Author's song choice: The Point of No Return & Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer from The Phantom of the Opera. Anyone noticed my avatar - The Phantom of Los Noches? (not done by me)
Disclaimer: After all, I don't own Bleach nor Phantom.
Chapter 14 - Finale
Orihime… Please forgive me...
He had been so dwelled on giving her his sight all these years, the sight that, but for him, would not have been lost. But what would his wife that he had vowed to protect, love, cherish, through sickness and healthy think when she overheard his conversation with Dr. Ishida?
He'd be damned if she thought he was tired of looking after her. He had made a decision without consulting her when they were supposed to be a team of man and wife. Not only that, but the implication of giving her his eyes… How is he ever going to protect and care for her? He was already doing a damn shitty job as it is.
That sick bastard!
He cursed through clenched teeth as he hurried to the address scribbled on a piece of paper. Each second he took was an additional second he exposed his wife to danger. Promising himself that there'd be murder if that sick bastard even dared to touch a strand of his wife's hair, he ran.
Please be alright my love… Please!
Her auburn mane cascaded on the white fluffy pillow, her pretty features complemented by the porcelain smooth skin, her long lashes that fluttered ever so lightly fanned her cheeks, she was a true definition of sleeping beauty.
With one hand in the pocket of his white pants, he watched her with green emotionless eyes. His own heart was failing him and left him with barely three months to live. Was it time he received her heart? After all, this woman took his heart a decade ago. Is it too much to ask for a fair trade?
Staring at her blouse where the top button was undone, he reached to her exposed neck and gently stroked her milky skin, before slowly reaching down lower to the shinny gold chain, lightly tugging it out of her blouse.
"Uluqiorra-kun." the young auburn haired girl, barely 16, smiled as she hopped towards him.
"Orihime-chan. This is for you." the black haired gentleman, mature at 21, dressed prim and properly in a suit.
"It's beautiful! But..." her grey eyes shone in surprise at the gold heart shaped locket presented to her.
"I want you to have - my heart." his firm words made the girl blushed profusely.
No doubt, he was aware of an uninvited guest watching them intently while trying but failing to hide behind the tree. The foolish orange haired boy was probably interested in the girl who stood in front of him, speechless as she bit her lower lip, her gaze downcast.
It didn't matter, his dad would made arrangements with Sora Inoue for them to wed. At that moment, he smirked at the orange boy, feeling sorry for him. But the sooner the better for the young boy to wake up from his dream and face reality.
"I will come to officially ask for your hand in marriage in three months'."
He could have sworn the air became dark and oppressive from the glare the orange haired boy was giving him, while the girl stood awkward in silence before him. But it didn't matter. She would soon be his wife. His family had everything. The orange haired boy had nothing.
But half a year later he realised that he had miscalculated. His equation did not factor in that she later fell deeply and irrevocably in love with the orange haired boy, or that she had gave herself to the boy, or that she was pregnant with his child, or that Sora would cancel their wedding. Minus all those facts, she could have been his wife instead.
Slowly her eyes parted open, and she quickly pushed herself up on the cushiony bed.
"Where am I? What do you want with me?"
"Why are you… wearing this?"
Under the romantic moonlight, the two secret lovers stood before the fountain.
Hot kisses found their way to the exposed swell of her generous bosom as he tried his best to tug the pink dress lower. She arched her back into his form, offering more of herself. Furrowing her brows as her eyes slowly opened, she stared in confusion at the boy.
His fist clenched at his sides as he glared at the spot between her breasts, where under the moonlight, an offensive shinny object rested.
"Have you… Do you feel anything for that man?" he grabbed the locket, pulling her closer to him.
"What are you talking about?" biting her lip as she lowered her gaze to the gold locket, she realized she shouldn't have worn it.
No, she should have returned it to Uluqiorra-san. But before she explained further, Ichigo backed away from her, releasing the locket as if he was burnt. His shoulders tensed as he breathed heavily.
She took a step forward and encircled her arms around his waist, leaning her head on his back. Reluctantly, but firmly, he pushed her arms away to break the contact.
"I won't stop you if you want t-"
"Ichi.. please.. You're the one I love!" she pulled the necklace over her head, shaking her hair off the chain and hurried to stand in front of him.
"If it makes you unhappy, I'll throw it away!" without a blink of an eye, she turned and tossed the gold necklace into the fountain.
Before she knew it, he dashed into the fountain and started fishing for the gold necklace. The romantic moonlight in this case wasn't helping. By the time he found the necklace, he was all wet like a drenched rat. His old brown shirt clung to his body like a second skin.
Opening the locket, his amber eyes widened at the sight of the familiar five words in cursive engravings.
"Confused between following the path set for me and the other path my heart aches for… That night I took a closer look and saw the words 'if I were the rain' in the locket he gave me... and got inspired."
"If I were the rain, would I be able to bind the hearts of two together?" Ichigo whispered the poem that she shared with him.
Orihime nodded when he looked into her eyes.
"In a way, his locket gave me the courage to choose my own path... and two the hearts I want to bind… is yours and mine."
Ichigo felt bewildered at his own jealous fit. He loved her and he trusted her. But his insecurities about himself got the better of him. She was a shining star with bright future, beautiful as an goddess, she could have any man she wanted. She could have a man like Uluqiorra Aizen. But she chose him - the penniless orphan aspiring to be a composer.
He took the necklace, stood behind her and wore it for her.
"I'm sorry Hime, I-" his sentence was interrupted as she turned around to kiss him softly on the lips.
"Hn. How ironic."
"I'm sorry about what happened, Uluqiorra-san." Her sincere voice took him by surprise.
"Does this mean you owe me one?" His lips tugged upwards.
"What do you want fr-"
"I have heart cancer. What if I said I wanted your heart?"
Orihime swallowed thickly as she pondered his question.
"Are you afraid of me girl?"
"No. I'm not scared. "
Fierce pounding on the door startled the trio in the room.
"Girl, I think… We have a guest." Uluqiorra smirked.
"Ichigo?" Orihime's head turned to the direction of her husband's voice and the loud banging on the door.
"PLEASE LET ME SEE HER! ORIHIME!"
"Your lover makes a compassionate plea." Closing the bedroom door as Uluqiorra stepped out, he limped through the living room of the suite till he stood before the door.
Slowly, he opened the main door, meeting the panic worn amber eyes with his calm green ones.
"I had rather hope that you would come."
"Uluqiorra. I should have known it was you. Where is she? Do what you like to me, but free her!!"
"Did you think that I would harm her? Why should I make her pay, for the sins that are yours?" Uluqiorra's cold eyes continued to stare at him.
"Please let me see her!" Ichigo begged desperately.
But he was caught off guard when Uluqiorra stepped aside and led him into the suite, pointing to the direction of the bedroom.
"Be my guest Sir."
Wasting no time, Ichigo dashed into the room.
"Orihime, are you alright?"
Letting out a breath of relief the very second he saw that his wife was unharmed. But his relief didn't last till the next second, taken aback, he was completely dumbfounded by the sight before him.
"Ichigo!" Orihime gave him a smile, a smile that told him that she was alright.
"W-who's t-that little br-?" Ichigo frowned at the giggling green haired toddler nesting on his wife's bosoms, clutching tightly onto the older woman's neck.
"I don't believe that's the way you should address the generous donor to La Palais."
Uluqiorra appeared right beside Ichigo, his silent footsteps never fail to amaze.
"Meet Neliel Uluqiorra Aizen."
On the grand opening week of La Palais... While the crowd clapped and cheered in the opera house after a spectacular orchestra performance yet, the solemn mood in the hospital was quite the contrary.
"I love you."
"Be good for me and your mama."
The black haired man gave his most priced possession a long hard kiss on her forehead before nodding to his once arch rival, now his most trusted friend.
It broke Ichigo's heart to have to tear Neliel's death grip away from Uluqiorra. But it was long decided – the point of return. Uluqiorra had gave a substantial part of his will to fund La Palais and the rest to support Neliel. In return, he received Ichigo's word to protect and love her as if she was his own child. Alas, he was ready to go.
Ichigo cradled the silently sobbing toddler who seemingly understood what was happening, and left the ward, leaving his wife and Uluqiorra for one private final moment.
Orihime gave him the brightest smile she could as she sat close to him. It was a moment they both forget and forgive the past, the hurt and the lost of their loved ones, understanding and accepting each other the way they are.
"You promised me your heart."
"I did. And I will love her with all my heart."
He took a last glance of her beautiful face and reached his hand to her.
"Thank you Orihime."
"You are a good man, Uluqiorra. I should thank you instead."
Feeling his hand near her face, she reached hers to him. But his hand fell lifelessly onto the white sheets, along with her silent tears.
Five years had past since La Palais reopened, and the opera house was reliving its glorious days once more.
"Please stop fighting!"
A dark raven haired girl who had two pigtails stood behind a girl with strawberry blonde waves that ended above her tiny shoulders. They stared at the red haired boy wrestling with the silver haired boy on the sand.
"Oni-chan! I'm going to tell…" the raven haired girl spoke softly but clearly.
The red haired boy frowned the minute his twin sister used that threat. He knew his red-haired old man and raven haired mom would beat him to a pulp if they heard about the fight.
"I know, let's play a new game." the strawberry blonde girl jumped as she exclaimed.
"The last to reach my Nee-san is the loser. On the count of one-" She winked to Jinta and Ururu and the three sped off while she yelled. "Two-three!"
"Not fair! Just you wait!" the silver haired boy grinned a fox like smile before running towards them.
"Nee-san" the strawberry blonde girl yelped as she turned towards the playground where her sister playing on the swing.
Hearing her little sister's calling, she gave a quick peck to the golden heart locket necklace that contained her parent's black and white picture before shutting it close.
Smiling as her one-year-younger-sister and the Abarai twins, who were all panting heavily, reached the swing. Being the eldest, she got off her swing and offered it to the two younger girls, motioning for them to take the swings.
Before they knew it, the son of Uncle Toushiro and Aunt Momo lunged himself on her strawberry blonde sister, his arms around her form.
"Let me go!" she pouted (a trait she learned from her mother) when she heard her green haired elder sister laughing at her instead of helping her.
"Nuh uh. I caught you. So I get the swing, and you have to push me."
"Gin-kun! If you don't let me go, I'm gonna kiss you."
At this, Jinta rolled on the floor laughing, while Ururu who took a seat on the swing giggled along.
As the girl lean forwards to him, the boy whose natural complexion was fair as daylight now spotted pink, he let go off the girl quickly, but not quick enough as she planted a firm kiss on his cheek.
"Eww! That was gro-"
"Come on be a gentleman Gin, give Ran a push." Neliel cleared her throat and stared at the boy. Being the eldest of the pack, everyone always listened to the big sister.
The blushing little boy complied as he sighed in defeat as he moved behind the clapping girl (a trait she learned from her mother) who had claimed the empty swing.
Standing by the kindergarden, Orihime laughed at the scene she had just witnessed. Smiling when she felt a hand encircled with hers, she turned her green eyes to her husband.
"They're growing up so fast. Especially Neliel, she's so mature. That Rangiku is so playful."
"Yeah, and I'm gonna have a hard time chasing off the boys in 10 years' time." He shook his head while his wife chuckled.
"We're so blessed aren't we, Ichi?"
"Yeah, we are. Seems like everything happened for a reason. Thank God the surgery went well. Ouch!" he winced at his wife's elbow that connected with his ribs.
"Hime, what was that for?"
"I haven't punished you for actually thinking of leaving me and our child behind with your eyes." But her hands quickly rubbed the spot where she hit him, soothing him albeit how light her attack was.
"I'm sorry for being stupid. You can punish me later…" his dark eyes conveyed his desires as he leaned his forehead on hers.
"What about the kids?" her green eyes turned hazy as she parted her lips to receive his hot hard kiss.
"Let's dump them at Renji and Rukia's… they can play with their kids." He panted breathlessly.
Finally, they were whole.
P.S. In case you're wondering about the gold locket - it was mentioned in Chapter 9 Scene 3. I might do a bonus chapter, depending on reviews. I thought they look perfect for the roles - Rangiku is the daughter of IchiHime, Gin the son of HitsuHina, and Jinta & Ururu the twins of Renkia.
But I guess most of you are delighted to know that I will start on WCBH II next; or HH since the reviews per hit beat WCBH by a mile.
P.P.S. For the hundredth time, what's up with people stilll writing one-sided IchiHime fics, posting them as Ichigo and Inoue and wrapped it up with a IchiRuki ending? Ichihime is a fantasy but IchiRuki is a sick delusion. *Blitch-bitch-slap-attack*. So my dear readers, beware!
Tip: Click on author's profile to be sure you're not reading more than what you asked for.
This is the last lap of our wonderful journey, this fic has been a joy to write and I'm very proud of it. Thank you all for sticking with me.
My gratitude goes to everyone who favourited the fic and especially those who ever took (and those who will take) the effort to review the fic, it always makes my day!
Last but not least, I dedicate this with love to:
Enelya87. Lyhime. Raye Lynne. BlackRoseInc. Emuri. jamminmarie65. bloodyrose1294. DancerGrl16. x-Arteest. princess-myu. Wolfy-chan08. missdramatikkkk. zodious. Bullet2tm.