A/N: This'll be the last chapter of this sh*t, so I might as well thank you for sticking with me up until now.
Chapter: XXXI: Let Forever Be
I am beyond overwhelmed, beyond mastered. Smothered under the weight of his presence, the very fact that he's alive, I manage to utter the name which was included in some bygone chapter of my life,
"Grimmjow." I say, and maybe suffering is in my voice.
He doesn't seem to have aged a day since the last time I saw him, in a time closed up by bitter thoughts. He's still twenty years old, and forever will be, while my heart now contracts with weight.
"You son of a bitch, you motherfucking-"
My voice is muffled by his embrace, and my contempt eclipsed by his familiar scent. It lasts for a few seconds, where I become lost between enclosures of some hatred and the disbelief I didn't see coming.
"Are you cursing me, Ichi-"
"-Don't call me that. Don't you dare."
"I died out there, but fuck that anyway. I loved you, did you know?"
Bitterly I laugh at his straight face, fearsome still as it is. "Yeah, but you didn't love me enough to show your face once, did you? Seven years, goddamit."
"Hear me." He pleads.
"So let's get this straight: You showed me what life is, what love is, Grimmjow, after which you left me a broken kid. I was a kid. You and your brother stole my youth and robbed me of the happiness I could've harmlessly enjoyed. And now here I am picking up all the pieces when you come striding back, pining to be a part of what you abandoned, with-with-goddammit, what do you want?"
"You, obviously. But first, I want you to know I'm alive, at least in a manner of speaking, and so is Scheiffer, though I don't know where the prick is."
The mention of his name restores its glory in my mind.
"Is he? Tell him he's a goddamn prick-"
"-Listen, Ichigo, look at me. I've been a bastard. But there came a time when we were left with no choice but to flee. We scattered, my siblings and I, because doing otherwise was no different from digging our own fucking graves. If information would serve any purpose, Neliel and Stark are missing; I haven't heard a single word from them since we went our separate ways four years ago. Szayel went into hibernation for a year, then he went poof when he awoke. We're still looking for him. Only Scheiffer and I exchange words from time to time through emails. He wouldn't tell me where he is. But, last year, your name came across his letter. He said he was gonna go and pay you a visit. Did he come to you?"
"I thought so. It was too early for that. And I'm not so sure if everything was worth it, from the lives lost to being sundered from you. On top of it all, more than half of the Order got done in. Byakuya Kuchiki was one. We, Scheiffer and I, couldn't get in touch with you as soon as it was over, because mutually we decided, and knew, neither of us could give you a life you deserved. But I can't live with that. These past years were like a death sentence to me. Be with me, I beg you."
It strikes me that this requires more than the amount of time needed to decide whether I should move in with Orihime. More than that, this doesn't exactly spell happiness reconstructed. Now in the end, in the conclusion of all that's gone past, I've long ago shut that faraway world, where he and his brother lived, from me.
I've given up.
"Grimmjow, I'm glad you and your brother are alive and well. I'm sincerely relieved to see you walking again in the same tread as you had always done long before this. But always, in the back of my head, I'd known all along that things weren't gonna end up as good as we hoped, and worse still is that I believed otherwise. Now I've woken up and realized we had lived very different lives. Maybe it was over long ago, right from the moment you hopped off my window many summers ago."
He heaves a somber sigh and does his best to smile, taking all I've said like a man. Sure enough, he nods, his sentiments unspoken yet understood by the both of us.
"That's your resolution? That's it?"
He swings around, ready to disappear like smoke in the fastest fashion, to bind himself indissolubly in the darkness where he belongs. And then as if a destructive force ready, brewing and waiting, he cuts his pace and speaks again,
"Did you ever look at me not as a monster capable of the most horrid evil but as a man who would've done everything to find his way back to you? For once in your life did you even stop to think that what I actually was meant absolutely nothing compared to the immortal creature that I was? That every time I held you I became someone else besides the vampire who pined for blood and delighted on murders? Did you ever stop to think, and believe, that I was a man?"
"I did. Goodbye, Grimmjow."
I walk away, leaving him in a space which time seemed to have sanctified, to stay frozen in my memory. I make my way to my apartment, recalling in my head how beautiful he still is, and will be for the rest of his life, while I continue to age as time creeps by-to wither eventually and slowly unless some early death saves me from the common denominator of the human race, aging. Thus all he will be for the next years to follow is a blank space in my thoughts, where he should stand.
Inside my apartment I find the room in the exact same order when I left it earlier.
This voice, one I know to have caused me too much suffering, now skulks the air. I remember the voice so well, but not the feeling I had in listening to them many years ago.
"How did you manage to enter without permission?"
"The blood pact we made seven years ago toppled all unwritten laws."
"..." I speak not a word, and nothing of what's currently occurring appears distinct to me. I look at him, and in his face is disappointment, the sort that lasts as long as life. And he so happens to be immortal.
"Don't you think 'abandon' is too strong a word to use against Jack or me?"
He is seated comfortably on my couch, his black hair shining with the slightest provocation of the light from my window. He's still young, still beautiful, and his presence can't hurt me now, for I've had enough of anguish, or it's had enough of me, for the first six years of his disappearance.
"You heard what I told Grimmjow, I'm sure. There's nothing to sort with me." I surprise myself by saying firmly, each decision final.
"I'm sure I heard everything. However, it wouldn't be like me to just let you walk out my life and pass me by. Never so much as in a thought unborn did I once intend to be apart from you."
He leaps from where he is, with the same gruesome speed I never really got used to. And then, with barely a ceremony to warn me, he grabs my throat with a firmness which seems to suggest authority over all things eternal and supernaturally powerful. He opens his mouth and buries his fangs in my neck.
"Goddammit, are you killing me?"
I'm quite sure it's morning now, owing to the rays of the morning sun fighting their way through the gaps in the blinds. But, of all things, a strange feeling comes over me. It's as if this light is something altogether new, something I'll not get used to.
"You're awake." I hear Ulquiorra announce.
"Where am I?"
"Why, this is your apartment."
"Satisfied, you bloodsucking hound of hell?" I hiss, my anger preceding me, before I realize I don't feel exactly weak, as what I should have felt after all the blood I've lost.
"You slept like a log for four days. Jack dropped by last night, by the way, and wasn't too happy with what I did."
"Four days? Four fucking days? I have a family, classes, a job and a girlfriend, goddammit. How the hell am I gonna explain my absence to them?"
He examines me, taking only a limited interest in my high notes, before speaking,
"You won't be needing any of them henceforth. Come, Kurosaki, you must be hungry."
"You damn bet I am. But thanks to you, I first must go do a little explaining to my dad, professors, employer and girl." I continue to mumble irritable comments while rummaging into the bathroom for my toothbrush. I reach out for the blinds.
The touch of the sun burns my skin.
"Do not go into the light just yet."
What is happening to me?
I examine the mirror and part my lips slightly asunder. To my relief none of my teeth are sporting sharp edges.
"Fangs don't appear under normal conditions. Only upon the presence of blood and hunger do they sprout." Ulquiorra takes the trouble of informing me, mechanically.
He sprints past the bed and grabs the shaving blade from my lavatory. With grace, he makes a shallow slit on his wrist from which a gush of blood issues.
My throat starts to throb. I can determine by smelling, without even trying, every quality of the blood coming out the incision, as if I could make out their composition perfectly. And on top of that the scent is so thick, so pure that I can hardly conceive any other smell in the room.
"What is this, Ulquiorra?"
"Drink, my love, and we'll be together, forever."
I can hardly give a thought to what he's saying and what it means. All I know is I'm thirsty, and the only way to quench this is to... drink that fluid, which is beckoning me in such a manner I never thought possible. Presently I find myself hardly aware of my actions. But this red liquid now seems so different from what I have always recognized it to be.
In time, I gather that someone else has entered the room.
"What a fucking mess. I don't even need to be invited anymore to get in. You really are a bastard, aren't you-taking his humanity from him just like that?" I hear Grimmjow's voice. I don't look up at him, for fear that the blood being supplied for me would disappear.
"Don't be a hypocrite now, Jack. You love Kurosaki too, don't you? And now there's eternity between the three of us; quite enough time for him to decide whom he loves better."
"Bastard. Eternity is a lot of fucking time. But if this is just a stupid game to you then I won't back out. More importantly, shouldn't you be tucking your wrist now away from him? He's had enough and will soon be bloated if you don't shove off."
Ulquiorra secures his wrist inside his sleeves, to my great, inexplicable displeasure.
"More." I hear myself say.
Grimmjow scowls at Ulquiorra. Rolling up his sleeves, he holds his hand to me. He offers, his tone dismally commanding,
"Drink. Only stop when you feel my pain."
I take Grimmjow's arm with a singular intent; to ravenously bury my face in his wrist. I can't tell whose blood tastes more delightful. Maybe it's a comfort to know I have an eternity to decide on that…
"Dad, I'm not quitting my residency, but I've broken up with Orihime and I can only see you during nighttime for quite a long time ahead. I'll be a doctor just like you, as promised."
Dad's face for a moment appears to me like a snapshot of some bad dream.
"Is it drugs, my son?"
"No, dad, something infinitely graver and more terrible."
He puffs a smoke on his tobacco, coolly, as though in approximation of how bad things are really going. Thing is, he has no idea how shitty things for his only son have gone down.
"So where did I go wrong in raising you and your sisters?"
"None. If anything, you're the best dad in the world. It's just that I'm a vampire."
A ruthless silence gathers in the room. To my credit, I have anticipated any sort of reaction that might be likened to some accusation of me being crazy and completely, utterly out of my goddamn wits. But dad remains unmoving, atoms of stillness making up every inch of him, until he opens his mouth,
"Oh that. Did you know, son, that your mother was in love with one before she met me? Funny, that I was afraid my first child would turn out a Halfling."
I stare at him, and find him examining me with those wise eyes I seldom see.
"-yeah, that's their term. I was afraid her Vampire ex-lover would give her what you have now-while carrying you. Turned out you'd be worse."
I find myself smiling at this. Yes, we do exist, walking among the living, without heed from time.
A/N: alright, i labored hard for this stupid ending for obvious reasons; 1) it took me quite long to make up my goddamn mind if this should be continued; 2) no ending seemed right; 3) i hated writing the last chapters, perhaps 25-31; 4) kinda lost interest in it many times along the way, because it didn't seem like it was gong ANYWHERE at all.
so now that it's done, and i believe it's pretty lacking in satisfaction factor, but what the hell; can't squeeze anything outta myself at this point. But maybe you could leave a review?