Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach and if I did it wouldn't center so much around Ichigo, Aizen would be dead, and Gin would be with Rangiku.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe, Little Foxes, 1865
"A year, a full year has finally passed. A year filled with so much sorrow, anguish, and regret. I wonder how others can continue on with their lives. They act as if they have completely forgotten about the incident that shattered my world. How could I have let it happen? If only I had acted faster, I could have told her I was sorry. If only I had more control over my temper, none of this would have happened. If only I had done something to make her stay. If… if… if… if only I could wake up and find her at my side, or build a time machine to go back and fix my mistakes."
It had been a gloomy Saturday for the couple as they sat inside their fourth floor apartment. They were happy to be inside because outside it was raining in sheets, soaking any unfortunate soul who happened to be in the torrent. The wind was also violently whipping anything or anyone not tied down or inside around as if they were made out of styrofoam. It was cold and drenched outside, a truly dismal day.
Inside the apartment, the atmosphere was a little happier. In the living room, a TV murmured quietly about the melancholies of war and hyped celebrity gossip. A young man also sat on the living room couch, diligently typing on his laptop, and sometimes glancing up to watch the weather report. His fiancée was in the kitchen cooking curry for dinner. The curry needed to simmer on the stove for a half hour, so after turning the stove knob to low she walked to the living room couch where her future husband sat.
"Hey," the young woman said with a smile as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "What are you working on?"
The young man turned his gaze away from the document he was writing to look at the young woman. His blue-green eyes looked intently into her milk-chocolate ones before his lips formed into a smirk. "Momo, I told you before you went to the kitchen to start cooking."
"Tell me again, Tôshirô," Momo begged as she rested her head on his shoulder. Her soft, brown hair draped against his neck like a warm winter scarf.
"It's about new technology that is being developed."
Momo had detached herself from Tôshirô's neck to sit beside him. "That sounds boring."
"A little," the young man confessed, "but would you rather have me going back to the Middle East?"
"No!" she replied emphatically. "I'd rather have you be a journalist at home, reporting about boring stuff, than being over there."
"That's what I thought. Anyway, when's dinner?" Tôshirô asked, wrapping his arms around Momo in a warm embrace.
"Typical!" she hit him playfully on the side of the head. "Work and then eat; when do you get to play?"
"After work and after dinner," he replied simply. "So, when are we eating again?"
Momo checked the time on Tôshirô's laptop. "Fifteen minutes from now."
"Good, I'm starving."
"Can I ask you something?"
The young man saved the document he was working on before he shut the top. "Sure, ask away."
"Is it hard to write?"
Tôshirô studied his fiancée, wondering why she would ask him that. He was a journalist and wrote often, but he never thought about it being difficult to get his thoughts and ideas down onto paper. "Well, I've never thought about it being hard to write; most of the time it's relatively easy and fun."
"When isn't it?" Momo asked curiously.
Tôshirô sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes for a moment before continuing. "When writing about death; no matter how many times I write about it, I can't get used to it."
"It would be a terrible thing to get used to," Momo whispered.
"Have you ever heard of Thomas Wolfe?"
"No, who is he?"
"He was a famous novelist. He had a quote that said 'Writing is easy. Just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding.' "
"Bleeding?" the brown haired girl asked, shocked.
"A lot of writing comes from pain," the man softly responded. "Even in fiction, people don't want to read about characters that always have everything go perfectly. If that happened there would be no plot, because there would be no conflict. Writing is a way to relieve stress for people who don't feel like talking to anyone."
Dinner was finally ready, to Tôshirô's relief. He got up from the living room couch and went to the dining room table. Momo came out of the kitchen with two bowls of curry. She placed one bowl in front of him before she sat down with her own bowl. They ate in a comfortable silence until Tôshirô decided to break it.
"Dinner is delicious," he commented before taking another bite.
Momo looked up and sighed. "What do you want to tell me?"
"How do you know I have something that I need to tell?"
"Because you always give a compliment as an ice breaker," the girl stated. "Remember, I've known you ever since we were kids."
Tôshirô ignored the remark and took a deep breath before saying, "I'm going to the Middle East."
"When and where did you find out?" she asked softly.
"I found out the night I came home… and I'm leaving tomorrow night."
"But you just came home a few days ago! And why didn't you tell me!" Momo asked angrily as her hands balled into fists.
"I—I didn't want to worry you. I don't like it when you fuss over me."
"You don't want me to be concerned about you!"
"That's not what I mean!" Tôshirô growled, starting to lose his temper also.
"Then what do you mean? Tell me!"
"I mean… You… I—I can't explain it! I just wanted to spend time with you! Do you have a problem with that!"
"I do!" Momo hissed. "You haven't spent much time with me! You've been writing!"
"Then why didn't you tell me to stop!" Tôshirô demanded.
"Because your work is important to you! Sometimes, I think it's even more important to you than me! You're just a huge work-a-holic!"
By now, dinner was completely forgotten as the couple continued to argue back and forth. They soon started to point out each other's flaws while "talking" about his job. Each was trying to convince the other that he or she was right. Meanwhile, the weather had gotten worse. Rain continued to be dumped onto the city as if their moods had made the conditions worse.
"I'm going to Kira's house!" Momo cried as she stomped from the dining room to the door where she grabbed her coat.
"Momo, don't be stupid! It's raining cats and dogs out there!" Tôshirô called to her from the room she had just left. He walked over to her and grabbed her wrist.
"Let go of me!" she demanded.
That was when Tôshirô finally snapped and released Momo. "Fine! Be that way! Just go! See if I care! Be unreasonable!" Before he could go on with his rant, he was cut off by the slam of the apartment door.
Momo found a taxi that would take her to Kira's house. Unfortunately, her friend lived on the other side of the city. It would usually be a thirty minute drive, but the weather was making the roads treacherous. She asked the taxi driver how long the ride would take, and he replied that it would take at least an hour. She got in anyway and hoped she had enough money to pay the fare.
Having nothing better to do for an hour, Momo's thoughts turned to the argument she just had with Tôshirô. What had started it? Oh yes, he not telling her that he was leaving tomorrow night to go to a dangerous place. Why had that made her so angry? He was only doing it so she wouldn't have to worry. The girl closed her eyes and tried to see the world through his eyes.
"Being a reporter looks easy," she thought. But then she remembered the conversation about writing. "The way he talked about it changed. He said it was easy, but then he said it was hard when he had to write about people dying. That makes sense. Wait… Had he seen people die? What would it be like to watch someone die? Being a journalist, I know he has journalist friends. Had any of them ever died? And, what about ways to relieve stress? He must be stressed about all the traveling. Does he free write during the times that I think he is writing an article? It's not that he wants to leave me; it's just his job. He's only following orders! Why did I never try putting myself in his shoes before?" Everything clicked in the girl's mind. She understood. "I have to call him and tell him I'm sorry."
After Momo left, Tôshirô reheated the curry she made in the microwave and ate in silence. The hot anger that had run through his veins died down. In its place, guilt started to pull at his heart as he remembered what he had said to her. He had seen her cry, and he did nothing about it. What had he been thinking? That's when he realized that he hadn't thought. He had just let his emotions take over.
He pushed his empty plate away and stared at the place where Momo usually sat. Her bowl was still there. Tôshirô sighed and slipped his cell phone out of his pocket. He contemplated calling her. If he did, what would he say? He didn't get to mull long over the subject, because his phone rang. He checked the caller ID and saw it was Momo.
Tôshirô flipped open the lid. "Hello?"
On the other end Momo sniffed before saying, "Hi, Tôshirô…" A moment of silence passed between the two before Momo carried on. "Tôshirô, I-I'm sorry… I—I didn't mean to get mad at you! I understand now! Please f-forgive me! I-love you…"
Tôshirô smiled. "Momo, I —" He was cut off by the sound of screeching tires. After that, he heard Momo scream. And then nothing except the dial tone. "Momo? Hey? Momo! Momo!"
When Tôshirô found out about Momo's death, he had a mental breakdown. Friends had tried to console the young man, but they could not help. He pushed them away. He pushed reality away. He quit his job and moved out of the fourth floor apartment that he and Momo had shared. He tried to get rid of everything that reminded him about her, but he didn't have the heart.
The new apartment he lived in was smaller, but he made it look just like the previous one. In everything from furniture to wall paper, he made his new home an exact replica. He couldn't help himself. It was as if he was suffering from a terrible disease. Tôshirô knew of no one who could console and pull him out of his self-pity. He didn't know of anyone could cure him besides himself.
"Today is the anniversary of the taxi accident that killed Momo," Tôshirô muttered to himself as he got out of bed and walked to the living room couch. "A full 365 days without her beside me when I wake up. We should have been married by now…"
Slouching on the couch, he noticed a magazine on the small, mahogany coffee table. He opened it and skimmed though its contents, but none of the information computed in his mind. He then reached a page that had its outer corner folded. He raised an eye brow and started to read the page. He wanted to know why that particular page had been bookmarked. He found his reason near the bottom of the page. There, highlighted was the quote he had told Momo a year ago about writing:
"Writing is easy. Just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding.
Tôshirô then remembered that he had said writing was a way to ease stress. He reached for his laptop and turned the machine on. It hadn't been touched in a year. He hadn't written anything in a year. Once the machine was running and he had logged onto his user, he saw the screensaver. It was a picture of Momo gazing up at the starry, night sky. He then clicked the short cut to the word processor.
It was time to bleed.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading! I hope I did a good job on keeping them in character. Criticism is welcomed, but in order to do that you need to click the review button below this! Oh yeah, if anyone is interested in an anime crossover fic please look at Discussion Table. It's partner fic and if you want to know more please go read it! Hopefully I'll have the epilogue to Buy a Matumoto soon! Anyway, byes for now!