DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Bleach'. All rights belong to Tite Kubo. I only own this fanfiction. Thank you.

Epilogue: Iris

"Here! Over here! There's a perfect spot for us to sit!"

"Tch, can't believe you talked me into doing this shit..."

The sky was so blue and so blinding. Not even the brightness of the sun could mask its shade. There wasn't a single cloud to be seen for miles, and if you stared too long at it, you would honestly feel as if you were being sucked up, up and away...into weightlessness, into nothing, into the air, where you would free fall until...until eternity came to an end, one supposed.

Marching up that rolling green hill on such a gorgeous summer's day were two lone figures. The first one, a young woman with flowing amber locks tucked under a straw hat, clad in a white sundress that billowed about her knees. The other, a somewhat sour looking male, with spiky blue locks that matched the sky above him and his narrowed eyes below, as taut muscles stretched up, to lift a hand to shield his eyes from the light. He was dressed in a form-fitting black tank top and navy jeans. In his other hand was a large basket. "Oi! When are ya gonna sit down already?"

"Right now!" His companion giggled, as she plopped down right in the middle of the green grass, skirt splayed out over her legs. He let out an exasperated sigh as he made his way over, plunking the basket down beside her.

"Dumb ass. At least wait until I set everything up, eh?" She merely responded with a squeal of delight, as he scooped her up easily in one arm from the ground, and threw out a checkered blanket with his now free other hand.

Settling themselves on the thin mat, the male looked towards the basket, a new hint of curiosity evident in his vivid eyes. "So, what the hell did you pack in here, anyway? It's heavy enough-could feed an army, easily." The redhead beside him shook her head.

"You'll see, Grimmjow. You'll see." He groaned-Orihime could be a real pain when she chose to play out the whole 'mysterious' act. He wasn't much for these kinds of surprises. "Come on, it's my fucking birthday!"

"Which is why we have to draw everything out! It's such a wonderful day-do you really wanna rush here? Just the two of us?" Grimmjow was forced to look into her pleading grey eyes, as she now held the hat in her hands, below her quivering lips. Just like a child. He scoffed. "Whatever, whatever. So how the hell'd you find this place, anyway?"

Her gaze became more distant then, as she set the hat down beside her. "Sora brought me here, once...it's such an amazing place, but so few people come out here to enjoy it." Then, her expression brightened, as she looked at her companion. "Which is why I brought you out here today! It means a lot to me, and so do you! It's your birthday, so I wanted to give you something really special!" Orihime waggled a finger in his face. "Remember, I even skipped school for you just to do this!"

Grimmjow had to chuckle at her comment and enthusiasm. That's right, she had. "Okay, I get it." He looked around. True enough, it was beautiful. Completely untouched by human hands, not a scrap of litter or a single trace of development present. Just a tree up high behind them, at the peak of the hilltop as they rested on the slope. Which reminded him...

"Hey. Woman." She looked at him, and saw that mischievous gleam in his eye. Uh-oh. Just what was he up to now? "Yes, Grimmjow-eep!"

He'd tackled her then, pinning her to the checkered blanket. The basket lay ignored to the side, as Grimmjow had Orihime's delicate wrists in his grasp. On his knees, one leg rested between hers, holding down the front of her skirt even as the side rose up where her one leg had drawn up slightly. Her hair spread out into the grass, and her chest rose and fell with quicker breaths. He leaned closer, noticing again just how goddamn beautiful she really was that day. "We're all alone here."

"I-I know that, Grimmjow." She couldn't hide the stutter to her voice, nor could she hide the rising color in her cheeks. He had let go of her wrists, to trace a line down, from her throat to the top of her breasts. His hand stopped suddenly at an angle, as if halted by an unseen force. His eyes never left hers.

"Do you really trust me out here? Like this?" He leaned down closer, lips but an inch away from hers. "Just like this? All alone?"

There were so many others who would've had his head if they knew what was going on right now. So many who always got in his face, about how he was "corrupting poor, helpless Orihime-chan!" It sickened him to no end. Didn't they know she could make her own damn decisions? That if he'd wanted to hurt her, he would've done it already? He was so close, he could practically hear the rapid increase to her heartbeat. There was silence for a few moments. Then...

Orihime's face broke into that famous smile of hers. "Of course, Grimmjow. Every time." She sat up to brush her lips against his gently. "Happy birthday."

He wrapped an arm around her, and eased her back onto the blanket, for a fuller, more intimate kiss.

A/N: You can interpret this scene however you like: perhaps it's a dream being had by the slumbering Orihime under the tree [from the last chapter], or maybe it's a glimpse into another world; a peek into the life that could have been if everything had gone right from the start. It's really up to you.

Yeah, the ending is very bittersweet. Although this chapter is included, we all know how the story officially ended. Apologies for any tears involved.

So. This is the end of our journey. I must admit, it's been quite the memorable one. I had so much fun sharing this w/you all! BIG thank yous to everybody who read, Alerted, Faved and/or Reviewed this fic. It was great to meet all of you, and hopefully...you'll come back again? ^w^

Which is to say: for those of you who are interested in another 'Bleach'/GrimmHime fix from me...I've currently begun work on a NEW full-length GrimmHime fic. If all goes well, I hope to have it complete in half a year's time. [I pray this doesn't sound conceited. ^^;]

Alright, everybody. Take care.