One last time: after this, there is no way that I will ever own any rights to Bleach, its poor defenseless characters, or any merchandising rights whatsoever. Same for whatever obscure references I happen to make.

Orihime lay on her bed for the first time in a month, as if only sleeping, as if she could wake up at any second.

Ichigo really wished that she would.

If she would, if she could, he wouldn't have to… to…

"Do you guys have to be in here?" Ichigo asked Tatsuki, Rukia, Renji, Rangiku, Gin, Momo, Toshiro, Hanataro, Jinta, Ururu, Urahara, (worst of all) Yachiru, and the big man upon whose back she sat. Honestly, he wasn't sure how Kenpachi was fitting in here, never mind all of them plus Kenpachi. It made no more sense than the cartoon crab giving him pointers on kissing, as if he'd never…

Okay, admittedly, he never had kissed a girl.

But Orihime wasn't exactly any girl, and…

Wait, when had she gone from Inoue to Orihime?

Ichigo wracked his brains for an answer… He honestly didn't know.

"Hurry up, Ichigo," Tatsuki sniggered.

"Don't keep the princess waiting," Gin chided.

"Can we kill him?" Yachiru smiled.

"After he does something useful," Kenpachi told her.


"'Cuz I'm the one who saved your ass from the spoon guy," Kenpachi snorted.

"Language!" Momo protested.

"Merde, Kuzo, Sheize—"

"Not in different languages!" Momo cried.

"Those're for the wrong word, anyway," Gin informed him.


Ichigo, Hoya, and Hikarei seized the distraction and pushed the whole crowd out. They protested, so both dogs sat against the door. Ichigo smiled his thanks before turning back to the bed…

And his brain shorted out, yet again, at what he was about to do.

What he kinda had to do, if he wanted to see her awake, again.

With her smile.

And her laugh.

And her Kyoketsu no Shoge.

And her cute little way of—STOP THERE! SHE WOULDN'T LIKE YOU ANYWAY!

Ichigo bent down, for the first time realized how awkward they would be after this, and gulped audibly. At least she wasn't like Tatsuki, who would punch his nose off for something like this. He closed his eyes, made himself lean closer, opened his eyes back up because he couldn't see where she was, felt really creepy for doing this, clenched his fists, closed the distance…

Ichigo's lips brushed hers, and he awkwardly applied pressure. How were you supposed to do this anyway— Orihime squeaked in shock, which should not have been a turn-on dammit, and Ichigo backpedaled at Mach 3. But if his face had lit up like a bonfire…

Orihime's face was the Burning of Rome. "Ku-ku-ku… Kurosa-saki-k-kun?"

"I-ah-Chizuru-love potion-coma-I-uh…" Oh, God, this was humiliating and she was probably going to sic Hikarei on him…

"Magic coma needing a k-kiss to fix it?"

Ichigo stared in open shock, and barely managed to nod his head.

"Arigato, Kurosaki-kun," Orihime beamed, blush starting to go down.


Awkward silence.

"So-so, uhm…" Change the subject, he had to change the subject! "Did you know Aizen was behind the whole thing?"

Orihime blinked, and looked a little sad for some reason. "Aizen-kun? Really?"

Yes, a subject change! "Yeah, he actually had this ridiculously long plan—"


"Waaaah! Don't break my door down!" Orihime cried. Hoya and Hikarei quickly moved, then went out the window to avoid the surge of people that followed. Tatsuki was first, and caught Orihime in a flying tackle/hug. Everybody else was quick to follow, and Ichigo soon found himself shoved right up against the bed.

"So you scare us half to death by conking out," Tatsuki began, "and in busts Aizen, all melodramatic and calling it 'such a pity'…"

"Actually, none of us heard him enter," Rukia conceded.

"And then he launches into this explanation of the most convoluted plot imaginable short of faking his own death, including feeding a year-old-Chizuru bad sauerkraut…"

Orihime gasped. "He deliberately turned her EVIL?"

"Yeah, but then it wore off just in time…"

"He may have actually planned that," Renji muttered, eyes wide with realization. Rukia rolled hers.

"And she starts taking him on with a Jinx of all things."

"Huh?" Orihime frowned at that. "What other Pokémon would she have?"

"True. But…"

And so they all took turns—aka interrupted Tatsuki to get their five cents in—bringing Orihime up to speed with regards to the plot, the attacks on every bystanding Pokemon, the legendaries… the amazing battle, and she was sure that she'd regret missing it for the rest of her life. But…

"MARBLES?" Orihime exclaimed, torn between amazement and horror. "Tho-those two played marbles?"

"And came one game of Rock Paper Scissors away from summoning the King," Rukia informed her, eyes dark.

"The-The Soul King?" Orihime exclaimed, wide eyes shooting toward Urahara.

"Now now, I won," Urahara smiled. "I'm sure that nothing so drastic as the summoning of Him could have occurred…"

"Says the guy who has a Lugia," Ichigo muttered.

"And so Aizen's in a can of Holy Tree of Gainax Endings and should never, ever be able to escape…"

Orihime turned to her window, fully expecting someone to run in screaming about Aizen's escape.

"Guys guys guys!" Some guy—who looked like the love-child of Aizen and Chad— shot into the window, eyes wide, before exclaiming, "SOME GUY CALLED TSUKISHIMA'S BEEN DECLARED THE NEW VILLAIN!"

Everyone gasped in horror. Orihime joined the others in staring, wide-eyed, at the flame-haired child who looked absolutely frantic with worry and…

"Is it…" Rukia gulped, licked her lips…

"A filler villain?" Tatsuki-chan finished, fingers itching toward her sword.

"Worse," the new guy murmured, his friends appearing behind him. "The author's continuing the story."

Several people began screaming.

End chapter.

On second thought, I figured I'd keep the story going. "Happily Ever After" isn't one of my favs, and realistically stories with characters like these two just wouldn't end that way. Writing Ichigo kissing Orihime was awkward enough on its own. Writing him in-character and declaring feelings for her… yeah, Kubo really did create the perfect asexual protagonist, second only to Luffy himself. In short, this is gonna take awhile.