
"Sorry." He was so relieved he didn't even notice Ichigo reaching into his pocket and pulling out the pair of handcuffs inside with his good arm. He put one on the other man. "Watcha doin' Ichi?" He put the second on a neighbouring tree. "What're ya-"
"They're reiatsu constricting so there's no point in trying to get out of them." He handed him the letter he'd written while waiting to be found. He kissed him lightly on the lips, then turned to leave.
"Ichigo! Where're ya goin'?"
"What tha fuck, Ichigo?!" Even though he asked, the moment he'd seen that look in his eyes, he knew exactly what it was Ichigo was planning. He watched him walk slowly to the far side of the hill although he could barely see him, the trees being so thick and his vision was already blurred from the tears rolling down his cheeks. He pulled so hard at the cuffs they scratched and tore his skin, blood trickled down his wrist but he ignored it. It was his fault Ichigo was doing this. He deserved the pain. "Please, Ichigo! Don't do this!" As he reached the edge of the cliff he gave Renji a weak smile.
He lay his head back and gazed at the sky, slowly closing his eyes.
"ICHIGO, NO!" He thrashed and screamed with an unmatchable fervour, his rage and fear overwhelming him, desperately trying to reach out to the boy he'd fallen in love with and, ultimately, destroyed. "PLEASE, ICHIGO! DON'T- YOU CAN'T! ICHIGO!"
"Tell them I'm sorry." Ichigo opened his eyes once more, cursing the hurt he was causing everyone. His final words were barely more than a whisper. "I love you, Renji." He raised his arms and stepped backwards, feeling the wind whip his hair as gravity took hold, removing him from Renji's sight for once and for all.
Renji didn't know how long he'd been sitting there, just sitting, letting the tears cascade down his face, tasting the saline liquid in his mouth. He was borderline catatonic before he remembered the letter. He opened it carefully, desperately wanting to know his dying words.
I'm sorry. Hell, you probably hate me like everyone else does. I fucked up, Renji. I fucked up good. It's my fucking fault Rukia died, I don't care what anyone else says because I know that's exactly what you're all thinking. She died to save me and it's my fucking fault for needing saved. I feel the same as the rest of you, I wish I'd died instead of her. Well, I can't bring her back, but I can live up to the other half.
I can't believe I went and fucking fell in love with you. I always knew you'd never feel the same and it's my own fault for relying on you so damn much, so for that, I'm also sorry. I kept you from being with Byakuya because I was too busy being needy and whiny and fucking pathetic. So I apologise for all the late nights and lack of sleep I caused you, because you just downright don't deserve it. I know it's fucking ridiculous that it only took me a few days to fall in love with you because you obviously didn't feel the same.
I don't know why I'm telling you this but you're the only person I've ever been able to talk to and I just need to tell someone. I've hurt people. I've hurt fucking everyone! Everyone fucking hates me and it's my own fucking fault because I made them hate me. You know, when Ishida was beating the shit out of me I didn't once think 'Make it stop' because I knew I deserved it. Same with Hisagi, I knew I deserved the pain. Just shows you, even people I barely fucking know hate me. I'm a piece of shit. I walk all over everyone, I'm horrible to everyone who's ever called me their friend and I don't deserve anything but death, so here I sit, waiting for you to come so that I can put everyone out of their misery.
I deserve to die.
And I'm going to do it. So these are my last words to you and to everyone. I'm sorry that I hurt you, I'm sorry that I burdened you, I'm sorry I did all those terrible things to you. I never meant to hurt anyone but what I've done is downright unforgivable, so I say my final farewells and above all, I'm sorry I didn't do this sooner.
Thanks readers, you made it worthwhile.