Goodbye, Kurosaki-kun.

And thank you.

"C'mon, Inoue! Hurry!"

"B-But Kurosaki-kun…"

"He's fine!"

"B-But…"

"Dammit, Ichigo!"

"Renji!"

"Rukia…he already went through."

"Excuse me."

All eyes shot up. Orihime paused in her run, recalling just like last time, "S-Stark…"

"Gomen. I don't like doing things like this. Twice in one day, Inoue."

"P-Please…"

"Get away from her!"

"Renji, don't!"

Rukia gasped. Renji paused. Blood spurted. Rukia fell limply to the ground, her eyes quickly fading, hiding her gaze from the world. Renji screamed, "Rukia! You fucking bastard!"

"Gomen. I said I didn't like doing this." Gripping Orihime's arm, he pulled her towards him while she stared down at her friend in shock, silver eyes filling with hot tears.

"Kuchiki-san…"

"INOUE!"

"Let's go. Aizen-sama is waiting."

"Tell me you love me."

"I love you, Kurosaki-kun."

"Again."

"I love you, Kurosaki-kun."

"Again."

"I-I love you, Kurosaki-kun."

And their lips met in a fierce battle.

Where are you? Where the hell are you?

"Ichigo!" He could hear the others behind him now, screaming for him to slow down.

No. No.

Where the hell are you?

"Inoue!"

Answer me!

He could still hear her. Feel her. See her. That little nervous giggle she made when she was around him. The way her hair swished around her hips. The way she would anxiously play with her skirt, whispering vivid dreams under her breath.

Answer me! Tell me! Tell me where you are!

A hand gripped his shoulder, whirling him around, "Are you crazy?" Renji. Not now. "Rukia is hurt! We have to get to Aizen!"

Aizen. Aizen. That bastard. He had taken her. He would kill him. Right in front of his precious, dying army. Who the hell did he think he was? Taking what was his? His stomach clenched and he gripped the ending of his sword, his teeth gnashing together. How was he supposed to keep it together? When he had her?

"Did you hear me, you idiot? Rukia's in trouble! Let's go!"

There was a scuffle and suddenly, Renji was holding his nose, blood flowing from his nostrils, his eyes wide as they stared into Ichigo's. Figment of black was pouring into his brown, left pupil. Renji took a step back, the crimson liquid rolling, dripping down his fingers. "I-Ichigo…"

"I have to find her."

And then he was gone.

"What're you doing?"

He leaned closer, a burning chocolate gaze that made her knees weak.

Gray eyes widened.

"I'm going to kiss you."

"B-But…Kurosaki-kun…"

"Close your eyes."

Long, black eyelashes fluttered shut, something flashing in the warm, hesitant gaze.

"Don't move."

"K-Kurosaki…kun…"

"Renji!"

"Oi! Ishida! Sado!"

"What happened to your nose?"

"I-Ichigo…he fucking punched me. That idiot."

"…He what?"

"It fucking hurt."

"Muh…"

"We don't have time for this! Aizen has her! He has her! What the hell are we supposed to do? Their attacking Karakura town!"

"Calm down, Quincy."

"Calm down? Calm down!"

"Yes. First, we need to worry about Rukia. Where is she?"

"I-I'm…here…"

"Rukia! What the hell? You shouldn't be moving. should be looking after you!"

"Rangiku-san…G-Gin…," Cough of blood, "he's down…he's gone…"

"Rukia…"

"Please…y-you have t-to help, Ichigo. He won't b-be able…to hold f-for…long…Inoue…" The slim body collapsed.

"Rukia!"

"What do you want for your birthday, Kurosaki-kun?"

"You."

A pout.

"But you already have me."

"True."

That handsome, rugged smirk.

"Seriously, Kurosaki-kuuun! Tell me!"

"I already told you. I want you."

"Kurosaki-kuuun! EEP! Not in public!"

"Stop moving so much…"

"K-Kurosaki-kun…mmph!"

"…Shh…"

"Inoue!"

Let her go. Let her go. Let her the fuck go.

And he had told her. He had wanted to tell her.

"I love you, Kurosaki-kun."

Shocked, he turned to look at her.

"Yeah. And don't you forget that.

He couldn't bring himself to say it back.

"Aizen!"

Startled grey eyes looked up, her mouth trembling, her pretty face twisted in agony, No. No. Don't come here, Kurosaki-kun…Aizen suddenly reached out, wrapping a strong arm around her waist. She stumbled into him, the stupid white dress that hugged her figure making her chafe, her hair messily falling around her, sweat dewing on her forehead. Aizen smiled as the substitute rushed forward, his brown eyes a flat with fury and determination. He could feel the satisfying power pulsing from the orange haired, dueling with his. Orihime's knees buckled from the sheer force of his reiatsu. She felt like she couldn't breathe. Not with Aizen so close…Not with…Ichigo…Ichigo…was fighting for her again.

When he finally stopped in front of them, he instantly yanked his sword in front him, fully prepared. His eyes darted to the woman in Aizen's arms, his woman, "Let her go."

Aizen smiled again, leaning down to Orihime's hear, his breath brushing against her silky hair, "Orihime. Do you see this? Your savior finally arrived."

"K-Kurosaki-kun…" She whispered, her pink lips shaking from the force of fear and sadness cascading down her body, through her heart, sending razor blades sliding through her ribs. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. "Please…"

He slanted her a stare with his amber orbs, "You broke our promise."

Her eyes widened impossibly. Widening, widening, pain soaring through her veins, her stomach dropping to her feet. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe.

"P-Promise…?"

"You promised you would never fucking leave me. And you broke it."

"K-Kurosa—"

"Now, Aizen," he returned his gaze to the man holding what was his, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to rip off your fucking limbs one by one and tear off your head, which I'm going to hang over my bed as a damn trophy. And then I'm going to lecture Inoue and fuck her until I can't move. Got it?"

Orihime didn't have time to blush at his explicates and lewd tongue. She was too busy focusing on trying to breathe. She felt Aizen's lips widen against her ear and she shivered when his tongue caressed the skin. Ichigo's back went ramrod and his reiatsu choked her, cutting off her air supply, stinging her skin, whipping through her hair. Aizen even grunted from the ferocity of it, but he managed to keep on the handsome, indifferent façade.

"Does this make you upset, Kurosaki Ichigo?" He ran his hand up her stomach, feeling it tighten and cupped a breast roughly, molding his fingers to the bountiful mound. Orihime gasped out, her body hunching over and trying to reject the smooth, unwelcomed touch. Ichigo's eyes narrowed and his power made her knees give out, but Aizen held her up, pinching the nipple hard through her white uniform.

"N-No!" She cried.

"Let. Her. Go." Kurosaki said slowly and carefully, his eyes becoming consumed by the black of his hollow. He couldn't hold it in anymore. Not when he was touching her. Not like that. Not like this. His heart was thudding loudly and his legs shook. He would kill him. Murder him. Slice the bastard in half. There wouldn't be any part of Aizen left when he was done.

"Stop!" She shouted, wrestling weakly in his long arms. His grip tightened around her narrow waist, "P-Please…" She hung her head, feeling the submission knock through her. She didn't want to be weak. Not in front of Kurosaki-kun. "P-Please…Aizen-sama…"

Snap.

Aizen smiled.

A tear fell.

An almighty roar.

No more.

"Kurosaki-kun! Don't!"

"I will protect you."

"Y-You…You don't have to."

"I'm serious, Inoue. I'm here. Don't ever forget that."

"Don't make such promises."

"…"

"I love you, Kurosaki-kun…"

"Yeah."

"Don't!"

Don't what? Protect you? Dream the fuck on!

Orihime couldn't see anything. Not when they were battling so angrily. She was able to see the flash of orange as Ichigo dashed all across the plain rock, slamming his sword in Aizen's, knocking the master backwards. Aizen seemed surprised, his dull, brown eyes wider than usual. Orihime pushed her hands in front of her, summoning her shield so the dust knocked into the golden globe.

She couldn't breathe.

I can't breathe.

Not like this.

"Getsuga—"

"Don't! Kurosaki-kun!"

"—Tensho!"

The spiritual pressure slammed into her frail form, breaking her shield, sending her flying back. She managed to grip onto the ground, feeling her eyes sting from the ferocity of the battle and the power in the air. She bit her tongue stop from crying out from the agony. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. Stop. Stop. Stop.

"You fucking bastard!"

Her eyes snapped wide.

Aizen gasped.

Ichigo…

"Don't!"

"A picture book?"

"Let's make a lot of memories."

"Just the two of us?"

"Hai! Only me and Kurosaki-kun!"

"…Good."

"Don't!"

Inoue?

Protect.

Protect.

I…have to protect her!

His sword sliced through the air, the powerful black and red smashed against the man, his target. His new fucking trophy. He would see that head every morning and he would tell their kids his story, how that was his prized possession, right next to their mother. He wouldn't allow this to happen. He wouldn't let this man take him down, take away the only thing that meant something to him. Orihime. Orihime. Orihime. I will fucking protect you!

And he fell. Slowly. Harshly. And Ichigo felt his lips lift into a smile. No. He wouldn't let him win. Wouldn't let him take what was his.

"Kurosaki-kun!"

His head lifted at the beautiful voice, eyes widened. She was rushing towards him, stumbling and tripping, crystal tears staining her red cheeks, her breasts bouncing, her long legs bringing her closer and closer and closer. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe…without him. The ground suddenly shook, the heat blazing up both their spines. A pair of shocked grey eyes watched as Aizen stood, beaten down, bloody, skin pale, mouth open.

"KUROSAKI-KUN!"

"Are you alright?"

"Hai!"

"Shit. You're bleeding."

"Gomen. I fell pretty hard."

"Don't apologize for being clumsy. Don't apologize for being yourself, Hime."

"H-Hai!"

She already knew what he was going to do. Please don't. Please don't. No. No! Ichigo watched in shock, body completely frozen. She had one chance. And she realized. She would do anything for him. Anything for Ichigo. Anything. Her legs increased their pace, realizing her intent, her brain working through the pros and cons. But in the end, it didn't matter because it was Kurosaki-kun and how many times had he done this for her? Later, he would ask, "Why?"

Because I love you.

Wasn't love the answer to everything though? For her, at least.

Aizen was half-crazed. He wouldn't. He wouldn't allow himself to be done in. Not by this substitute. Not by this…this…boy. Ichigo moved, foot stepped back, hand reached out for his sword…

Orihime…she jumped the last step.

"Ichigo!"

He froze as the power blasted from Aizen's body, his eyes glinting evilly, not ready. Not ready to let this go. He closed his eyes, expecting pain, expecting the heat of blood and the smell of death. To see Orihime's grey eyes would be heaven though. Just one more time. He felt the familiar warm body slam into his.

Brown eyes snapped open.

No.

No.

No!

"Ichi! Ichi! A shooting star! Look!"

"Oh…yeah…"

"Make a wish!"

"Mine already came true."

"O-Orihime…"

Blood. So much of it. How could…How could so much come from this? Come from this fragile body…? He felt something stir within him. Not anger. Not sadness. Not…anything. How could he? Just…shock. As the two teenagers both fell to the ground, he felt the heat. The warmth of her blood, her body sprawled over his, limp and…

"O-Orihime…?"

He scattered from under her, his heart stopping for more seconds he could count. No. No. No. The hole. Hole. A gaping hole that there was no way he could fix. He felt the bile rise, burn his throat, churn his stomach. He gripped her frail shoulders, pulling her into his chest, feeling the blood wash through his fingers, burn his skin. No. No. No.

"O-Orihime…"

"Ichigo…K-K-Kurosa…"

"W…Why…? Fuck. Why would you…Oh. My God!"

A timid, small smile on her deathly pale face.

"B-Because…I-I l-love you…"

"Fuck, Hime!"

Gripping his hair in his hands, he gnashed his teeth together so hard he thought they were going to crack. No. No. No. Her long eyelashes fluttered, concealing the grey clouds of beauty, breaking them from the world. No. No. No.

"O-Orihime…don't! Don't you fucking die on me!

He didn't even notice the flash of familiar power.

Kisuke.

No time.

Aizen was down.

He would get his head later.

Ripping the cloth from his black uniform, he twisted it around her midsection, watching as the crimson liquid gushed through it almost instantly. Fuck. Fuck. No. No. No. He grabbed her head in his calloused hands, the hands she said she loved so much because they were strong. Now, they were trembling, fingers braiding themselves into her hair, bringing her closer, wide brown eyes staring as the blood continued to flow, staining the ground below them.

"Fuck, Orihime…Call your powers. Don't lie there like that! Fuck! Please!"

But she was turning gray.

And there was nothing he could do.

She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe.

I would, she whispered to herself, do anything for Kurosaki-kun…

"Orihime!"

"B-But Ichigo! Tatsuki would be very angry if we ditched her…"

"Shh…I don't want to go on a double date."

"But s-she finally met someone. A-And…"

"Listen, I want you all to myself. Okay?"

"…Okay."

Renji paused.

"Did you hear that?"

Blood coated Rukia's leg and arm, "I-It sounded…like Ichigo…"

"Damn it! What did that bastard do now?"

A pause.

"Do you feel that?"

"What, Chad?"

"That."

"That reiatsu…!"

"Inoue!"

"And I wanted to make you dinner tonight."

An orange eyebrow raised, "Tonight?"

"Hai~"

"What for?"

"Because I love you."

"Yeah."

Everyone. And when you say everyone, you mean everyone. All the captains, all the lieutenants, Renji, Rukia, Sado, Ishida, Toshiro, Rangiku, Ikkaku, Tatsuki, Keigo, Mizuiro, Isshin, Karin, Yuzu, Yuruichi, Kisuke, Jinta, Ururu, Tessai…everyone. They all stood, injured, in the night, some breathing heavily, some sobbing out right. Toshiro stood straight, but he couldn't deny allowing the tear to fall from his right turquoise eye. Rangiku was wrapped around him, blubbering loudly. Ikkaku refused to look, because he knew he would break. Rukia couldn't stand. Renji felt sweat pour and tears flood his eyes. Kisuke kept his face hidden by his hat, Yuruichi had looked up into the stars, holding her bloody wound in her side. Tatsuki couldn't think straight. Ishida could feel the tears pour. Sado bit into his cheek, allowing the metallic blood to sweep into his mouth.

No.

Not her.

Rukia raised her numb gaze and landed it on the two, further down the hill, in front of the glistening lake, under the moon, away from ear-shot. They would give Ichigo that much. "Ichigo…" She whispered to herself. What was he saying? What was he feeling?

"Her powers…" Kisuke murmured, "The barrettes cannot be repaired. There is no way, Kuchiki-san. Please. Don't cry. She did it for someone she loved."

"Mr. Urahara…" She swear she could see something glistening on his cheek.

"I want to be with you forever, Ichi!"

"Forever? Sure, I can do that."

An excited squeal. He smiled, rare and handsome.

"Really?"

"We'll be together. Forever."

"Orihime…"

A sigh of happiness, filled with dread and pain, "Arigato."

His grip tightened around her shoulders, cradling her in his lap, watching the light fade, slowly but surely. No. No. No. "What for?" He couldn't stop his voice from shaking. Everything. Everything was falling apart. His whole world. Slowly and surely. Even his hollow was silent, fists clenched.

"For…my name…Arigato." She wheezed out, her high voice going low and breathy. God. No.

"Yeah," he nodded, keeping his eyes hidden. He wouldn't allow her to see.

"Do you remember?" She suddenly whispered.

"W-What?"

"Do you r-remember? B-Before everything? When I first told you…I-I loved you…?" Yes. How could he forget? When she had bumped into on the day after Valentine's Day and whispered her vow of her affections. He had stared at her for an impossibly long moment and she had smiled sweetly. How could he forget? "Do you, Kurosaki…kun?" The blood seeped through his fifteen shirt, stinging his bronze skin.

Fuck.

He tightened his grip around her. She was starting to…fade. Just as her powers…Urahara was right. She would fade. Right in his arms. Don't. Don't. Don't. Leave me. "Y-Yeah…Of course I remember. I had called you stupid."

She giggled again, a cough really, the smudged of dirt on her pretty face, her tangled, wild hair splayed everywhere without her clips. Deathly pale, shimmering silver eyes, pink trembling lips…No. No. No. "Y-Yes. You did." He didn't want to look at her face anymore. He wouldn't remember it like…like this. He leaned his head down and placed his chin on top her hair, allowing the silky tresses to brush against his throat.

"Y-You know," she murmured. God. Why couldn't she stop talking? Ruining everything, making his eyes burn and sting and tear up. Just stop. "This is nice. I…I haven't been able to talk to Kurosaki-kun like this…for…for a while…" He could no longer feel her form pressed against his. She was leaving. Her transparent chest became more and more noticeable.

"O-Orihime…" He whispered, "Y-You are the only woman I have ever loved and yet…"

A hot droplet hit her pale cheek. Orihime's eyes fluttered back open, gazing up. They widened. No. Don't. Not for her. "T-This is the first time…I've ever seen Kurosaki-kun cry, ne?" And she had never wanted to see that. She was so used to him being so strong and determined. Not for me. Not for me.

"Hime…I-I…" His voice went higher, out of the world, tears trailing down his cheeks, staining her own. He was yelling now, yelling curses, yelling her name, "I-I couldn't save you! I couldn't protect you!"

But…he did.

She was the one…

"But still," she whispered back, her eyes shimmering again and that smile, that smile that he loved, the radiant, happy smile from when she ate red bean paste or when he kissed her or when he held her hand or after lunch or when Tatsuki won a match. That fucking smile. "You came for me. I'm glad."

He stared down at her in utter astonishment. This creature, this beautiful, beautiful caring creature still forgave him for everything, still loved him after everything. He leaned down closer, taking in her bright hair, gorgeous face, glistening, silver eyes, "I…I love you, Hime."

She blinked and her smile became even larger, cascading over her face like water. And then his lips were on hers, kissing away the hate and pain and anger and sadness. It wasn't heated. It wasn't rushed. It was just Ichi and Hime. And that was enough for them both.

Orihime couldn't hold it in anymore. She couldn't keep pushing away the pain. It was…over. And she couldn't breathe. Suddenly, he couldn't feel her hair brushing against his chin, he couldn't feel her breasts pushing into his chest, he couldn't hear her heavy gasping, he couldn't taste her lips. She blurred in front of him.

Just then, in Kisuke's hands, her hair clips broke, vanishing into sapphire dust, moving into the air. Tatsuki let out an agonized wail, Rukia clutched onto Renji, Ishida stumbled onto the ground, Sado stood tall, allowing the tears to wash down his strong face.

Ichigo

"I love you more." And she smiled again.

"Orihime!" He clutched her tighter, refusing to let go. But there was nothing to hold. Nothing to grab. He felt his arms sink through her body as she continued to smile, blood vanishing from the hole in her stomach, the indent in the grass disspearing from his sight. Tears coursed down her face as he fell forward, hands and knees, the body in front of him, the body he worshipped,

Gone.

No.

No.

No.

You made a promise.

"D-Don't…"

A bright aura expanded from the earth, warm and rich and strong. It surrounded the group, restoring their broken bones and bloody gashes. Rukia watched as her arm was sealed shut and the blood vanished.

And she smiled sadly as the white cloud began to evaporate. But it was enough.

"Inoue…"

She was saying…

Goodbye.

"D-Don't…" Ichigo repeated, whimpering now, clenching his fingers in the grass, "Don't leave me."

And the tears began to wash away.

Because she wasn't gone.

She was watching over him.

His memories flickered.

"But we can try our best, ne?"

"I'm worried…"

"I love you, Kurosaki-kun!"

"Don't tell me I'm weak."

"I will do whatever it takes."

"Kiss me."

"I can't stop loving you."

"Happy birthday, Kurosaki-kuuuun!"

"Red Bean Paste DAY!"

"K-Kurosaki-kun…"

And he knew.

He would never let her go.


Hope you liked it. Tell me what you think. I'm going to go buy some tissues.

-Star