Guess what? I FINISHED THE STORY!!! This is the last chapter of "I Belong to You!" I can't believe it, it's actually finished! A total of 132 pages! YAHOO!
Anyways, more importantly, I want to thank all of my wonderful readers - you know who you are! - for journeying with me through this story. Doesn't matter if you were there from the beginning or from just the previous chapter - I thank you all so very much for giving me your encouragement and the motivation to finish this story! Thank you to you all!
A few more notes before I present to you the LAST CHAPTER: It is a bit rushed. I procrastinated and wrote the latter half of this in about an hour and ten minutes. Nevertheless, I was determined to finish this by New Year's Eve, and darnit, I may be a few minutes late but it's close enough! So I apologize that the ending is hurried, but I had to tie up all the loose ends and not go on for five more pages at the same time! So hopefully it's not too bad, but I apologize in advance if you are even the least bit disappointed. It's my fault for waiting until the last minute!
And now, without anymore commentary from me...HERE IS THE FINAL CHAPTER IN THE EPIC KISSHU AND ICHIGO LOVE SAGA! PLEASE ENJOY AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING!
Chapter Twenty-Five: I Belong To You
"Ichigo…" Kisshu dipped his head and gently nuzzled Ichigo's cheek. It was still warm. Her heart was fluttering – a weak, insubstantial pulse. Kisshu was more furious than panicked, and it occurred to him that in this form, anger was his overriding emotion. He was driven by some blinding rage, which was why he had been so eager to rip and tear through those Chimera Animals. Never mind swords – anyone who tried to hurt Ichigo deserved a painful death of being shredded to pieces by his claws.
But fighting wouldn't save her now – he had to think of something, or Ichigo would die. His heart wrenched painfully at the idea, and his mind raced as it fought against his urge to go take care of Parfait first. Ichigo was more important right now. He need to concentrate on what he could do to save her.
There was only one option – another taboo crime, according to the laws of his people. It was just as dangerous as transforming oneself into a Chimera Animal, and it was forbidden for anyone to attempt it. It almost always resulted in death.
But Kisshu would not lose her. He would not lose Ichigo. Not when she was the only one in the entire universe that he wanted to spend his life with. He was not going to give her up without trying everything in his power to save her. And if he acted quickly, and did what he needed to do…there was a chance…that they might both make it out, as themselves, in one piece.
Gently, as if he were handling a baby, Kisshu kneeled down and laid Ichigo on the ground. Her chest was barely moving – her warm, sticky blood coated his skin. Ignoring the gaping wound in her chest – quite similar to the one he'd suffered perhaps a day earlier - Kisshu held her face in his hands and whispered, in his strange, new bestial voice, "Ichigo…listen to me."
Ichigo's eyelashes fluttered, and then her eyes just barely opened. She was holding onto life for him. Kisshu was sure of it. That was why she hadn't died as soon as the knife pierced her.
He leaned in close to her ear. "Just relax. I'm going to save you."
Ichigo didn't respond. Kisshu leaned away, and stretched out his arm, his fingers spread wide, and focused on the bleeding hole in her chest.
A white glow illuminated his hand, and soon, Ichigo's body was connected to the light, which pulsed in circular waves. Kisshu felt it coming loose. It was easy, since she was so close to death. And besides that, she was letting him. It was so much more difficult to do this when the person was resistant.
"Wh-what are you doing?" Mint demanded.
"Why are you taking her soul?" Lettuce cried.
Kisshu knew that the Mews didn't understand. But then he heard Pai's sharp intake of breath, and knew that Pai had figured out what Kisshu was doing.
Tart was still confused and scared. "Are you going to turn her into an Animal too?" he cried. The Mews reacted instantly.
"No way, we won't let you do that!" Mint cried, running toward Kisshu and intent on stopping him. Lettuce also took a step forward, but Pai caught her arm abruptly and pulled her back.
Lettuce tried to squirm out of his grasp. "Pai, let go-!"
"It's the only way to save her now." Pai's iron grip on her arm didn't loosen. She could almost feel it bruising. "In fact, it's quite likely that he will give up his own life to save hers, if they do not separate in time."
"Separate?" Lettuce's wide eyes gazed fearfully into Pai's. "What's going on? What's he doing to her?"
Meanwhile, Zakuro was forcibly holding Mint back, and telling her in a loud, commanding voice, "No, Mint, we have to trust that Kisshu is trying to save her-"
"But he's taking her soul! He's taking her soul out of her body!"
"I won't turn her." Kisshu's fiery eyes rested on the struggling Mint. Mint stopped abruptly, seeming intimidated by the ferocity in his voice. "She's going to stay with me."
Mint looked confused, but with this new information, Tart finally understood. He squeaked, "No way, Kish, you might die if you don't get her out in time!"
"Then we'll have to work quickly." His yellow eyes cut across to Parfait, who was staring at Kisshu with nothing but hate and fear. Kisshu's rage fired up inside him at the sight of her. She was responsible for hurting Ichigo. Nothing else mattered to him except saving Ichigo, and destroying Parfait. In that order.
Finally, he managed to ease her soul from her body. It gravitated into his hand as a white ball of light. As long as it had a vessel to bind with, it would be able to stay in this world. But there was no way Kisshu was going to accomplish that by making Ichigo into a Chimera Animal. He had sworn that he would never do that to another human soul again, and he meant it.
Which left only one other choice. Taking a deep breath, he held the white ball tight in one hand, and then, as he had with the Infuser earlier, drove it into his chest.
"Oh!" Lettuce gasped. Pai wrapped an arm around her shoulders and instinctively drew her closer to him. His eyes were cold and hard as he stared at his best friend. Never had an alien mutated their body so much as Kisshu had today. Not only did he have an Infuser inside him, but now he had another soul as well. If two souls stayed in the same body for too long…the body would be destroyed, and the souls would both be expelled from this world. Pai knew this, and yet he knew his friend loved Ichigo far too much to let her die, even if it meant possibly destroying himself.
Kisshu doubled over, his mouth opening in a silent scream that bared his long, white fangs. He felt a huge, painful pressure in his chest, as if something inside him were trying to rip him apart from the inside. Then, after a few moments, the pain subsided to a dull ache. His breath came out labored, but at least he could still breathe. For now, his body could tolerate the intrusion. But only for a few moments. He had to move fast.
He looked over at Lettuce, Mint, and Zakuro. "Take Ichigo's body back. Bring it to Ryou and Keiichiro." He turned to the furious, flabbergasted Parfait. "I'll come back with Ichigo after I finish here."
Zakuro nodded her head once. "Hai."
Mint waved at Crumb, Soda, and Scone. "Come on, you guys, help us take her back."
The three aliens acted right away, though they were just as dumbfounded as everyone else at what Kisshu had done. Ichigo's body was stiff and a vivid blue. When Lettuce took her hand, it was cold as ice.
"Let's hurry," Lettuce said. "The body needs more blood." It felt very strange saying "the body" instead of "Ichigo," but now the real Ichigo was with Kisshu. All they could do was repair her body so that it would survive when she entered it again.
"Bet Shirogane and Keiichiro have never had to repair an uninhabited body before," Mint mumbled under her breath, helping the others to hoist the body. It was much heavier than usual.
Lettuce glanced over at Pai and Tart, whom she knew were staying behind. Her eyes pleaded of Pai to come back safely. His eyes softened as he returned her gaze, and he bowed his head once to acknowledge her.
Turning, Lettuce took a deep breath, and all of them plunged into the pool of frigid water, leaving Kisshu and his friends to take on Parfait and bring Ichigo back home safely.
Ichigo noticed, as soon as the gained consciousness, that she wasn't cold anymore. In fact, the temperature was quite warm and pleasant. What's more, her clothes weren't wet anymore, and she wasn't lying on a hard surface. It was very comfortable, and she wished that she could just go back to sleep.
But she was too curious to do that. She opened her eyes.
It looked as if she were inside a cloud. Was she…in heaven? It was so bright and warm here, Ichigo was sure that must be it. Had she died? Was she…no longer on Earth anymore?
Slowly, Ichigo sat up, staring around her. It was very quiet, and the misty shrouds around her were moving very slowly, as if stirred by a gentle wind. If this was heaven…it seemed to be quite empty. Ichigo frowned – what kind of a heaven had no angels in it?
So then…if this wasn't heaven…then where was she? And what…what was she wearing?
She certainly wasn't in her Mew form anymore. She was just Ichigo, with her red hair hanging down a little past her shoulders, no cat ears or tail. And she was clothed in what looked like beautiful white rags – insubstantial wisps of silk that wrapped around her body softly, as smooth and airy as the clouds that surrounded her. What's more, her skin was pale, and as soft as a baby's. In wonder, she ran a hand up the opposite arm, fascinated by the sheer sleekness. Then, from somewhere behind her, she heard a low chuckle.
"Heh…have I ever told you how cute you look when you're confused, koneko-chan?"
Ichigo whirled around, her garments swirling around her. Kisshu was standing just a few feet away. His arms were crossed, and he was smirking. He was back in his normal form again.
"Kisshu!" Ichigo sprang up from the ground. Without hesitation, she ran over to him and dove into his arms. Kisshu engulfed her in an embrace, drawing her into his chest. Ichigo snuggled closer, so thankful that he'd become himself again.
But then she realized something wasn't right. She gasped. "Kisshu!" she exclaimed. "Your heart's not beating! Are-are we dead?"
Kisshu laughed, and with one hand, began to stroke her red hair. "We're souls, Ichigo," he said. "We don't need hearts pumping oxygen to lungs. We are the essence of hearts. Not the physical, but the spiritual kind."
Ichigo felt relieved, though still very confused. "So…then we're still alive on Earth, right?"
"Sure we are. There's no way that I was going to let you die."
A light went off in Ichigo's head. "That's right!" she exclaimed. "Parfait stabbed me-"
"You mean you jumped in front of me to save me," Kisshu corrected. His chest shook slightly as he gave another low laugh. "You baka. What were you thinking? I transformed so that I could-"
"Now I remember!" Ichigo drew back her fist. "What's the matter with you?!"
Kisshu gave her a blank look. "Eh?"
Without a second thought, Ichigo punched him in the gut. Doubling over, Kisshu had no choice but to endure Ichigo's rage.
"Why'd you turn yourself into a Chimera Animal? You had no idea what could've happened! Don't you know how messed up it is to change your appearance like that? Think about Aoyama-kun and Deep Blue! I was so worried while you were changing, about how you might become someone else, or worse, you might not be able to change back!"
Even though Ichigo was shouting at him, Kisshu still seemed to be laughing. As Ichigo paused, confused, Kisshu straightened up and took a step forward, unafraid of her anger.
"I'm sorry, koneko-cahn," Kisshu said. Even after Ichigo's rant, he was still smiling. "I know you were probably scared. And I know that I took a huge risk – it's never been attempted before, or at least if it was then there's no record of it."
"Waaaahhh! You baka! You shouldn't have done something so dangerous," Ichigo said, crossing her arms and scowling at him. Kisshu's smile widened. Ichigo's irritation lessened slightly with the relief she felt at seeing his teeth their normal size as well. Not to mention he didn't have those hideous claws, and he wasn't dripping with blood…
Finally, Ichigo said stiffly, "You were…awfully violent, you know."
Kisshu grimaced. He actually seemed embarrassed. "Yeah, er, well…it seems that in my Chimera Animal form I'm a lot more…uh, bloodthirsty. I wasn't sure that I would even be able to think like myself. But your voice…" Kisshu's eyes met her's. He finished, in a much quieter voice than normal, "…brought me to my senses. It made me remember my purpose. What I was fighting for."
Ichigo heard a steely intensity in his voice that he didn't use very often. He was much calmer in his spirit form. Ducking her head, she turned away in an attempt to conceal her small smile. The unusual seriousness made her a little embarrassed, but pleased. Her anger seemed to be dissipating. It was hard to stay angry for long in such a beautiful, airy place, especially when really, she was just relieved that they were both still alive.
She finally ventured, "So…remind me why exactly we're spirits?"
Kisshu smiled warmly. "Right now, you and I are sharing my body."
He laughed again at Ichigo's expression. "Truthfully, this is just as much a crime as turning myself into a Chimera – ah!"
"Ouch!" Ichigo cried. She had suddenly, for one brief moment, felt an enormous pressure on her entire being. But the pain was quick, and as it died away, Ichigo was left with a dull aching sensation. She glanced up at Kisshu, only to find that he also wore a grimace of pain.
"Sorry," Kisshu said. His yellow eyes begged Ichigo to understand. "It's not natural for two souls to share the same body. If we don't get you back in your body soon, my body will explode from the pressure of us combined."
"What?" Ichigo gasped. "You mean you would die?"
"So we have to hurry," Kisshu said. The intensity was creeping back into his voice again. "I have to take care of Parfait. Please, I promise everything will be all right. Just wait here for me." He turned, the white, filmy garments he wore so much like Ichigo's swirling around him. He started to walk away.
Ichigo dove for him. "Kisshu!" She reached out and snatched up his hand.
Stunned, Kisshu looked down, where her fingers were curved over his. Then his gaze traveled up to her face. Trembling, Ichigo gripped his fingers even tighter and said;
"Let me fight with you."
Kisshu's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Are you sure?"
"Hai." Ichigo gave him a tentative smile. "After all…you're mine, Kisshu-kun. And I belong to you. I want us to be together from now on. I want us to-"
Kisshu didn't let her finish before he yanked her into his arms, dipping his head down to engulf her in a kiss. It completely took Ichigo's breath away. His kiss was full of feeling, and pure emotion. She could feel it in the way his hand gripped the small of her back, and the way his fingers curled into her hair – the soft sound that reverberated from deep in his throat as he voiced his complete satisfaction. Ichigo stood up on her toes, twining her arms around his shoulders and feeling herself lift with giddiness and joy. They were together now. Finally, after all this time, finally they were together.
When they separated, Kisshu gave another smile that exposed his pointy teeth. "Take my hands," he told her. She did as he asked, pleased at how wonderful it felt to touch him. Kisshu told her, "Now close your eyes, and concentrate on filling up this space with your presence. It will allow you to semi-possess me so that you can direct your powers out through me."
Ichigo concentrated – she didn't even need to frown to do so. It seemed to almost come naturally, this feeling of one-ness. All of the sudden, she felt bigger than herself, as if she had just filled a huge void and was in control of a vast wellspring of power. When she opened her eyes, she received a huge shock.
A dark, dirty, furious Parfait was staring at her, anger and hatred etched into every line of her face. Ichigo gasped. "Kisshu! What's going on?"
Even though Ichigo couldn't see him anymore, she heard Kisshu laugh. The sound echoed through her ears. "You're seeing through my eyes," Kisshu said. "Try to channel your Mew Powers through my fingers. Parfait's about to attack us, so be ready."
Ichigo braced herself. "Okay."
Sure enough, the beautiful, hideous Parfait gave a blood-curdling shriek and dove at them, screaming wildly, "THAT'S IT! I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!"
Kisshu dodged as Parfait lunged at him with her dagger. Ichigo felt the movement, and felt the way that the spirit and the body were working together. Just as this occurred to her, another terrible spasm of pressure washed over her. Kisshu's cry of pain echoed in her ears. "Kisshu! Are you all right?" she asked.
"I'm okay," Kisshu assured her. "Just try and help me get rid of this bitch."
Ichigo nodded. No matter what, they had to defeat Parfait before Ichigo could get out of Kisshu's body. She clenched her hands into fists and concentrated on summoning her Mew Power.
Out of nowhere, it seemed, Kisshu's hands, which had been holding his swords, exploded with an erratic pinkish light that spat out at Parfait and caused her to fall over shrieking in pain. Ichigo gasped.
"That's your power, Ichigo," Kisshu reminded her. "Us aliens get pretty banged up when we get hit with a direct blast of that stuff."
"Oh, right," Ichigo said. She did remember hitting Kisshu and the other aliens a few times with her full power. They'd always ended up retreating. Ichigo came back into focus again, and tried to make her power go through again.
Kisshu spun, his swords flashing through the air, as Parfait ducked and dove around them. Her small dagger couldn't compare to his long swords, and the ever-increasing amount of panic on her face made Ichigo's passion toward her destruction grow less and less. When she was this scared, Parfait looked just as young and sad as she had in those memories. She looked like a scared little girl who'd seen someone she loved turn on her. Even though Ichigo continued to blast out her power in erratic explosions from Kisshu's fingertips, she couldn't help but feel worse and worse for treating Parfait this way. And worse…
Parfait had finally been backed up into a corner of the cave. She was panting heavily, her hair free of its ties and hanging loose and ragged down her back. Her lovely face was angry and defiant, and even though she was cornered, she still looked just as ready to scratch Kisshu with her nails and keep fighting.
Kisshu's voice boomed out externally. "I will never forgive you for what you've done to Ichigo."
Inside, Ichigo felt herself shudder. She'd almost forgotten that Kisshu was a Chimera Animal on the outside. That thick, guttural voice didn't sound like him at all. Worse, it sounded like a monster. Suddenly, Ichigo was seized with an irrational fear, a desire for Parfait's life to be spared. She didn't want Parfait to be ripped to shreds by this monster-Kisshu, this beast, who had no love or understanding for Parfait and her suffering.
Ichigo heard Kisshu's voice next to her ear. "Hai?"
"Close your eyes. I don't want you to see this."
Ichigo felt arms wrap around her shoulders, pulling her into an infinite warmth. She put her hands up to cover her ears, and she turned around so that she could bury her head into Kisshu's chest, sheltering her from the outside, where she was sure, Parfait was screaming.
Gasping painfully, Kisshu pulled his sword out of the corpse with difficulty. It tumbled unceremoniously onto the cold, wet stone. Without looking at the face, Kisshu turned away.
The cave was completely empty, except for his two friends. Tart was gripping the vial full of souls as if his life depended on it, shaking from head to foot. Even Pai looked quite stunned. He didn't even bother trying to hide his feelings.
Kisshu stumbled over to them. He cried out, gripping his heart, as another surge of pressure raced through his chest. He looked up at his friends and gasped, "Help…help me!"
As his friends rushed in, Kisshu's entire body shattered in pain. He screamed.
Was that…sunlight? How could it be? Was she really dead this time?
No…she couldn't be…not when she felt so incredibly sore. Blearily, Ichigo opened her eyes, trying to make sense of what she saw.
A pair of golden eyes stared down at her, soaking up every inch of her face. Ichigo recognized them immediately. Her face broke out into a sleepy smile.
"Kisshu," she said hoarsely.
Kisshu smiled. "Morning, koneko-chan." Lazily, he floated down from where he'd been hovering and stretched out beside her on the bed. He was back to his normal form again.
And apparently, so was she. Which explained the soreness all over her body, and especially the numbness in her chest. Slowly, it was all coming back to Ichigo. The fight, Parfait, what Kisshu had done to save her…
"Kisshu," she asked, reaching up with one hand and rubbing her eyes. "What happened after you…after Parfait…?"
Kisshu reached out and laced his fingers through hers, giving her his trademark grin. "We came back here, of course. Ryou and Keiichiro had fixed up your body enough so that it was safe to put you back in here. You've been sleeping for two days since then."
Ichigo nodded sluggishly. "And you're back to normal too, huh?"
"Yup. Got the Infuser out of my chest."
Ichigo gripped his hand tighter. "Don't ever do that again, okay?"
"I won't. I'll be lucky enough not to get thrown in jail when I get back."
"Would they really do that?" Ichigo asked, worry creasing her brow. Kisshu shrugged.
"Dunno. Maybe if the guys don't rat me out I can keep it a secret." Kisshu winked. Ichigo suddenly remembered.
"Kisshu! How is everybody else? Pudding? And Tart? Lettuce, and Pai? Mint, Zakuro-san-?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down, koneko-chan!" Kisshu tapped her playfully on the nose. "I'll tell you everything. Right now, Tart is using his plant manipulation skills to grow flowers outside the Café – and also, I'm thinking, to grow a bouquet to give to Pudding, who is sitting with him outside. She doesn't have quite all of her energy back, but she's pretty bouncy and just as hyper as ever."
Ichigo smiled. "Well, that's good."
Kisshu nodded. A smirk crept up onto his face. "Pai and Lettuce are sitting under a tree together. Reading some book. I didn't ask what it was about, they looked way too into each other for me to be interested. In any case, I haven't seen Pai look so relaxed in a long time, so I guess Lettuce is doing some good for him."
"They are so good together," Ichigo said happily. Her heart swelled with happiness for her friend. "And what about the others?"
"Ryou, Keiichiro, Crumb, Soda, and Scone are in the kitchen right now," Kisshu explained. "Talking about data or something stupid like that. Zakuro went back to work, and Mint has some kind of dance performance to go to."
Ichigo smiled. Hai, they did indeed have lives outside of being Mews. At least, Ichigo used to, before Kisshu and the others returned to Earth. Now her life seemed to be all blended together, all the parts mixing into one. But Ichigo was okay with that now. As long as Kisshu was here with her, she could get along just fine as both a Mew and a normal high school girl.
"Ah!" Kisshu said suddenly. He looked as though he'd just been struck by inspiration. "That reminds me! I forgot to tell you, the enemy aliens have temporarily left Earth!"
"Eh?" Ichigo asked in shock. "What? Why?"
"Well," Kisshu said, a note of pride in his voice, "I wounded the Chief enough that they decided they weren't ready to face off against us for real. We were really beating them down last time we met, so I think they wanted to go back and regroup first before they try again. So at least for now, you all are safe!"
"Are you sure they're really gone?" Ichigo asked doubtfully. It seemed too good to be true. "Weren't you guys having a hard time even tracking them down before?"
"We got confirmation that their ship left Earth's atmosphere," Kisshu explained. "I guess last time they must've gotten here before us, and that's why we never figured out they'd even come until they showed up and attacked you out in the open. Lousy bakas…" Kisshu frowned at the memory. Ichigo reached out and touched his cheek.
"So I guess that eventually, we'll all have to get back out there and defeat them, right?"
Kisshu raised his eyebrows, surprised. "Eh? You wanna fight too?"
"Of course." Ichigo punched him lightly in the chest. "I gotta stop you from doing something stupid like transforming yourself again."
Kisshu laughed. With one hand, he began to stroke her hair. "I'm sorry for causing you so much trouble. But you know, I always have been a bit on the wicked side."
Ichigo giggled. "Hai, you have."
Kisshu wiggled his eyebrows. "Some things never change."
Ichigo answered, leaning over to give him a kiss, "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Goodbye, Ichigo and Kisshu! Be happy and go on many more wonderful adventures together! Maybe somebody else can write about them more grandly and adventurously than I! My greatest wish is that you would all find out for yourselves the sheer joy that writing can bring. Espcially when it's written from the heart.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS THE BEST FAN FICTION EXPERIENCE EVER!!!!!!!!!! I'LL NEVER FORGET YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!! SEE YOU IN ANOTHER STORY!
Much Love to All,