title. ignore the gravitational pull
disclaimer.
applied
summary.
she's the prettiest bride. And he's the best man.
prompt/s. "the correct way of saying I DO is to choke and vomit"
warning.
lame title –runs and hides-
note.
as requested by angel-p! :]

.i

Tatsuki's reaction was loud, almost violent.

"What?"

While Ichigo's merely consisted of eye widening and a piercing stare. Chad was, as usual, silent, offering no reaction, verbal or facial.

Orihime beamed.

"Are you sure?"

The smile on the auburn-haired young woman slowly strained. Tatsuki noticed, "I mean," she quickly amended, glancing at Ichigo who silently stared at Orihime with a carefully blank expression. Tatsuki looked back to her best friend. "Orihime…"

"I'm sorry, Tatsuki-chan. I wanted to tell you sooner, but…" she shrugged.

"Orihime—"

Orihime gave her another smile, "Don't worry. This is what I wanted." Tatsuki stiffened with a pained expression.

"But—"

"Drop it, Tatsuki."

Ichigo finally interjected, his tone cool, detached. Forcefully neutral. His boyish friend looked at him with something akin to worry, lips curling in an apprehensive frown.

"Didn't you hear what she said?" He gave the auburn-haired a quick glance, and then scowled at Tatsuki. "It is what she wants."

Tatsuki opened her mouth again, but Ichigo narrowed his eyes, his eyebrows furrowing conversationally. The girl puffed and crossed her arms stubbornly, her face in a scowl.

Orihime's lashes crinkled in half moons as she smiled widely. "Thank you, Kurosaki-kun."

From the corner of her eye, Tatsuki saw Ichigo stiffen, his jaw clenching, eyes in a deadpanned frown. Tatsuki glanced at his hands, and watched him slowly slid them inside his pockets.

Her eyes flicked upward, watching his neck.

There was a swallow. There was definitely a swallow.

And a faint smile, very faint smile. One corner of his mouth turned up higher than the other. His eyes were open and half-lidded, but there were no emotions in there, but tiredness, most probably from studying to be a doctor. He didn't look sleep-deprived or brain-dead from knowledge overload. It's more like he was drained, very, very tired.

"Anytime, Inoue."

Her smile grew brighter as she beamed up to him. And maybe it hurt his eyes because it was bright, bright and it was dazzling like the sun, because Ichigo looked away.

Tatsuki sighed sharply, and her shoulders slumped in defeat. "Fine," grumbled Tatsuki, turning her face away. "Fine, Orihime. If you're happy, then, so be it."

Orihime turned away from Ichigo to face Sado who quietly regarded her, looked somewhere above her head and back to her. Orihime blinked her large eyes, and Sado flashed a thumb's up sign.

"Amazing! Thank you so much, guys!" She grinned at them happily. "Four days from now…" Her voice trailed off softly, lowering her chin, her face soft, her eyes bright, her hair brighter.

Ichigo, Tatsuki and Sado watched the auburn-orange haired woman with different, respective expressions.

Ichigo watched her mouth open, close and her lips pressed tightly together as though steeling her resolve. Slowly, her tongue came out to wet her lips, then, she swallowed.

Amber eyes lifted and met a pair of silvery, gray eyes.

Those silver eyes blinked, the moment was gone, and Ichigo didn't stop staring, didn't care if he was obvious or if it was rude. He took in her radiant smile that slowly spread across her face. Looking at her was painful, he didn't know why, though.

But it hurt. It was painful.

Maybe because her smile was too radiant. Too bright to look at.

But he kept looking, anyway.

"…four days, in four days…" She repeated.

Tatsuki's face slowly crumpled.

Sado remained passive.

Ichigo looked up to the sky and watched the telephone lines, the birds, the clouds, the sunshine.

"…I'm going to be married."

ignore the gravitational pull.

.ii

Tatsuki waited until she was gone. As soon as Orihime was out of earshot, she punched Ichigo's arm. The orange-haired young man merely grunted, not meeting her eye.

"Ichigo!"

He lifted a hand and scratched his messy hair.

"What?" he asked flatly, still rubbing his head.

Sado watched the thin woman swell like a sabertooth tiger before hollering. "What the hell was that!"

Ichigo arched his brow irritably, glowering at Tatsuki. "Are you deaf?" he snapped. He shoved his hands inside his pockets, pushed off the rail and scowled down at his longest friend. He was standing against the wind, and the breeze ruffled his thick hair, making it messier and falling to his intense eyes.

"She's getting married. That's what."

Tatsuki groaned loudly in frustration. "I know that, Ichigo! But there was something wrong with the picture." She hissed, "and you know what it is."

He stared at her for a moment, face blank. Then, his expression hardened.

"Are you blind?" grunted Ichigo, eyebrows straight above his eyes. "She's happy." He put hard emphasis on the last word.

Tatsuki countered his glare with a small, harmless curl of her lip.

"Are you?"

Ichigo stiffened.

.iii

"It doesn't matter."

"But—"

"Tatsuki."

"…"

"She's happy. I respect that happiness."

"…"

"Even if it's not with me."

"…Ichigo."

"You should respect it too."

.iv

There was an engagement party that night, held in one of the most expensive hotels. Few friends were present, hand-picked. Several came from their school. Surprisingly there were some faces from Soul Society like Rukia, Renji, Toshiro, Rangiku, Ikkaku, Ayesagawa, Yachiru. Ukitake. Hisagi.

Kurosaki Isshin came with Yuzu and Karin.

Kisuke, Yoruichi and Tessai.

Ishida Ryuuken.

Tatsuki came with Ichigo and Sado, and the three of them joined Rukia and Renji's table. Minutes later, the engaged pair arrived. The bride-to-be was in simple white strapless dress with white thick belt that accentuated her hips; her neck, shoulders and arms were bare. Her thick, very long auburn hair was in a chic updo, a white lily poking out of it. She wore no accessories, no bracelets, no earrings.

Just her engagement ring.

She smiled at the small crowd, and Rukia made a comment that Orihime looked especially pretty tonight. Rangiku mentioned that it must be because she's happy.

Renji glanced at the orange-haired flatly from the corner of his eye.

Rukia followed his example, then Rangiku, Toshiro, Sado, lastly, Tatsuki.

After five heartbeats, Ichigo blinked, frowned, puzzled at the stare. Then moving as one entity, the six pair of eyes swung back to the pair.

They were standing by their table.

A throat cleared.

"Kurosaki."

.v

"…Ishida."

.vi

The silence was unbearable. And it was broken by a sickly-sugary-sweet high school girl voice.

"Congratulations, Ishida!"

Renji and Toshiro sighed.

.vii

Tatsuki shifted her weight form one to another as she held the microphone.

"Well…" She lifted her gaze and met Orihime's gray eyes. She smiled back as her best friend beamed at her.

Happiness.

That's what she saw.

Ichigo.

Tatsuki shook her head.

"Congratulations." She heard a vague snort, and she knew it was from Rukia. Lame, I know. Tatsuki thought fiercely. But there was nothing specially good or pretty or cheesy she can come up with. Maybe if things were different, the characters involved were a little different, maybe she'd cry.

But Orihime smiled at her, she could not help but smile back.

"I don't care who you'd end up with, but what matters to me and to your friends, is your happiness."

The smile became watery.

"Thank you, Tatsuki-chan."

.viii

People began to stare. Renji nudged Rukia with his knee. "Oi, start talking." He stage whispered.

When Rukia did, Renji, Ichigo, Rangiku, Toshiro, Sado and Tatsuki regretted ever handing her the microphone.

"My ship sank."

Many eyes blinked. Renji face-palmed.

But the next words gutted her friends.

.ix

"I can't believe you chose Ishida."

Renji cursed under his breath.

"When obviously, there was someone who can give you something so much more."

Tatsuki looked up to Rukia.

"But like Tatsuki said, what matters most is your happiness. So, if your happiness is with him," the noble woman jerked her chin towards Ishida who looked calm and collected, "then so be it."

After that, she shoved the microphone onto Ichigo's face.

.x

Rukia was smirking at him knowingly, and Ichigo hated that look. Grunting, he snatched the thing from her small hand. The smirk widened bitterly.

"Say something nice."

Ichigo didn't know if she was mocking him or what. It was definitely the first.

"Tch." He stood up and his hair stuck out like a sore thumb in the sea of white flowers and carnations, white linens and expensive glassware.

He didn't look at her. Instead, he addressed Ishida.

"Make her happy."

Somewhere, a heart skipped a beat.

Ishida didn't blink at Ichigo's intense stare.

Rukia watched Orihime's expression, which didn't shift at all.

"Uryu."

Surprise flickered over the Quincy's face.

And she blinked, and for a second there, Rukia saw something flicker in those sea-gray eyes.

"Orihime."

There was another blink, and another heartbeat.

Rukia watched them look at each other.

Unfaltering.

Overflowing.

A comfortable, but sad, silence.

Then, there was a smile. The same smile when he was fifteen, when Orihime greeted him a 'good morning' and he greeted her back and she asked , why oh why Kurosaki-kun is so tense.

"Don't get hurt."

Gray eyes widened, filling her face.

Because it was heartbreakingly familiar.

One corner of his mouth turned up higher than the other, a very faint smile.

"Do what you want. Just don't get hurt."

.xi

"My, my… Don't we look dashing, Ichigo?" Rangiku sat down beside him. "This is so ironic that I want to cry and laugh at the same time."

Ichigo glared.

"You look so handsome."

Brows furrowed deeper.

"Today, you're going to watch the first day of your nightmare."

In the background, the wedding march began to play. Rangiku elegantly stood up, dressed in white and pink, looking beautiful as usual.

"You're a masochist."

Ichigo grunted and leaned back, closing his eyes.

.xii

With a scowl she found so funny, he watched from the fourth row, beside Sado. He watched her walked down the aisle, wearing white, her hair in an updo with few curls around her face, ears and few locks cascaded down her back.

She was painfully beautiful. Like a sun dressed in white. Like a supernova carrying a bouquet of sunflowers, smiling, smiling, smiling.

And it hurt to look.

He tried to look away, but he can't.

Because this would be the last of his daydreams and the first of his nightmare.

Orihime.

Unexpectedly, their eyes met. His brows furrowed, her stare very direct.

And he held her gaze until she blinked and turned away from his gaze to smile at the man who waited at the altar.

With a scowl he tried so hard, so hard, so hard to maintain, he closed his eyes and listened.

.xiii

Orihime smiled first before replying.

"I do."

Tatsuki flinched. Ichigo's face moved, molar grinding. For a second, his mask cracked, and emotions flitted over his face.

The crowd waited for Uryu to respond.

Minutes passed, and they began to frown.

Tatsuki raised a brow when Uryu glanced around to the faces in the crowd. Suspiciously, his eyes lingered the longest on Ichigo. As expected, Ichigo narrowed his eyes and glared pointedly, intensely. The amber eyes were glowing brightly, violently.

The staring contest continued, and Ichigo, as felt by Tatsuki, was becoming more and more—

Uryu abruptly broke the stare and looked back to his beautiful bride.

.xiv

"Uryu-kun? I—"

.xv

"No, you don't."

.end