Well, this is the final installment of Blood Secrets. Do I have any last words? Not really. Except thanks to all that reviewed and basically enjoyed reading this! I had just as much fun as you did writing this! Really, your comments spurred me to write and update and I actually didn't want to write this because I thought I was going to cry…
But I couldn't avoid this. It isn't much Toshiro and Gin but more of Toshiro and Momo. I SERIOUSLY like her now oh my god! But not like, she and Tosh are meant to be. Girl please you are no match for Toshikins Gin! But see, when I wrote this, I didn't want to make her another Orihime. You know, completely useless and shit. I wanted her to actually be helpful. And she was! I hope…
So I hope you guys like this chapter too. If you guys can guess, I used a Bleach quote from Fade to Black in this. See if you can find it! And I am sorry but I HAD to take a jab at Twilight in this! My inspiration was begging me to!
So here goes peeps!^^
Momo grabbed the boy by his arm and pulled him back towards her.
'Oh no you don't, SenSen,' she scolded and dragged him into church. 'Your mother and father told me specifically to take you to church and that is exactly what I am going to do it!'
'No fair!' SenSen whined. 'If they get to skip it why can't I?'
'That's because your mother is pregnant and your dad has to take care of her,' Momo said matter-of-factly and plopped him down on a seat.
SenSen grumbled something about cruelty towards children and how he would call child welfare next time. Momo allowed herself a giggle before quieting down as the priest walked in. She then leaned towards SenSen.
'If you stay quiet, I'll take you to the fair after this,' she whispered. His golden eyes immediately lit up and he beamed at Momo.
'You mean the Hitsugaya Carnival?' he whispered excitedly. Momo nodded. He quickly diverted all his attention towards Father Shusui as he delivered his sermon, even sitting ramrod straight to prove to her how hard he was concentrating. Momo laughed once again but this time in her head. Then, she leaned back in her seat to gaze up at the elaborately painted ceilings and drift off.
It was really 14 years ago when Toshiro left home. 14 years ago he was transformed into a vampire and vowed to remain with his new people as their prince. And also, with his lover. At first, Momo was devastated. She just found her best friend and almost immediately she was forced to part with him again. But that time, it was his choice and he chose to leave. And Momo couldn't force Toshiro to come with her because it would make her happy. The reason she had wanted to rescue him in the first place was to see him smiling again. And if being with Gin was going to do that then so be it. For once, she wanted to sacrifice for him. For once, she wanted to be the one to make him happy.
'Sister Hinamori!' SenSen hissed and nudged her out of her reverie. Momo jumped at the touch and stared blankly at the little sandy-haired boy for a minute before she realized that he was offering her the communion wine.
She took a quick sip and passed it onto the next person. Her hurt clenched a little as she smiled at the honey blonde adjacent to her. The girl returned a feeble smile. She felt sorry for Kiyone. Her father, Ukitake, died last winter due to tuberculosis. He had the disease for a while and the death was expected but when a loved one dies it is always hard to accept even though you knew it was going to happen.
Momo sighed as she placed a cool hand on her hot forehead. So much had happened in the last 14 years since Toshiro left. For starters, a pact was formed between the magical creatures and the magicians of all the neighboring tribes. It was decided that the beasts and the magic-wielders would live and work in harmony. They would respect one another and not tempt each other to wage war. These were the main pointers and at first, many were reluctant to obey these rules. There a few skirmishes but eventually, everyone began to accept the rules and began to implement them. That took a few years but soon, villages had removed their protective magic barriers and it was a common site to see magical creatures roaming in villages.
But despite the hectic politics that overwhelmed everyone, there were still some joyous events in the years. Yoruichi and Urahara wedded a month after they came back from their quest. It wasn't a grand wedding. They weren't the kind of people who liked to indulge in such. So they were wed beside Yoruichi's sunny caravan, Yoruichi dressed in a rich crimson gown and Urahara in flowing avocado colored robes. They looked like a ruby and an emerald taken from a crown and transformed into humans. Momo thought she had never seen such a beautiful couple and not because they looked stunning or were made for each other. It's because of the fact that when they looked at each other as they said their vows, they gazed at each other with such adoration and yearning she could only describe it as true love at its purest.
They've been married for 14 years now and have a kid for each year. They look like a village of their own as they parade through Karakura village with their battalion of children of every size and age. Momo sometimes wondered how they handled all of them! But maybe that's why she liked to help them once in a while because she thought that they were too overworked despite the fact they never complain. They always look so happy and content with their lives. Like they have forgotten what they had gone through all those years ago.
Momo sometimes wishes she could do the same. Forget everything and wipe it out of her mind like aa eraser on blackboard. If only it were that simple.
Everyone now clasped their hands in front of their faces and began to murmurs quick prayers to the Lord. Momo mimics them and asked the same thing she had been asking for the last 14 years.
'Please take care of Toshiro, wherever he is,' she murmured. Once they were done, everyone spilled out of the church and headed their separate ways; some to the carnival and others to their homes.
'Sister Hinamori, Sister Hinamori! You promised, you promised!' SenSen pleaded and tugged at her skirt imploringly. She finally laughed aloud and pulled her skirt out of his hold before he pulled it down in public.
'Alright, SenSen!' she chortles and slipped her hand into his, smiling softly. 'I'll take you there.'
'Did you know that Toshiro Hitsugaya was only thirteen when he made his first bicycle!' SenSen jabbered as he skipped alongside Momo towards the carnival. 'That's my age! Maybe I can make something brilliant and then I'll be as famous as him! They might hold a carnival in my name someday!'
'I'm sure you will be, SenSen, you are a genius,' Momo said fondly as she ruffled his hair. 'You could be the next Toshiro Hitsugaya!'
SenSen's eyes grow wide in ecstasy.
'You really think so?' he whispered.
'I know so.'
He glowed. Then, his eyebrows furrowed and he bit his lower lip as he gazed at Momo once more.
'What was he like?' he suddenly asked. Momo almost stumbled on the footpath at the suddenness of the question. She wasn't prepared for a query like that. Not yet at least.
'What do you mean, SenSen?' Momo said quickly to cover up the awkwardness the question had created.
'You were there when he was around Karakura village,' he said simply, oblivious of Momo's nervous nature. 'You know, before he disappeared? You must have known him. What was he like as a person?'
Hinamori heaved a sigh at this point and stopped. SenSen stopped with her and stared at her with mild curiosity. She then forced a smile at him.
'He was very gentle,' she said softly. 'And kind and loving. He would never say no if someone asked for his help or his advice. You could say he was our God-sent angel actually.'
'Do you think he was an angel, Sister Hinamori?'
'You know, if I found out that he was, I wouldn't have been surprised. Here's the carnival! Now hurry up, SenSen, but stick close to me! I promised your mother that if I planned to take you here I wouldn't lose you!'
'I wanna see the waterwheel first!' SenSen exclaimed happily and took off with Momo hot on his heels.
Momo supposed it was wonderful that the village decided to honour Toshiro by naming this day, the day he supposedly 'died' as the fellowship reported once they returned, Hitsugaya day and planned an entire fun carnival comprising of rides and all his inventions. But it never failed to irk her with its crowds so she never got a chance to enjoy it in its full magnificence. Once she had SenSen in her sight, she relaxed and drank in her surroundings.
She smiled as she saw Master Yamamoto roaming the stalls and examining the miniature models of Toshiro's inventions. Behind him was a tall and elegant man with slicked back white hair and surprisingly a thin black moustache. His arms were folded behind his back and he stood by the old magician's side like a loyal guard. It was nice to see that after Toshiro, Yamamoto was more willing to take in new apprentices. Once it was settled that the magical creatures won't attack magicians, new and eager novices began popping up out of nowhere all over Karakura and even in other villages! Most of them lacked experienced wizards to Yamamoto took the liberty of taking them all under and his wing and teaching them the ways of the magic-wielders. It warmed Momo's heart to see that the old man actually has a heart that can be thawed. And also how magical creatures and magic-wielders are working together.
'You did it, Toshiro,' she thought as she ran a hand listlessly over a table surface. 'You finally got them to work in harmony. I just wish you can see it.'
She was suddenly shoved to the side by a large furry creature as it stalked by. The creature turned around and stood on its hind legs.
'Hinamori!' it cried and strolled up to her. She recognized the crown of vivid auburn hair.
'Ichigo!' she said in delight and they hugged briefly. Nobody batted an eye in the carnival for most were accustomed to her relationship with the werewolf. Those who weren't gaped at her.
'What are you doing here?' she queried.
'I just decided to pay this little funfair a visit since you humans seem to hype it up so much,' he growled and his eyes shifted slightly to look left and right.
'It's not that great,' Momo admits and grinned. 'It's good to see you. I haven't seen you since Yoruichi had Hoki!'
'That was quite a while back! How is the little one by the way?'
'He's learning to walk now! It's really cute!'
'How are you?'
'Me?' The question took her by surprise. 'Why do you ask?'
'Because you seem to have harboured feelings for that friend you tried to save 14 years ago and it seems it still affects you that he left you,' Ichigo pointed out and tilted his head.
Momo was about to argue but then quickly shut her mouth. No matter how much she wanted to prove Ichigo that he was wrong, she couldn't help feeling that he had opened her heart and laid it bare for all, even herself, to see what she truly feels. She sighed.
'I'm trying to cope, Ichigo,' she said, careful to hide the pain in her voice. 'But…it's hard.'
'Of course.' He nodded in understanding. 'But you cannot blame him for leaving you. Deny it all you want but you are mad at him for abandoning you when you had tried so hard to save him. It is like you felt that you didn't matter to him. It is not his fault. And it is not your fault either. You are just two very different people who wanted two very different things. You cannot change the past but do not let it ruin your future happiness. You cannot mope around forever about this, Hinamori.'
'I don't want to forget about him, Ichigo,' Momo said in a hushed whisper which was almost swept away with the noise of the crowd. 'I miss him so much it hurts! I feel like if I move on, I'll forget about him as the person I used to know and love…'
'You act like that by erasing memories of him he will disappear from this world!' Ichigo barked and passersby glare at him for making so a loud racket. But they scurried on when he flashed them a toothy grin that exposed his set of sharp teeth. 'Memories aren't everything, Momo. You cannot destroy the bonds you once shared. If you can erase the pain, you will come to remember him as the friend who made your life worth living.'
'Thanks, Ichigo,' Momo whispered and hugged him again. He patted her back gently with his paw. 'I needed that.'
'I have to go now,' she added as they broke apart. 'I have to drop SenSen home.'
As if on cue, SenSen walked up to them with his arms full of toys. His mouth dropped open as he saw the werewolf.
'Ichigo!' SenSen cried and threw his toys to the ground as he leapt onto the wolf. Ichigo grunted but grabbed the little boy before he fell.
'Good to see you too, SenSen,' he growled and lowered the boy to the ground. 'How are your mother and father?'
'Mother is eating weirdly these days,' the blonde complained. 'Like last night, she had fishcakes with wild berries! Who does that anyways?'
'SenSen!' Momo scolded as she picked up his purchases off the floor. 'How many times do I have to tell you buy what you will use and not because you think it's 'neat'!'
'But they all look so cool! Can't I keep all of them?' SenSen pleaded as she slid half the things he bought back to the cashier and gave him the money for the rest.
'Your parents only gave me enough money to buy this much, SenSen, so deal with it!' Momo said with a tone of finality. She then grabbed him with her free hand and began to tug him away from anymore temptations. 'Bye, Ichigo! It was nice to meet you again!'
'The feeling is mutual, Hinamori!' Ichigo called. 'And don't forget what I would you!'
'What did he tell you? What did he tell you?' SenSen demanded. Momo shook her head and smiled slyly.
'It's my secret,' she teased.
'Sister Hinamoriiii!' he whined and refused to speak to her throughout the trip home except maybe to ask her again as if hoping she will cave in.
'There you are! I was getting worried, Hinamori!' Urahara declared as he leaned against the door of his store.
'Are they back?' Yoruichi called from inside.
'Sorry, I was late,' Momo apologized and bowed. 'I took him to the carnival and he was planning to buy the whole thing if I hadn't told him you ran on a budget.'
Urahara laughed and ruffled his son's hair affectionately.
'What is with everyone and touching my hair today?' SenSen complained once again and stormed into the house.
'Hope he wasn't any trouble,' he mused as he crossed his arms. Momo snorted.
'Trouble? If he didn't I would have been more surprised!' she exclaimed. She handed SenSen's toys to Urahara. 'Here you go. Your problem what to do with them. My advice is to chuck them out because all he is going to do is pull it apart to see how it works and then try to make one of his own.'
'I'll see what I can do,' Urahara chuckled as he tried to balance the many trinkets spilling out of his hands.
'I'll be on my way now,' Momo declared and turned around to leave.
'I hope you are doing well, Momo,' Urahara called as he went into his shop to store the toys. She winced. What is with everyone today really? Does she have the word 'disturbed' written on her forehead or something?
'I will be,' she managed to say and plastered on a smile. 'I know I seem troubled but I'm coping with it. I'll be fine. Healing takes its time.'
Urahara studied her face before sighing and then smiling.
'You have truly evolved,' he murmured. 'I cannot believe that this is the same little girl who was so frightened of an ant!'
'She grew up that winter,' Momo said quietly, her eyes becoming hard.
'I can see that.' Urahara smiled. 'She has become a woman now. But I hope she doesn't forget who she was.'
'She won't,' Momo said reassuringly.
'I'll see you around then?'
'SenSen wouldn't have it any other way.'
'I heard that!' SenSen hollered indignantly.
Momo smiled as she strolled down the lone street herself with nothing but the streetlamps burning away into the night. She knew that she didn't spend all her time at the carnival but it was, after all, winter hence the days were shorter.
She sighed and stuffed her hands into her armpits to keep herself warm. She left her jacket at the church. She can always retrieve it later but right now she was scolding herself for being silly and forgetting about it when the weather was as cold as this.
'If SenSen wasn't being so hyper, you might have remembered to pick it up before you left!' a small voice rebuked her at the back of her mind.
'Stop it!' she retorted out loud. 'I know it's my fault for forgetting my jacket but don't bully SenSen over it!'
'Well, he can be a handful I can say that much,' came a cold but familiar voice from behind her. She froze, her heart thumped wildly against her chest. She was afraid to look behind her because if she looked, the person might not be there like the other times. She would then have to deal with the ache in her heart and walk home feeling hollow.
She licked her lips, counted to five and then began to walk again.
'Come now, Momo, are you really that mad at me?' the voice said softly behind her. She shivered.
'He's probably not even there; just your mind playing tricks again,' she thought to herself. But then, there was that nagging feeling that maybe this time, it wasn't all in her head. Maybe this time, it was real. Should she risk a peek?
She took a deep breath and suddenly swiveled around to gasp in shock, her hand instinctively going to her mouth as her eyes brimmed with tears. There he was, standing so proudly with his head of spiked white locks and his pale skin shining like the moon. The only discomforting feature about him was his blood-red eyes. They unnerved her and were so unlike his beautiful jade ones when he had been alive. She gulped as she remembered that tidbit. He's a vampire now. The undead. But is he the same Toshiro? Is he still the same friend she used to confide in when they were children?
He stretched out a hand towards her and she flinched. His blank crimson orbs suddenly transformed to one of hurt.
'Are you afraid of me?' he asked in barely a whisper. She doesn't answer but continued to stare at him in wonder, unable to believe that this was actually happening.
'Momo,' he uttered and his voice sounded so mournful, Momo blinked harder to fight the tears threatening to spill once more. 'Please don't be mad. Or scared. I'm still Toshiro. Always have, always will.'
'I'm not scared,' Momo mumbled, surprising herself. 'Just shocked that you could actually look this pale.'
Toshiro threw his head back and laughed. It was a breathless laugh. Like someone tapping a wineglass lightly with a spoon. It was musical and eerie at the same time. And so very unlike something that would come out of his mouth.
'Please don't do that,' Momo suddenly spoke with a shiver. 'It freaks me out.'
'When I laugh?' Toshiro asked surprised and slightly hurt.
'You sound like Gin when he almost…' Momo stopped abruptly as she remembered that she never told Toshiro about this and had promised that she never would. Toshiro cocked his head to one side.
'Gin told me what he had tried to do,' Toshiro said helpfully. 'He wants to apologize for it personally but I told him I wanted to meet you alone.'
Momo stared at him in mild astonishment. He shrugged his shoulders.
'I didn't want to frighten you,' Toshiro explained. 'I know that if it was only me, you wouldn't be so terrified. And I wanted to talk to you.'
'About what?' Momo couldn't help asking.
'I dunno. EVERYTHING. I've missed out on so much in your life! Like the fact that you have grown up so much.'
'Well, I can't say the same for you though,' Momo said slowly, making an effort to reach out and feel comfortable. 'You're still the same since you…'
'Became a vampire? I know,' Toshiro interrupted. 'One of the perks of being an undead is eternal youth. Hey, at least I don't have to worry about wrinkles, huh?'
'Momo. Please, I'm still the same Toshiro. Can't you see that?'
'I know! It's just…it's not easy…seeing you after so many years and…treating you the same when you're not…'
'It shouldn't matter,' Toshiro said fiercely and in the blink of an eye he stood in front of Momo who gasped at the sudden movement. 'I'm still me! I may not be alive anymore but I'm still Toshiro, Momo! I want you to see that! I want you to see me again! I want-!'
'Oh, Toshiro, you big baby!' Momo sobbed and pulled the small boy into a hug. The boy let out a strangled cry before slowly wrapping his arms around the woman who used to be his childhood friend.
'Toshiro,' she breathed as they parted and gazed at him longingly with intent brown eyes. 'I can never see you as anyone else but as my Toshiro! You always were, always will be, okay? It's just…I've been battling my demons ever since that night. I have nightmares about it, Toshiro. I have nightmares that you died and never come back to life. Or that you left me because you didn't care about me anymore. But the worst is when you have come back to the village with us and we are living happily ever after. But then I wake and realize that it isn't real and I start crying…'
'I'm still scared, Toshiro. I'm scared that I am losing myself and if I lose myself, I'll lose you and I don't want to do that! I-!'
Suddenly, Toshiro pressed his lips against Momo's. She uttered a muffled cry but it quieted it down as she was enveloped by the fire that ignited from the kiss, warming her entire body. When they parted, Momo gasped while Toshiro smiled reassuringly.
'Stop…worrying so much, Momo,' he laughed and swatted her arm playfully. 'You sound so melodramatic like you're a tragic hero or something! Calm down! Nothing's going to happen now! Everything has finally been taken care of! You have nothing to worry about. You can relax. It's all going to be alright.'
'How do you know?' Momo muttered miserably.
'Because I'm dead, so automatically I am always right,' Toshiro said so seriously Momo stared at him in bewilderment before the boy chuckled lightly.
'You need to loosen up, Momo,' Toshiro advised. 'I've been watching over you over the years and I am proud of the woman you have become. But you have to let go off the past. You cling onto it. Momo, I'm not going anywhere. I'm always here if you need me. I never left you. I've been with you ever since you left me. Because I can never let you go either.'
Momo's vision is blurred by the salt water clogging her eyes. She wiped them on her sleeve and gave Toshiro a watery smile.
'You know I never told you that I once had a crush on you,' she murmured shyly. Toshiro smiled wryly.
'You know I never told you that I once had a crush on you too,' he said slyly. They both laugh.
'It would never have worked out,' Momo pointed out.
'I know,' Toshiro agreed. 'I mean, a vampire and a human falling in love? What the hell that is so wrong on so many levels!'
'I swear.' Momo sighs. 'I'm glad you came to see me, Toshiro. I feel…content for once in my life since that winter.'
'I'm glad too.' He nodded and looked to the sky. The moon is full and displaying its beauty for all who dared cast an eye in its direction. He then looked back at Momo with a serene smile. 'I guess I should leave. Gin cannot deal with the others without me. He says he wants to tear them to pieces and that I calm him down.'
'That's…romantic,' Momo uttered and wrinkled her nose.
'It's how he expresses his love,' Toshiro chortled.
'How is he, Toshiro? I mean…'
'He loves me, Momo,' Toshiro answered simply. 'I don't know how I can explain it but, I love him too. He just…completes me. I feel like I have finally found that one thing I had been missing all my life.'
'That's good. I'm glad you're finally happy with the one you love, Toshiro.'
'You too, Momo.'
'Oh! I'm sorry but I wanted to keep it to myself but oh well! Kira is going to propose to you!'
'Don't tell me you're going to reject the poor soul! He's already a nervous wreck about asking you and if you turn him down, imagine his mind after that!'
'How do you know that he is going to propose!'
'You're not the only one I stalk, Momo!' he winked at her and then turned around to face the moon. He then gave Momo one last glance.
'I'll see you around, Momo,' he drawled and then swept his cape around his body to morph into a bat. He flapped his wings rapidly as he flew into the night sky, a black speck in the pocked, glowing moon.