Okay so I'm finally ready to finish, at least I think so. I've been getting a lot of questions as to why I killed Kon. Well, first of all I honestly felt like it needed to be done. With this story I would get to certain points and it would practically write itself. Once the idea was in my mind, I knew that Kon's death was inevitable and one of those things that were meant to happen. Secondly, I did not want to end this story with a story-book ending where everyone lives happily ever after. That is unrealistic and I like to consider myself a pretty realistic girl. Besides, this story began with death and its main focus was death; coping with the loss of a loved one. The ending seems pretty fitting to me. I hope that answers your questions. As bad as it may sound, I'm glad I made so many people cry. I'm glad I was able to touch so many people with my writing.
Thank you to all those reviews from the last chapter; thanks for those who have loyally read this fic. Your words of encouragement and ideas have made it was it is. I also wanna thank my sister, MarieRock who is always there to listen to my ideas and read my material before it gets posted. You should all check out her amazing profile and read "The Tragedy of Uncertainty" if you have not yet done so.
Anyway, on with the story! Here's the wrap up to the best story I've ever written and the story that was the most fun to write! Chapter 26!
Ironically, life seemed to really speed up after Kon's death. School was really demanding and all my free time was devoted to hanging out with family and friends. By the time April had rolled around Ichigo and I had already decided on which college we planned to attend. Each of us settled for Karakura's local university, with the thought of transferring after freshman year. In all honesty we didn't want to seperate, especially after the loss of Kon, but we also wanted to stay close to our families. So, in June we went to our orientation together and tried to get everything taken care of early. By mid-July, we were almost completely ready for August so we could start our college experience. KU was about an hour away so we decided to live on campus, taking our cars so we could visit home frequently.
During the first week of August Michiru had a large get together, inviting the parents. That was her last week home before moving halfway across the country to some huge prestigious university. She was going to attend one of the largest medical schools in the country to become a surgeon, focusing on pediatrics. Once the party was coming to a close she burst into tears and clutched onto the nearest person. That was the last time I saw Michiru since school started.
Two weeks later Ichigo and I packed our stuff into the back of his truck, securing everything with bungy cords, and headed into my house. Isshin had driven over with the girls so we could all say goodbye together. Byuakuya was sitting on the couch holding Shiomi while talking with Yuzu and Karin. Katsurou, who was leaning against the stair railing, glanced our way.
"Are you guys ready?" Ichigo nodded, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
"Yeah, everything's packed." Isshin pushed himself off of the loveseat and approached us, wrapping Ichigo up in a tight hug and earning a sigh from his son. "Get off me." Isshin laughed, tightening the embrace momentarily before letting go and turning to hug me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, squeezing Isshin tightly. I was going to miss him; I was going to miss them all. As we separated Kisa and Mei Mei entered the living room together. The first thing I noticed was Kisa's hair, the ends brushing the back of her legs. She was wearing a medium length skirt and blouse. Her face held a frown as she watched everyone tell us goodbye. When it came to her turn she was blinking away tears. I smiled, hugging her tightly, telling her how much I loved her. My mind went back to the months separating February and August. Kisa had improved, there was no doubt about it. However, she needed help to do so. Byu had taken her to a therapist multiple times, staying with her for every session. At first she wouldn't say a word but eventually she opened up, admitting to Byuakuya how angry she was that he dragged her there. From then on out she started to accept the help and later told Byu not to come with her.
When July came around she had come to accept the cruelty of life and realized being angry wouldn't bring Kon back. She started to speak up again and really began to feel comfortable being herself, even if Kon wasn't there to encourage it.
Kisa hugged Ichigo tightly, mumbling a goodbye. Ichigo smiled as he lifted her off the ground in a hug, squeezing her tightly. "Don't look so sad, Kisa. We'll be back to visit before you know it." Kisa nodded, ending the goodbyes. Byuakuya reminded us to drive safe, kissing my head in the process, and waved us off. Ichigo and I headed outside and walked towards my car. As I pulled open my car door it started to sprinkle, the rain gaining my attention. A smile found its way on my face as I turned to Ichigo.
"Kon's telling us goodbye." A smile spread over Ichigo's face as he glanced at the clouds.
"I think you're right." His eyes returned to mine. "Should we go visit him before we leave?" I glanced at the tarp covering our belongings before nodding.
"Yeah, we'll visit all three of them before we leave, but let's hurry before it gets worse." Ichigo nodded, leaning over to kiss me. I returned the kiss, hugging him quickly before sliding into my car. Once in his truck, Ichigo backed up and led the way to the cemetary.
By November we had gotten into a rhythm; my workload was a lot lighter then Ichigo's. He was studying pre-med, hoping to transfer to a medical school after freshman year. I on the other hand was majoring in education with a focus of math and history. Aside from my Calc II class, the rest of my current courses were fairly easy.
The day before Ichigo and I planned to head home for fall break we had made plans to meet up with a mutual friend. I was running late so I texted Ichigo, telling him I'd meet them at the on-campus coffee shop. With three books and a binder dangling in my arms, my attention was on my materials making sure I didn't drop anything. With my head down and quick pace going, I ran right into someone, nearly falling. The person grabbed my arm, holding me in place. I looked up to find Renji smiling down at me.
"Geez, Rukia, watch where you're going." I sighed, giving him an annoyed look.
"Yeah right, you probably stood there intentionally." I heard footsteps as Hisagi approached us laughing. They had both also made the decision to become KU students. Renji was also working towards a degree in education, his focus elementary, something that surprised us all. Shuuhei's current major was mathematics; he hoped to transfer to a school with an engineering program once he raised his GPA. Because of the similarities I had classes with both of them.
"Why are you in such a rush?" I glanced towards the cafe behind them.
"Ichigo and Osuma are waiting on me. I'm almost twenty minutes late." Renji laughed, taking my stuff from me.
"Come on." He led Hisagi and I towards the building. I rolled my eyes, pulling my light coat tighter around myself. Shuuhei nudged me, asking me when I planned to head home.
"Ichigo and I are leaving tomorrow morning. What about you guys?" He stuffed his hands in his pockets.
"I'm leaving tonight around six. I think Renji's leaving tomorrow." I nodded as we walked through the cafe door. The smell of coffee hit me as soon as I stepped onto the tiled floor. Renji continued to walk until we reached the table where Ichigo and Osuma were sipping on their drinks. I smiled, kissing Ichigo's cheek in greeting and sitting down next to him.
"Hey guys, sorry I'm late, my class ran way late." Osuma smiled across the table at me. His dark hair was getting long, practically covering his blue eyes. Ichigo had met him in an advanced anatomy course and the two hit it off. When Ichigo introduced me to his friend I laughed at the irony of seeing him again. Osuma didn't regocnize me right away so I had to fill him in, claiming to be that "incredibly beautiful" girl's best friend. Ichigo had no idea what I was talking about, giving me a weird look until I informed him that Osuma was the guy who wrote his number on Kisa's coffee cup almost a year ago.
"No problem." Shuuhei sat down in the last available chair before looking up at Renji.
"You should go get us coffee." Renji sighed, turning to me.
"What do you want?" My smile widened as I thought about it.
"Peppermint mocha please." After he had the order Renji approached the counter. I turned to Osuma. "So, when are you going home?" His eyebrows rose slightly.
"Hm? Oh, no I'm staying here. I'm going to work during fall break." Ichigo's eyebrows turned down.
"Why, don't you want to see your family?" He shrugged.
"I didn't leave home on such great terms with my dad." Ichigo nodded.
"How long has it been since you've been home?" Osuma smiled down at me as if I already knew the answer.
"I haven't been home since I left the first time." Osuma was a sophomore and had his own apartment off campus. I blinked surprised but I didn't want to pry into his personal business so I left it at that.
"Why don't you come with us? There's plenty of guests room at my brother's place. Besides, you'd get to see Kisa again." His eyebrows rose slightly.
"Tempting." I laughed glancing towards Renji as he approached the table with three cups in hand. I thanked him and took my drink.
"Uh, excuse me Rukia, are you trying to bribe this guy with Kisa?" I turned back to him.
"Maybe." Renji shook his head.
"Don't think so, sorry Osuma, she's mine." Ichigo laughed as Renji pulled up a chair from a nearby empty table.
"Renji, you're Kisa's least favorite person. She wouldn't date you if-"
"That's not true at all; she likes me better than she likes you." I held up my hands.
"Chill, Renji." Ichigo laughed under his breath before taking another sip of his coffee. I turned back to Osuma. "Seriously though, if you want to come back with us you can." He nodded.
"I'll think about it."
The next day Ichigo and I had packed up my car and were getting ready to head home at about eleven thirty. Osuma had his own car packed with enough clothes to last him the week long vacation. I gave Ichigo my keys and let him drive, leading Osuma to my house. I had already called Byuakuya and asked about one more person staying at our house. He said it was fine and agreed to keep it a secret from Kisa although I don't think he understood why. By twelve forty we were pulling into the drive, parking behind Byu's black car. I was happy to be home and even happier when I noted my uncle's car parked in the driveway also. I slid out of the car as Osuma parked next to us. He rolled down his passenger window and shouted out to Ichigo.
"I'm not in anyone's way am I?" Ichigo shook his head.
"You're fine." Osuma nodded and killed the engine to his car. After grabbing our bags I led them to the front door, pushing it open. Katsurou turned on the couch, smiling as soon as he saw me.
"Rukia!" I dropped my bag and hugged him before he could get up.
"Hey Katsurou." He returned the gesture, kissing the side of my head. I stepped back as he glanced up at Ichigo and Osuma.
"Hello, Ichigo. Who's your friend?" I held my hand up.
"Hold on, I'll introduce him once everyone's in here." I headed towards the kitchen and gestured for Mei Mei and Byu to come into the living room. Once they had all seen Osuma, I introduced him, telling him each of their names. Byu, who was holding Shiomi, smiled and greeted him politely. I turned back to my brother. "Is Kisa home?"
"Yes, she's upstairs." A smile spread over my face as I gestured for Osuma to follow me up the stairs. "Michiru called and said she'd be here around one."
"Okay." I grabbed my bag and led Ichigo and Osuma up the stairs. I heard a piano playing as I got closer to Kisa's room. I glanced in her bedroom and found it empty, my eyebrows turning down. We followed the sound until we reached one of the guest rooms. The bed that used to reside in the room had been removed and replaced with a small piano. There was a small couch sitting against the opposite side of the room as the large instrument. I sat my bag on the couch quietly and approached Kisa who was sitting at the piano, playing a slow and solemn piece.
"Kisa?" She froze momentarily before turning around, her face brightening.
"Hey, Rukia." I grinned, hugging her tightly.
"Since when do you play the piano?" She pulled away and blinked, looking at me like I was an idiot.
"Since I was four."
"What?" She laughed quietly, a small smile playing on her lips.
"Don't you remember me telling you that I played for the high school's orchestra when they needed an accompanist?" I vaguely recalled what she was talking about.
"Anyway, that's cool. You sound great." She brushed me off, glancing towards Ichigo. He approached her quickly, wrapping her up in a tight hug.
"Hey Kisa." She returned the gesture, resting her head on his shoulder. I noticed her hair as it brushed against the piano bench. She had it in a curly ponytail, her bangs escaping.
"Damn, Kisa, your hair is so long." Ichigo let her go, taking a step back. She smiled over at me and rolled her eyes. "Do you have any idea how jealous I am?" Kisa laughed quietly.
"Yes, I catch you staring at it all the time." I laughed also, patting her shoulder.
"So, we brought someone to see you Kisa." Ichigo held his hands up.
"She brought him, not me." Kisa's eyebrows turned down slightly.
"If it's Renji, I'll hurt you." Another laugh escaped me as I stepped aside.
"Nope, not Renji." I glanced over at Osuma who smiled down at Kisa, offering her a wave. Kisa blinked, looking shocked. She probably thought she'd never see him again. Ichigo chuckled at her expression, nudging her.
"I think she remembers him." Kisa shot Ichigo a glare before looking back at Osuma.
"What's he doing here?"
"Kisa, that's not very nice." She offered me a small smile.
"What'd you do, run down to the coffee shop looking for him?" I laughed, shaking my head.
"He goes to KU; Ichigo had a class with him. See Kisa, it's like fate." Osuma laughed, leaning against the door frame.
"They like to pick on you, don't they?" She nodded.
"It's because I'm quiet; God forbid someone keeps to themself." Ichigo smiled, patting her head.
"Come on, let's go downstairs. Michiru should be here soon." Osuma stepped back into the hallway, pulling his bag to his shoulder. Kisa gave him a funny look.
"He's staying here?" She turned her look to me. I nodded, returning her expression with an innocent one.
"Yes, is that okay with you?" She shrugged, brushing me off.
"I was just wondering." I laughed again, happier than ever to see her again. After picking up my own bag I led him to the guest room next to Kisa's bedroom.
"You can stay in here Osuma." He nodded, absently dropping his duffle bag onto the floor.
"Thanks again for letting me stay here." I waved him off before leading him down the stairs.
"No problem, I'm glad you're not spending your entire vacation working." When we entered the living room we were greeted by Michiru and Hisagi. The first thing I noticed was the physical change in Michiru. She was tan, her skin no longer "pasty" as she liked to put it. Her light brown hair was longer, reaching her shoulder blades while her bangs laid freely to the side of her face, brushed out of her face. She smiled widely as we approached the two.
"Hi you guys!" She hugged onto me tightly. I returned the gesture.
"Holy crap, look at you, 'Chiru. You're tan. In November." She laughed at Ichigo's words.
"Yeah, I have a philosophy class outside three times a weeks so..." She quickly stepped towards him and offered him a hug too before embracing Kisa. She looked up at Osuma, offering her hand. "Hello, you must be Osuma." He blinked a little surprised.
"I am and you are?" She smiled.
"I'm Michiru Ogawa, Shuuhei's girlfriend." They shook hands quickly as Mei Mei stepped out of the kitchen.
"Lunch is ready." Her eyes scanned the room as she counted how many people were present. Then she turned and reported the number to Byuakuya. Ichigo and I headed back towards the kitchen, sitting quickly. Kisa sat next to Byuakuya's seat, filling her glass with tea silently. I glanced up at Osuma who stood back and gestured for him to sit between Kisa and I. He smiled, rolling his eyes at me while sitting.
"Your girlfriend is pushy Ichigo." I laughed while filling my own glass with tea. Ichigo chuckled.
"Yes she is, and stubborn so don't expect her to let this go." Byuakuya glanced down at Osuma before giving Ichigo a confused look.
"Let what go?" Ichigo glanced at Kisa before turning back to Byu.
"Osuma hit on Kisa months ago and Rukia's trying to play match maker." I laughed, waving him off.
"I am not! I just think it's strange how he made his way back to Kisa." To my surprise, Kisa laughed.
"He only 'made his way back' because you brought him here." I turned to Osuma, patting his arm.
"I did not bring you here to play match maker, don't let Ichigo put ideas in your head." He nodded.
"I'll try to not let him influence me." Byu glanced down at him giving him a slightly scrutinizing gaze. Osuma noticed, turning to Ichigo immediately. "By the way, thanks for telling her father that I hit on her." He turned to Byuakuya. "If it makes you feel any better sir, she rejected me." Byu offered a small smile.
"Well, I would hope so." Kisa laughed, resting her forehead in her hand.
"Byu, that's rude." She turned her gaze to him, a smile still on her face.
"Wait, why is that funny? I mean you have a boyfriend, he wasn't-" I nudged him, cutting Osuma off.
"Her boyfriend-" I shook my head, deciding to make my explanation as short as possible. "Remember our friend Kon?" A look of understanding fell over Osuma's face.
"Oh...I'm sorry, Kisa." She stared down at her plate, absently playing with her fork.
"Okay, is everyone ready to eat?" Mei Mei entered the kitchen smiling, her husband at her side. Shiomi walked towards Ichigo with her arms out. Ichigo quickly picked her up, sitting her in his lap without saying a word. Byuakuya patted Kisa's shoulder before smiling over at Mei Mei.
"We're ready." Once that short lived awkward silence was over Hisagi started up a conversation with Byu, asking him about work. Soon the topic was turned onto Shuuhei and Michiru. My brother and Uncle asked all of us about our classes. The rest of the meal consisted of our stories from college life and how we were all adapting. Byuakuya asked me how having a roommate was; he knew how much I hated sharing my space. The meal was pleasant, I was just so happy to see everyone again. Between Ichigo and I, I was having more trouble adapting to living so far from home. He seemed to flourish at KU, meeting new people and making new friends all the time. I on the other hand realized how shy I could be once I was thrown into a room full of people.
Once everyone had finished eating we all dispersed. I think Ichigo wanted to go see his family, he acted like he was in a rush so I made a mental note to dismiss us within the next twenty minutes of so. Kisa headed into the living room, sitting on the couch. She noticed me looking her way and smiled softly. I returned the gesture, pushing myself off the way when Ichigo pushed away from the table. Osuma turned to us.
"Where's the restroom?"
"Down the hall, second door to the right." I pointed toward the hallway. He nodded and thanked me before heading that way. Byuakuya grabbed the half empty pitcher off the table as he helped Mei Mei clear the surface. "Hey Byu, I think we're going to head over to Isshin's soon." He nodded.
"Okay, you have your key on you?" I smiled.
"Yes, I won't be out that late though." He returned the gesture, looking over at Ichigo.
"Are you staying here?"
"Not tonight. My dad would disown me." Byu smiled, nodding his head. "I'll probably stay here at least once if that's okay with you."
"That's fine." He turned back to the table.
"Do you guys want any help?"
"No thanks, we'll take care of it. Go talk to your friends." Mei Mei smiled warmly at us, moving around her husband and brother-in-law productively. Ichigo turned to me briefly.
"Hey, do you want to go see Kon before we head over to my dad's?" I nodded, glancing towards Kisa. Osuma was sitting next to her on the couch, asking her something about the piano.
"Sure, we can take Kisa too. I don't think she's been there since we left." He nodded.
"That's a great idea." I didn't answer, feeling a little guilty for bringing Osuma home. I had no intention of making Kisa uncomfortable. "You okay?"
"Yeah." He gave me a stern look, telling me that he didn't fully believe me. I smiled, hugging his waist. "I'm fine." His arms wrapped around me quickly, kissing the top of my head. We pulled apart and headed into the living room.
"Hey guys, we're going to visit Kon, did anyone want to come?" Michiru glanced up, looking pleased.
"Yeah, we'll go." Kisa also nodded, not seeming upset at the meniton of Kon. Ichigo turned to Osuma.
"We won't stay long." He waved Ichigo off.
"No, you guys stay as long as you want. I'll be fine." With that, they all stood, grabbing their jackets. I let Byu know we were leaving as the others headed outside. Michiru offered to swing by the grocery store and pick up some flowers. Ichigo said that we would visit Hisana and Masaki while waiting. After splitting into two cars, Osuma and Kisa riding in the back of my car, we pulled out and headed towards the cemetary. At first the ride was silent but it was a pretty lengthy ride so I decided to make conversation.
"So, Kisa, any colleges seeking you out yet?" She laughed quietly.
"Nope." I glanced back at her, earning a confused look from Osuma but he quickly turned to Kisa.
"Wait, aren't you in college?"
"No, I'm in high school." He blinked, an expression of disbelief on his face. I turned back in my seat, facing the windshield.
"How old are you?"
"Sixteen." I smiled, still shocked that she was a sixteen year old senior.
"Are you a freshman in high school?" Again she laughed, probably used to this type of reaction.
"No, I'm a senior."
"...What? What kind of high school do you go to?" Ichigo glanced in the rearview mirror.
"She's a genius, Osuma. Two years ago she started as a freshman, worked until they moved her into the sophomore class and ended the year. Then she was a junior."
"Holy shit, you are a genius." When Kisa didn't respond Osuma laughed, taking her silence as confirmation. "Well, you don't look sixteen. But then again, Rukia doesn't look eighteen." Ichigo laughed, earning a punch to the arm.
"Shut up, creep."
"Yeah, coming onto a minor like that. It's creepy. You're at least, what twenty?" He scratched the back of his neck.
"Twenty-one." Kisa turned her head to him.
"You're a twenty-one year old freshman?"
"Sophomore, thank you very much. I took a year off to work before starting college, if you must know." We were able to keep up a pleasant conversation until we reached the cemetary. Once parked by the gate we all slid out of the car and headed towards Masaki. Ichigo introduced Osuma quickly. I mentioned the fresh flowers on the grave, kneeling down next to them. Ichigo said it was probably his dad's doing. I noticed a card hanging off one of the flowers and read it aloud.
"Ichigo, I knew you'd go see your mother before you came to see me. Rukia, kick his ass for me. Love, Karin." I laughed, the note was clearly written in Isshin's doctoral scrawl. Ichigo rolled his eyes. "I love your dad."
"Mom, how did you ever put up with him?" Osuma laughed, patting Ichigo's shoulder. We moved over to Hisana's grave.
"Wow, she looks just like you." I smiled, nodding absently. Laying next to her tombstone was an identical bouquet of flowers as Masaki's. My eye caught her day of death. I couldn't believe it had been over a year and a half. The thought blew my mind. Thinking back to my last conversation with Hisana it felt like only a few days ago. I hoped that feeling would last for the rest of my life; it kept me connected to her emotionally. Ichigo grabbed my hand, getting my attention.
"Hisagi and Michiru are here." I nodded, stepping away from the grave. We headed towards Kon's grave, meeting up with Michiru and Shuuhei. She had her arms full of flowers, kneeling next to his stone.
"Hey, Kon, we brought you some flowers." She sat one of the three bouquets in the grass next to the stone, placing it neatly. "Can you believe it's already November? Your birthday is in a month! That's crazy." We continued to stand while she grabbed a single dried up dead flower that had been left. After she cleaned up the small space she pushed herself off the ground. "I've already made plans to fly home that day to go visit your mother." Ichigo looked down at her.
"You did?" Michiru looked up at him, her eyes glazed over despite the smile on her face.
"Yup, if anyone wants to join me they can. That is, if you can get out of class." Ichigo glanced at Hisagi before nodding. Shuuhei was staring down at the tombstone, not paying us any attention. Michiru turned to him as well before grabbing his hand tightly. "Sagi, don't be sad." He covered his eyes with his free hand, his head down. She hugged onto his arm, trying to comfort him. Kisa sat on the ground next to the grave, absently playing with the grass. I think she wanted to talk to him but didn't want us around. Michiru smiled down at her. "There's no reason to be sad, right Kisa? Kon was just too good of a person, he didn't belong with his family here. God couldn't stand to live without him so He brought Kon home." Kisa smiled slightly, seeming to like that explanation. I smiled also, despite the tears building up in my eyes. Michiru tugged on Hisagi's arm. "Don't worry, Sweety, we'll see Kon again, eventually." Ichigo patted her head.
"I love you, 'Chiru." She smiled up at him as a few tears escaped her.
"I love you, too." Her gaze turned back to Shuuhei. "Come on, why don't we take these flowers to Hisana and Masaki before heading out. I talked to Tatsuki on the way to the store, she's going to meet us at your house." Ichigo nodded, stepping back. When we noticed Kisa's lack of enthusiasm Michiru spoke up again. "Come on guys, let's give Kisa a minute." We headed towards Hisana's grave in silence. As her picture came into view a memory of my last talk with Hisana came into my head.
"Rukia, please promise me one thing." I was clutching onto her hand with a flood of tears running down my face. There was no way I would accept losing her.
"W-what?" She smiled weakly.
"No matter what happens, remember to be happy. That's all I've ever wanted for you, I've tried so hard to give you that but I can't. You have to find your own happiness. So, promise me you'll accept whatever happens and remember be happy." I nodded weakly, as she leaned back against her pillow.
That was the last time I talked to her. That night Hisana fell into her coma; the coma that took away my sister, mother, and best friend. More tears started escaping me as I hugged onto Ichigo's arm. Regardless of everything that had happened in the last two years, I was happy. I had the perfect boyfriend, my new-found sister, great friends, and a strong relationship with the family I had left. There wasn't a day when I didn't miss Kon or Hisana but I was happy and that counted for something.
So...this is it guys. This is where it stops. This has been an amazing writing experience for me and I'm sooooo sad to see it end. I've come to love this plot and wish it could continue but as I've repeated to my sister a million times, everything ends eventually. Thank you to all who have loyally read this; I hope I didn't disappoint.
Everyone keep an eye out though, you never know if there may be a new story heading your way or maybe even...a bonus chapter? :)
Thank you again!