Last chapter! Enjoy!
Wolf's Love for Moon by Boogermeister
28- Moonless Sky Epilogue
Five years later . . . . .
"Gahh . . . . you didn't have to do that, you know," sighed Starrk, his slate eye gazed at his young wife who had shot the criminal on the behind for running from them. Ichigo, her shortened hair wisped from the wind, simply frowned at him as she put away her pistol.
"We got him, don't we?" she scoffed lightly.
"That's not the point," he groaned. "Now we gotta take him to the hospital before hauling him to jail. Hope you're happy, Ichigo."
"That I am . . . ." huffed Ichigo. Starrk sighed as he walked up to the whimpering fugitive and gingerly hauled him to his feet.
"See what happened when you pissed off my wife . . . .?" he murmured into the man's ear as they took him out of the back alley. "Now imagine it if I was the one that was pissed off, and it wouldn't be pretty." It wasn't long until they reached the hospital and met the actual police officers, who frowned a little at criminal's unusual condition. "It was my fault, I didn't bother to stop her from shooting at him there."
"I was aiming at the back," Ichigo frowned as she glared away. "Besides, he deserves it, he acted like an asshole earlier." The brunet groaned but said nothing else as they finished their jobs, walking through the streets of the Rukongai district for their car. Reaching closer to the vehicle, the couple gradually relaxed, as Ichigo inched closer to her husband. "You still mad about the shooting, Starrk?" she muttered.
"Not really, but I did find it bothersome," he sighed, wrapping his arm around her lithe form.
"Well we did get him, we've done our job," she shrugged. They finally reached the car and got in, Starrk started the engine and they drove off, he wasn't hindered by his eyepatch as he maneuvered through traffic with ease. ". . . . Something tells me that Tammy's not asleep yet," Ichigo remarked mostly to herself, glancing up to the dark navy sky with very little stars.
"Ah, because your friends are looking after her," he answered. "They spoil her too much."
"You do too," Ichigo scoffed with a light smirk.
"As do you . . . ." he countered dismissively. The young woman scoffed again, she had to admit they loved to spoil their little pride and joy.
"What's this word, Tamiko . . . .?" smiled Rukia, pointing at a page of a children's book. A five-year-old girl frowned in concentration as she stared at it, her dark rust-colored pigtails swayed from her small body bobbing back and forth. "Come on, you know it . . . ."
"Um . . . . it's . . . . 'ponies'," she affirmed, glancing up to her babysitter with her wide brownish-hazel eyes.
"Yes, that's right!" Rukia smiled. Tamiko squealed in delight and giggled, clapping her hands.
"Yes, I'm right!" she giggled as she almost bounced in her bed she was sharing with Lily, her bedroom was decorated with soft colors of lavender and light pink suggested by her usually neutral father. "Come on, I wanna read some more, Rukia! Can we?"
"No, no, it's late and your parents are about to come home in any minute," she playfully scolded. "We did promise you that you can stay up late until Mommy and Daddy comes home. Let's wake up Renji, Ichigo'd be pissed if she saw him sleeping on the job."
"Aww . . . . Okay!" Tamiko nodded, bouncing off the bed as she quickly jogged out of her room. Moving down the hallway, she toddled into the living room where Renji was dozing on the couch. "Renji! Wake up, it's time to go!" she piped up, climbing onto his lap to pat on his shoulder.
"Hm . . . .?" mumbled Renji, rubbing at his closed eyes. "Five more minutes, Rukia . . . ."
"I'm not Rukia," she smiled as she patted at him again. This time, he finally woke up, blinking slowly to see the girl very close to his face.
". . . . You gotta stop doing that, Tammy," he frowned but she smiled obliviously to his scolding.
"But Mommy and Daddy are coming home, Renji," she informed.
"Oh . . . . oh, right," he sighed. "Don't wanna get screamed at by Ichigo, get off my lap." Tamiko did so, and giggled lightly as she pranced around in her nightgown. "Hey, it's almost eleven. It's too late to be dancing around . . . ."
"It's your fault to give her that candy bar," frowned Rukia when she walked into the living room. "I told you that it would make her crazy but did you listen . . . .?"
"Right, sorry about that . . . . Rukia," sighed Renji as he sat up straight when she sat next to him, leaner closer to her to kiss softly at her forehead. It had been like that for over two years now; the long-time friendship between the bodyguard and the young noblewoman had gradually became much more. For once in his life, Byakuya had permitted for the relationship to continue, remarking that he didn't need to tell her what to do with her life. Ichigo was shocked to find that out, only to resume teasing the red-head as usual.
"Tch, not until we're married," Rukia smirked lightly, when he tried to kiss at her lips and she turned her head away. Renji frowned a little but kissed her on the forehead once again.
"And when will that be . . . .?" he sighed.
"When Nii-sama decides to welcome you into the family," she smiled.
"I love you . . . . but I'm not that desperate, Rukia."
"We're home . . . .!" came Ichigo's voice from the front entrance, Tamiko's prancing stopped at the words and gasped sharply.
"Mommy . . . .!" she squealed as she suddenly ran off to see her parents by the closing. "Daddy . . . .!"
"Ah, I knew it," Ichigo sighed with a soft smile as the young child was greeted with a warm hug from Starrk. "Hey there, baby . . . . why're you still up? It's past your bedtime."
"I wanna see you before I'm gonna sleep," she replied in her rudimentary grammar, curling close to her father's chest. "You're home from being 'superheroes'?"
"Yes, and it was tiring . . . ." Starrk played along, planting a soft kiss on top of her head as they entered the living room.
"Thanks a lot, guys," sighed Ichigo as she glanced at the two on the couch. "Now she really won't go to sleep since she had waited for us."
"Blame Renji for that, he gave her chocolate," scoffed Rukia.
"It was over four hours ago, and it was just two pieces," explained Renji, but was given a scalding look by Ichigo.
"Yeah, good thing he didn't feed her rat poison by accident," she frowned lightly.
"Well . . . . we need to leave, Nii-sama often worries about me staying out here," sighed the petite woman as they stood up.
"I know what you're saying . . . . as much as we'd like to live in the Seireitei, we don't really want to," she sighed softly. "We like to stay close to my other family, you know that. This apartment's enough for us."
"The offer still stands, Ichigo," Rukia smiled before turning to the now gradually tired girl. "Give me a kiss, sweetie." Tamiko smiled and leaned to give her her own signature rasberry-like kiss on the cheek.
"Me too, you little monster . . . ." smiled Renji, and he was given the same rasberry peck. "See you guys later."
"Bye, Rukia. Bye, Renji," mumbled Tamiko.
"Bye, guys . . . ." sighed Ichigo, as they finally left. She glanced at her husband and smiled softly, reaching up to stroke at her daughter's hair. She was precious to them, during the first year of her life they weren't sure how she would cope with any potential health risk considering that she was born a preemie. But now . . . . there was nothing, the girl was just as healthy as any other child. "Honestly . . . . they could've taken these out before her bedtime," she sighed, carefully taking out the scrunchies from her hair.
"It doesn't matter," sighed Starrk.
"Yeah, it's better for Tammy to sleep with her hair loose," Ichigo calmly argued.
". . . . I'm sleepy, Mommy," Tamiko sighed tiredly.
"I know that, we're sleepy too," she smiled softly. "You wanna sleep with Lily or with us?"
"With Lily, she's so fluffy," she mumbled. Nodding in agreement, they carried her back to her bedroom as her eyes began to droop. Perking up her ears, Lily glanced at them and wagged her tail a little as Starrk settled the girl onto the bed. "Daddy . . . ." Tamiko muttered, and he paused. He knew what was coming. She leaned up to hug around his neck and gave him a very soft kiss at his eyepatch. "Is it better, Daddy . . . .?"
"Yes, it's always better . . . ." he muttered softly, kissing her back on the cheek. "Good night, Puppy."
"Good night, Daddy," she smiled tiredly, snuggling against the gentle wolfdog.
"Good night, baby," smiled Ichigo as she leaned down to kiss her cheek and pulled the warm bedsheets over her.
"Good night, Mommy . . . ." Her mother stroked through the rust-colored locks soothingly until she finally fell asleep. Ichigo sighed deeply before she moved away and they quietly walked out of the room.
"Make sure she's sleeping, Lilynette . . . ." sighed Starrk. Lily nodded and nuzzled the girl in the hair before lying still to sleep as well. The couple walked into their own dark bedroom, Starrk moved to put on the soft light.
". . . . Starrk," muttered Ichigo, taking off her jacket and shoes. "You know that you don't have to cheer her up with that."
"Like what?" he asked quietly and he heard her annoyed sigh as he took off jacket as well.
"Your eye . . . . there's an extremely slim chance that your vision can come back," she muttered. "Even you have said that."
"But it's still a chance, regardless," he replied quietly. Removing his gun halter, he stored it in a secured drawer. They couldn't take any chances with a very curious child in their care. "Pass me your gun," he requested. Ichigo frowned a little and did so, and he stored it away and locked the drawer.
"You heard from Grimmjow, right?" she muttered. "There's a surgeon who specializes in corneal transplant . . . . it's a little risky but it could work for you."
". . . . Risky, as in . . . .?" frowned Starrk.
"Infection, body rejecting the transplant, possible blood loss," mumbled his wife, sitting at the edge of the bed. "Grimmjow heard it from Nel, you know that they want to help us after what we had done for them." Starrk sighed tiredly, those two have been willing to pay them back ever since Ichigo had given her the extravagant ring she had worn before. At first the former Espada refused it (though Grimmjow prompted to pawn it), but they accepted and they were now married. Working for the Gotei 13 as bounty hunters like them.
"I don't know . . . ." he mumbled. "It'd be a risk that it would get worse than better. But I prefer Puppy's kisses rather than a scapel slicing through my eye."
"Aw," she smiled a little but her frown came back. "I know . . . . so what now? You'll keep the eyepatch forever, Starrk?"
". . . . You said it like I'm terrible with it," he muttered as he gazed at her, taking off his pants.
"No, it's just that . . . . what do you think of it, Starrk?" she frowned sadly. "Do you wish that your left vision can come back sometimes? After what happened those years ago . . . .?" Starrk sighed as he sat next to her and wrapped his arm around her.
"I wished for it the instant I was shot, Ichigo . . . ." he sighed as he kissed against her neck. "And I'm still wishing for it to this day. And the only way for that to happen is to assure Tamiko that I'm okay. We know that we don't want her to worry, right?"
"I know," she nodded.
"Come on, we have a day off tomorrow so we can sleep in . . . ." Starrk stood up to take off the light, the silvery light of the full moon filtered into the now dark moon. But he didn't go back to bed to lie down, instead he leaned down to kiss at her face. Ichigo lifted her head up to kiss him back on the lips, internally loving the light taste of tar as he then nipped lightly at his bottom lip.
"Thought you wanted to go to sleep, Starrk," she smirked.
"We'll sleep later . . . ." he muttered quietly, kissing her again.
"Tch . . . ." Both of them crawled onto the mattress, the brunet hovered over her as he kissed at her neck. "Later? Coming from a guy who's a sack of potatoes on the couch."
"Don't test me," he growled softly but groaned when she rubbed her legs against his own. "What did I say . . . .?"
"Sorry, Starrk," she smirked lightly as he moved back a little to unbutton her blouse. Her expression softened when she gazed at his face. As she reached up, she felt him freeze at the contact but she continued to trail her fingers just milimeters from his eyepatch. ". . . . Whenever you take it off, you always close your eye so I wouldn't see it," Ichigo muttered. "It's like you're afraid that I'd be afraid of what's underneath there."
"You don't need to see it, Ichigo," he sighed. "It's not what you want to see of me-"
"You idiot," she frowned a little. "Why do you think I married you, Starrk? Because I want to be with you . . . . not because of your outward appearance." She leaned up to kiss him, her fingers continued to deftly touch the edge of his patch. "You're actually sexy with it on anyway, remember when Tammy once thought that you were a pirate? You just had to lie and said yes to the poor girl."
". . . . Yeah, I know," sighed Starrk. "But still . . . ."
"Please, Starrk . . . ." He gazed at her and finally nodded, carefully he pushed back the cloth. Small, old scars etched over his eyelid that fluttered a little from being closed from a prolonged time. Then slowly, he opened it before his young wife. The once slate color was milky and cloudy while the sclera were pinkish with semi-permanently damaged blood vessels.
". . . . It's still dark, kinda," he admitted, the blind eye twitched a little for movement before he closed it and put the eyepatch back in place.
". . . . I could see why Tamiko kissed at your eye," Ichigo smiled warmly. Starrk blinked at that and a small smile came to him, he leaned down to kiss her deeply on the lips. "Wait . . . ." she muttered from the kiss and he frowned slightly in confusion. But she stopped the kiss only to kiss at the soft fabric over the injured eye. "Is it better, Starrk?" she asked, kissing at his cheek.
"Yes . . . . of course it's always better, Ichigo," he whispered, kissing her back.
Shaking the water out of her short hair, Ichigo quickly put on her bathrobe before walking to the bedroom. She smiled a little at the sight of her husband snoring heavily with the bedsheets coiled over his waist. "I should let him sleep for a while . . . ." she sighed, moving around in soft footsteps to put on clothes. It was barely seven in the morning when she already heard the pitter-patter movements outside the door. "Uh-oh . . . ."
"Mommy . . . .!" came Tamiko's cheerful tone.
"Ah . . . ." Ichigo quickly opened the door and quickly scooped the child up into her arms before leaving the room. "Hey there, sweetie," she whispered.
"Hi, Mommy!" she smiled. "Where's Daddy?"
"Daddy's sleeping . . . ." she sighed as they moved to the living room. "He's still tired from being a 'superhero'."
"Oh, he's always sleeping," Tamiko pouted. Her mother laughed quietly and they sat down on the couch. "Mommy, can Tsukiko come here please?"
"Oh, okay!" Tsukiko, the child of that once poor woman she had helped so long ago, was now friend of her daughter by chance. The poor woman was now a modest teacher after managing to get back to school with the money nearly six years ago. "I'll call her mother and she'll come by later today," smiled Ichigo. "But you guys must be quiet this time, your father didn't like it when you decided to put make-up on him."
"Okay . . . ." But her sadness was instantly dilluted when Lily trotted in and nuzzled at the girl in her way of saying 'good morning'. "Morning, Lily!" she smiled.
"I'll get the phone, stay here sweetie," smiled Ichigo as she went back to the bedroom, Starrk had shifted his position in his sleep to his side from his back. She grasped her cell phone from the night stand and dialed the number as she sat down on the bed. ". . . . Hello?" she greeted when someone finally answered.
"Oh, Miss Ichigo!"
"Hey there!" Ichigo smiled lightly. "Sorry to call so early . . . ."
"Oh, it's okay! Tsukiko had just asked me to see Tamiko!" answered the mother.
"Ah, same thing here, Tammy wants to see her best friend today also," she replied.
"Yes, I understand . . . . I'll drop her off later today, is that okay with you?"
"Yeah, we don't mind," nodded Ichigo. "I'll talk to you later . . . ." She hung up the phone, just as she felt an arm wrapping around her body firmly. ". . . . Thought you wanted to sleep in late."
"I lied . . . ." mumbled Starrk as he tiredly opened his eye. "So now what? Are we spending our time as a family?"
"Tch, you're making it sound like a chore," she scoffed playfully.
"Oh come on," he sighed as he sat up, planting soft kisses over her shoulders. "You know that I love spending my time with Tamiko, Ichigo. Sometimes I'm a bit glad that I could be with her during our brief breaks from our jobs. I'd rather stay at home forever with her."
"Hah, and make me the only one to work?" she questioned.
"No, you'd stay home as well," he muttered behind her ear.
"But then we'd be broke."
"You should've kept some of that money left." Ichigo scoffed at that and playfully smacked at his arm.
"You idiot . . . . now that you're up, shower up and get dressed," she smiled. "I'll make some breakfast."
"Great," he smiled a little. Ichigo smiled back as she was about to stand up, but was held still by the former Primera. "Wait . . . ." He leaned over to kiss her lips softly. Ichigo laughed softy before kissing back, nipping and tangling her tongue with his. "Ahh . . . . why do I have this this feeling for you?"
"It's been over five years, must you really ask that?" smirked Ichigo.
". . . . Kind of."
That's it. Just started the prequel to my GrimmIchi fic 'Dark Moon Rising'! Please read it, cuz it's the first time I'm attempting a GrimmUlqui thing at first. And possibly soon, another GrimmIchi fic and it's an one-shot!
Read and Review.
I'll upload a new story ASAP!