Song: A Change is Coming - Stephanie Mcintosh

Epilogue – Forever Changing
"When we change, we can't help but be drawn to the unchanged just to see how much we have." – Snowy Peach Tsubasa

After that night, Momo returned home only to find out that her parents had quit their jobs and moved to the tropics. They left her with a generous sum of money in her account and passed the house and all of its possessions onto her. As she walked through the house devoid of any parental authorities, she went into their former room and smiled. Along with the money, they wrote a note to her, telling her they were retiring, with contact information should she ever need it. It was straightforward and to the point, akin to her parents' personality. However, their parting sentence, though just three words, she knew she would always remember clearly: "Love, your parents".

I am tired of tears and lies and I think its time to let go
Of the past I am scared a little but that's ok
I can smile, now I can laugh
For with every touch of your gentle hands
I forget all the pain best I can

Her feet lead her through all the bare rooms once more, just as a parting tribute. She was moving in with Toshiro and had managed to sell the house and most of its furniture for a small fortune. Her room was a strange sight with all her furniture removed, leaving only their imprints on the carpet.

The leaves on the old oak tree rustled in the wind and rays of sunlight peaked through the gaps, creating a nostalgic shadow. For old times' sake, she went over to the window and climbed out to the sturdy branch. She saw Toshiro's white head bob along the path as he carried what seemed to be the last box to the trailer attached to the small family car. Ietetsu popped his head from behind the trailer so suddenly that he managed to startle Toshiro. Momo giggled and watched the scene unfold a little before climbing back inside. After walking once around the back yard, she went onto the front porch.

"Momo! Are you coming?" Toshiro yelled from the car.

"Yes, in a minute!"

Momo turned around and stared into the empty house. Her eyes moved over the naked walls of the entrance hall stripped of their frames and into the empty living room. The shiny kitchen stove gleamed as a ray of sunlight struck from the small window placed mere inches above. The soon to be former Hinamori house was still and quiet.

Plenty of times in the past she had thought she'd nothing but dark memories for this simple two storey house with its large living room, worn out stairs and dusty attic. However, for as long as she could remember she had Kikuno there beside her. They played and laughed and occasionally threw food at each other. A few years later Rangiku came into her life and when Momo was up at night, she found herself looking forward to the next day. And finally, after meeting with his fair shares of bumps in the road, Toshiro arrived.

Yes, even if only recently, they had shared some moments in this house. Only yesterday were they chasing each other around with soapy sponges while being half-heartily reprimanded by Ietetsu. Moments like those could only be compared to the small yet powerful glows of the heavenly stars. They were the white in the black, but now-

Momo couldn't say she looked around with complete fondness, but no matter what it was the place she grew up in; and as proven, she did have a few of those fun life moments here. She gave her past one last smile, ready to start something anew. -This time it would be the black in the white.


A change is coming

Six Years Later:

I feel so free at last tonight
I start to see a future bright
I dare to dream, I catch my breath
Pretty boy I'm ready for what's next
And if they ask me why it's so
To every single question the answer is you

"Kikuno! I need you to take these dishes out to table three, Spring Room!"

"Alright Momo!"

Momo turned back to the stove in front of her and reached over to grab a jar of chilli powder. The contents in the wok sizzled as the blue-yellow flames licked up the sides. She threw a pinch of the dark red powder in and immediately flipped the wok up, causing the ingredients to fly. After keeping up the movement for a minute, she turned down the heat and transferred the food from the wok onto a white china plate. She placed her hand into the bowl of ice water and gently picked up a nicely curled chilli. The garnish was placed on and she handed it to one of the waiters.

After passing high school with flying colours, Momo gained entrance into one of Japan's most prestigious culinary academy. With her skills she quickly accelerated and within a year, was offered the position of head chef in a five-star restaurant. She worked there for two years before deciding to live out her dream. Currently Momo was the head chef and proud owner of her very own five-star restaurant, Maiden Cho. It was the largest restaurant in the country, situated right in the centre of town. Her food was widely regarded as some of the best in the world and tables had to be booked at least half a year in advance. Kikuno worked there as a waiter and food connoisseur, bringing Maiden Cho a famed reputation for excellent service.

Rangiku became a successful beautician, working at the beauty spa in a grand hotel just across the street. She was often kept busy but whenever she could find the time, she would come into Maiden Cho's for a visit and a free, high quality meal. Likewise, Momo received similar treatment whenever she paid Rangiku a visit. The black haired girl also won their small middle school bet that Rangiku would someday end up getting married to Gin. These days she walked around with a stunning engagement ring; their wedding would be in the early springtime next year.

Toshiro took over the family business at the young age of nineteen and made it even more successful. Hitsugaya Inc dominated the business world and all opposition met with their demise at the hands of Toshiro's excellent if not devastating persuasive skills. Even with their busy schedules, Toshiro and Momo still found time to enjoy together. Being the bosses certainly did have its perks. Over the years their love only grew stronger. It was not all paradise; they had their fair share of fights but they always made up in the end. What's life without a few bumps?

"Okay, good job everybody! We're done for the night and remember tomorrow's a day off," Momo told her crowd of employees.

They dispatched and left through the doors, chatting to each other about their day off. Once a year, on the exact same day, Maiden Cho's was closed. It wasn't a public holiday or anything like that so they didn't know why it was always closed on that particular day. It just was and they weren't going to question it. Kikuno fought through the crowd and made her way towards Momo. She was one of three who knew why Momo always took tomorrow off. Not having lost her teenage-like enthusiasm, she nudged Momo and winked.

"Have fun tomorrow, Lil Peach!"

"Please Kikuno, I'm hardly little anymore," Momo replied with a light laugh.

"But you'll always be Lil Peach to me! Well thanks for the day off Momo. Ryuu and I are going to spend the day at Rangiku's spa place!"

"How did you manage to convince him to go?"

"Tricks of the trade. One kiss and he was mine!"

"I bet he regrets ever meeting you!" Momo said teasingly.

"Oh I think so too! See you on Wednesday Momo!"

Momo waved Kikuno farewell and straightened a stack of plates before pushing back the door. She flicked the lights off and looked at the darkened kitchen before walking away. Her footsteps echoed along the tiled floor and she smiled softly to herself. Closing up always brought up a nostalgic like feeling, similar to what you experience from looking at a sepia photo. As she rounded the corner she bumped into someone. It turned out that someone was Izuru. He worked as the restaurant's accountant.

"Hello Izuru, how was your day?" Momo asked pleasantly.

"Ah, I'm fine and you Momo?"

"Couldn't be better. How is little Tsuyu doing?"

"Well I'm happy she's stopped her habit of crying in the middle of the night. And she's also starting to talk," Izuru said with a fatherly smile on his face. "Oh," He withdrew a small card from his pocket. "Rukia wanted me to give you this. She and Renji are moving into their new house this Saturday so they're throwing a house warming."

"Really? And they only just got back from their honeymoon too. Well I'll have to drop by your place for a visit as well. Have a nice day off tomorrow Izuru."

"Thanks, I'm sure I will."

They smiled and parted ways. A few days after Toshiro and Momo were official, Izuru came up to her and sincerely apologised for everything. They patched things up fairly quickly and were soon back on normal terms. He was now happily married with a one year old daughter.

Momo left through the back door and unlocked her car, sliding into the shiny vehicle. It was fairly late into the night and traffic wasn't too bad at all. She drove through the familiar gates and up the bitumen road. The silver car was quickly parked in the expansive garage. Ietetsu greeted her with a hearty smile and they both entered the main house chatting about this and that. They parted ways at the bottom of the grand stairs with the elderly butler heading off to the dining area. The large wall clock told her it was exactly midnight. She opened the door to the room she shared with Toshiro and walked straight into his waiting arms.

I'm inspired by your ideas and it's strange
It empowers me more than no I was lost
But somehow you found me out
I'm alive, I'm ready to go
And with every kiss I lose track of time
Guess I'm leaving my old life behind

"Hello Momo."

Toshiro placed a light kiss on her lips before planting a trail along her neck. His hand found its way under her shirt and he gently caressed her back. Momo giggled and pushed them in far enough for her to close the door with her foot.

"Hello to you too Toshiro. Stressful day?"

"Don't you know it." He nibbled at a sensitive spot on her neck, sending her pleasant shivers. "I'm glad we're taking tomorrow off."

Momo laughed again and gently removed his lips from her neck so she could properly kiss him. He smiled against her lips and deepened it. Making sure Momo was distracted, he leant forward, causing her to arch back. His eyes still closed, he smirked, moved his arm away from her back and swept his foot across. This caused her to lose her balance. Her eyes opened in surprise and she gave a yelp before falling into his waiting arm.

"You still haven't grown up I see," Momo stated with a half hearted annoyance.

"You just get distracted too easily," Toshiro countered, still wearing that ever pompous smirk.

"Touché. Come here."

Momo wrapped her arms around his neck and started to lean in, looking at him through her long eyelashes. Toshiro came in and his eyes started to close. Momo closed the distance and gave him the anticipated kiss...on the nose. She smirked and removed herself from his hold, heading for the adjoined bathroom.

"I'm not the only one who get's distracted easily, ne Toshiro?"

A change is coming, I feel so free at last tonight
I start to see a future bright
I dare to dream, I catch my breath
Pretty boy I'm ready for what's next
And if they ask me why it's so
To every single question the answer is you

A slick, black limousine with tinted windows and the Hitsugaya family crest on the hood pulled up to the reserved parking space. Toshiro and Momo got out and thanked Ietetsu, who merely chuckled and told them to enjoy themselves before pulling out the evening papers. Like the previous years, they walked up the stairs of the hotel that held the masquerade formal in their high school years. They were dressed up in the very same evening wear they wore that wondrous night, minus the masks.

Laughing and reminiscing, they walked through the empty ballroom and out into the gardens. It was deserted, just the way they requested it to be. Holding hands the entire way, they walked into that magical circular enclosure with its same rose bushes and concealing trees.

Every year they came back to relive that perfect moment they shared back when they were teenagers. They would dance to some music, off step and laughing just for the fun of it. Then at exact same time as the first, the very same music would play and they would dance like they did during their first dance. Miraculously, the skies were always cloudless and sprayed with stars while the moonlight shone beautifully. Fireflies would appear every time without fail, circling gracefully around them as if they've been practising. It was as if every year the heavens wanted this couple to immerse themselves in their own little world created six years ago.

The song ended and they shared their traditional kiss as the fireflies made their leave. As soon as they broke apart, the distant bell sounded. Except this time, neither of them would be leaving the other. They smiled softly and were content with wrapping their arms around the other, keeping the other close and shielding them from the cool breeze. Toshiro loosened his hold on Momo and stepped back slightly, still keeping her close.

And I'm elated by this world of possibilities I see
You make me want to be the best that I could ever hope to be

"I want to tell you a story."

Momo nodded for him to continue.

"Once upon a time there was a girl called Momo Hinamori. She had a beautiful soul that was lost in darkness and fear. She was suppressed for so long that she found change to be an impossible task; but with a little help, she found herself beginning to change. At first she fell and found it hard to pick herself up, so she gave up."

He smiled. "However as time passed, she realised that unless she stood up and moved forward on her own, she would be forever lost. And when she finally picked herself up, she found change to be the most wonderful thing to have ever happened to her."

Toshiro let his arms fall from Momo and took a step back. "Change is hard. Sometimes it doesn't work out, sometimes it does...and we always hope it will."

He lowered himself on one knee and withdrew a small velvet box from his pocket. Momo looked on in astonishment as Toshiro pulled back the lid. Sitting in the midst of white silk was an elegant ring of silver set with a perfect-sized diamond and two smaller sapphires on either side.

"Momo Hinamori, will you marry me?"

Tears of happiness fell from her eyes and she tackled Toshiro to the ground. "Yes! Toshiro, of course!"

Toshiro was somewhat lying on the brick ground, propping up his torso with his elbows. The arms of his new fiancée were wrapped tightly around his back, squeezing the life out of him. Momo was half on top of him, brightly smiling down on him with a tear streaked face. She leant in close and looked at him with sparkling eyes.

"Yes Toshiro Hitsugaya, I will marry you."

I feel so free at last tonight
I start to see a future bright

A sincere smile came onto Toshiro's face. He took the ring from its box and slipped it onto Momo's waiting finger. She beamed at the way the jewels sparked and how the band reflected the silvery moonlight. Lightly, she placed her hands on his chest and kissed him.

A change is coming


Wow, the new FF editing page is awesome! You can do asterisks, and squiggly lines!! ~*~*~*~ Hehe!

Okay, my moment of craziness is over. A HUGE thank you to all my loyal readers and reviewers! I love you all; you are all wonderful beyond words for sticking to this story like glue on anything!! I am so elated that this story received such good feedback and I seriously can't thank you guys enough! My future multi-chaptered hitsuhina story is still in progress (sorry it's taking so long merciless ruby - I know, you requested that AGES ago), so there will be no new story for now, but I am still continuing my one-shot series One, Two, Skip a Few. They've no connection to each other (unless otherwise specified) so take your pick! I encourage all to read it (and review, please)!!

Please review ^___^