Ishida/Orihime wedding fic! FINALLY. IT IS DONE. Hallelujah, lol. This is for GoodLuckMother (I didn't get a chance to tell you this before, but I love your username!), who requested the two of them getting married, and who is insanely awesome and patient, despite the stupidly long time it took me to finish this fic. I hope it's everything you were hoping for! Credits to JJ Heller for the song lyrics/title.
It's while she's waiting for the doors to open, breathless and hands shaking, that reality settles down upon her, as light and pure as the silk of her dress. Her head is spinning, just a little, her heart pounding, grip tight on her bouquet of flowers.
"Are you okay?" Ichigo asks softly, no doubt feeling how tense she is, their arms looped through one another's.
She can't answer the question. In the quivering electricity of the moment, her ears strained for the beginning chords of that familiar organ music, her voice catches in her throat. She can't bring herself to speak, for fear of her voice breaking, so she only tilts her head into the crook of his shoulder and nods. Ichigo seems to understand, and he kisses the top of her head.
"You look beautiful," he tells her, as, from within the church, the wedding march begins to play.
They make their way down the aisle, step by slow step, her weight braced against Ichigo—terrified her knees will give out when he lets go—as around her the music thunders within the chapel, washes over and winds itself around her.
When she peers out from beneath the lacy curtain of the veil, she can see the rows and rows of people all standing, watching, smiling. Chizuru and Keigo both sobbing and clinging to one another, Mizuiro shaking his head at the two of them in helplessly fond exasperation. Almost all of Soul Society came as well. Orihime had been uncertain whether they'd have time for a simple wedding—but she remembers the rare smile that broke across Captain Hitsugaya's ordinarily solemn expression when she handed him the invitation, and had immediately told her yes, he'd be attending. He's seated beside Hinamori, and his face flushes a pleased pink when Orihime makes sure to nod to him in silent gratitude as she passes.
Urahara, with one arm curled around Yoruichi; Tessai, and Jinta, and Ururu nestled beside them. Kenpachi, Yachiru, Ikkaku, Yumichika all piled together, accompanied by the rest of the 11th squad, and for once, all of them are properly groomed and well-behaved. It's a warm mix of embarrassment and pleasure that overwhelms Orihime, knowing that it's all for her benefit.
Kyouraku offers a cheerful thumbs-up as she passes, and receives a fond smack upside the head, courtesy of Nanao, a shake of the head from Ukitake; Kurosaki Isshin, in a hideous power-blue suit, but glowing as if it's one of his own daughters walking down the aisle; Karin and Yuzu giggling, in matching lacy pink dresses.
Chad at the altar as best man, standing beside Renji and the empty space that Ichigo will soon fill. Rangiku, unable to keep from waving gleefully as Orihime approaches, and Rukia's eyes shining—her bridesmaids. Tatsuki, as her maid of honor, already crying with joy.
There's so much joy, radiating throughout the entire church, from hundreds of people who have been a part of, saved, changed her life—all of it focused on her, and Orihime suddenly finds herself fighting tears of her own.
And then she looks up, the nearer she draws to the altar, heart pounding, and sees Uryuu. And somehow, without her quite realizing it, the rest of the church fades away.
He's dressed simply, in a dark suit and deep blue tie, pale skin stained by a faint blush; looking at her like they're sixteen again, and he's just worked up the nerve to ask her out the first time; like the first time he told her he loved her, and she whispered it back; the first night they'd made love, his hands tracing reverently over her skin—taking her apart, and holding her together after it was over.
Like the afternoon, three months ago, when they'd walked along the riverbank, holding hands in idle silence, and she'd wondered where their lives would go, now that he had graduated med school and she was thinking of moving out of Karakura Town—right before he'd sunk to one knee in front of her and brought out a simple black box from his pocket.
They've reached the altar now, and Ichigo squeezes her hand gently, one last time, before he lets her go. She walks on her own the rest of the way, carefully measured steps that take her closer to Uryuu. Toward a future that stretches before her, terrifying in its unknown, the thousands of possibilities that spiral forth from her imagination. It's strange, but for the first time since Uryuu proposed, Orihime feels a brief stirring of doubt about her decision—they're too young, they're moving too fast—and the world spins around her, blurring at the corners of her eyes.
But then she takes the hand that Uryuu offers her. She feels its warmth, its slight dampness through her glove; hears him take a shuddering breath, and they're close, so close that she can see her own anxiety reflected in his gaze. His breath is shallow, and trembling, and they're both scared, she realizes—but they're also together.
They can do this.
She squeezes his hand in reassurance, steadying him, and waits until he meets her gaze.
"Ready?" she whispers.
He lets out a soft breath, half-laugher, half-nerves, and then nods, with such earnest seriousness that she wants to lean forward and kiss him—not yet, though, she reminds herself with a sheepish grin. He leads her forward, toward the waiting minister, both of them still holding tight to one another.
"I love you," he murmurs, and though he's said the words so many times before, they carry something new within them, something electric that sings throughout Orihime's body, makes her feel like she'll burst into flames, and take flight, and weep with joy all at once.
"I love you, too," she replies, and means it with every last piece of her heart.
She can't remember anything about the actual ceremony itself, apart from Uryuu's smile, their exchanged vows, when he'd slipped the ring on her finger—a simple silver band inset with a blue stone, the same color as her hairpins. She remembers their kiss. The thunder of applause and cheering, his lips soft and gentle against hers. When they part, he's smiling at her, and she sees adoration, and eagerness. She sees a promise. They run down the aisle, laughing, showered with rice, and flowers, and good-natured cat-calls, and Uryuu looks back at her over his shoulder, his eyes alight.
The party that follows is spectacular, in a large tent outside, covered in glimmering lights and heaps of elaborate flower arrangements. There's food (the 11th squad descends upon the buffet table like a swarm of deranged locusts), and drinks (Ukitake dutifully keeping track of how many glasses of wine Kyouraku knocks back) and music.
She remembers the first quivering chords of music that strike up, an American song she learned the words to a long time ago; a song that came back to her late one evening as she dozed in Uryuu's arms, both of them exhausted from clawing through magazines for ideas on bridesmaid dresses. She'd known, breathing in his scent of clean laundry and faint cologne, the faint memory of a guitar strumming sweetly, that it was the song she wanted to share with him, as their first dance.
His long, strong fingers on her waist, and he moves with her, in slow, winding circles
"Love, you are lovely,
You have put the stars to shame…"
"I have lost my senses, and you're the one to blame," she sings along, and Uryuu pulls her against him in a tight embrace, swaying, their bodies pressed to one another in a way that feels so achingly intimate that it frightens and thrills her all at once.
The night winds on. The 11th squad gets exceedingly drunk and belts out (with startlingly excellent pitch) an old love ballad. Tatsuki manages to make it most of the way through her toast, before she starts bawling. Fireworks explode in blossoms of sparkling light in the dark sky, and the night is so warm, so pure, that it fills Orihime's lungs up like oxygen—has her laughing, and singing, and occasionally weeping, as the hours slip past.
Urahara dances with her, and Hitsugaya, bright pink once more; Isshin, in a moment of genuine seriousness, and Ichigo, beaming. They whirl her across the dance floor, dress fanning out around her, hair streaming, her cheeks flushed. But in the end, she always comes back to Uryuu, his arms open and waiting for her; he pulls her close, his chest warm and firm against her cheek, his glasses balanced precariously on the end of his nose.
He holds her, and Orihime can hardly breathe, as she thinks of the life that awaits them: years of inside jokes and arguments; of a home, and children that will have her hair, Uryuu's eyes; of growing old together, of intimacy, and dreams.
And of love. Of so much love, and Orihime leans up, balancing on her tip-toes and kisses Uryuu, long and sweet, until she truly is breathless.
"My husband," she whispers.
"My darling wife," Uryuu replies softly, and kisses her again.
"Tonight, our life begins."
I was (yet again) aiming for ridiculously sweet, as that is my favorite way to write Ishida/Orihime. Thank you so much for reading, and as always, please review!