I have written this one-shot in honor of Memorial Day. I know of the pains that come when a family member/friend/spouse dies while serving their country. My family has lost many honorable men of the Marines and air force over the years.
This is also dedicated to my dad, who I was lucky enough to have survived over in Vietnam; you were a great Marine and an even better dad. I'm glade to have you throughout the last 15 years of my life and love every minute I spend with you.
Now I had decided to make this Orihime/Ulquiorra one-shot when I had got on the internet and saw a article of pictures involving Memorial Day around America, and that's when this idea had sprouted into my mind.
So please, by all means, read and review.
Disclaimer: I do not own bleach, or the characters.
Orihime Inoue stared down at the white grave stone, memorizing every word carved into the white marble. Her eyes burned from the tears threatening to pour out like a newly broke damn.
It had been a year, one whole year without him. Looking back, she never thought once that she would be walking into Arlington National Cemetery, counting every stone; every step she had took, until she found his.
Yes, she had visited Arlington many times with him by her side, to pay respect to his fallen comrades and friends. Every Memorial Day they would sit at least an hour at each of his fellow comrade's graves, just to think or for him to tell her of all the memories he and his fallen comrade had shared while on duty. He would tell her all about them, their child hood, things that would tick them off to no end, and he would also tell her stories of them that would really touch her heart.
But looking back at that now, she could never think of a time they would make a visit that she ever had a single thought that she may have to be visiting Arlington to mourn the lose of her own husband.
Every visit she would meet someone new, weather it be a comrade, widowed wife/husband, friend, family; all had stories, ones that Orihime had been told, ones that she would never forget.
She had admired every single soul she had meet there, how brave and strong willed they all were.
There was not a single time she had ever payed respect to these fallen men and women that she did not shed tears.
Orihime turned her head to the side, looking away; tears streaming down her face now.
The thing that scared her most about him being gone was forgetting.
The first time she had realized that this was when she had been lying down on her couch, watching what was her and Ulquiorra's favorite movie. It had brought up memories of him. But as she began to thing of him, his hair, eyes, his strong jaw line. She had felt as if the image was hazed, as if something was off.
She had gone into hysteria, throwing her self off the couch and running to one of the many pictures she had kept of him in the house.
Yes, she remembered his appearance. But his laugh, his voice, the way his voice would get a bit pitchy when he lied about eating away all the pastries she had made for there neighboring friends, the light in his eyes when he told her how much he loved her.
It was hazy, she couldn't remember. The sound, the tone, everything. And that scared her more than death itself.
The memories were all there, but not his voice. It was just a small flicker in her mind now. Her small remembrance of his voice really hit her hard when she had listened to one of the videos the two had taken on her laptops webcam.
Orihime looked back down at Ulquiorra's grave with a small smile; he truly was a great man, and an amazing husband.
She clearly remembered the day in high school when he had told her about his desire to join the Marines. It was before they had started dating, before they had told each other about their feelings for one another.
Ulquiorra approached Orihime holding organic chocolate milk in his left hand and a peanut butter, pickle, and jelly sandwich; with crust of course.
The teen red head looked up, shining one of the smiles she reserved only for him.
Ulquiorra flashed her one of his rare, very tiny smiles that only Orihime Inoue was to witness.
"Having a nice day I hope?" he said sitting down on the ground next to his female friend.
"Ha-ha of course I am! You're here aren't you? So I of course would have a reason to be having an amazing day." A smile broke across Inoue's face as she took the sandwich he offered her. Everyone thought her taste in food were a bit disturbing. But Ulquiorra didn't; he kind of encouraged it in a way by always making her weird food concoctions and bringing them to her for lunch.
Ulquiorra shook his head, surprising the heat that was rising to his cheeks. This girl had really broken through his emotional barrier over the years. It's no wonder she did; she was probably the only person he did not find stupid and uninteresting.
No wonder he was in love with the woman. She was an absolute life form on her own. Always happy and finding the positive to every situation. A trait you rarely find in another.
Ulquiorra turned his attention back to his female companion, noticing her looks of absolute concentration and deep thought.
"Something bothering you, woman?" He asked startling the girl out of her thoughts.
Orihime turned to Ulquiorra, gray eyes wide, "Nothing, its just, next year we are going to be seniors and I just keep thinking; what plans do I have for the future? Its just I have no idea what I'm going to do after high school! Do you have any idea as to what you're going to do?"
The black haired teen sighed, looking down. He didn't really expect the day he had to tell her his plans after high school would come so soon.
Sighing again he looked Orihime over, his eyes softening.
"Well," he said pausing, "Actually I was planning on enlisting into the Marines after we graduate. That is… if the girl I love approves."
Orihime looked down, a small 'oh' escaping her lips, her heart clinching because of the part of 'if the girl I love approves'.
He could sense the melancholy that took her over after his last comment about his love.
"Silly woman." He thought grabbing her chin and guiding her head so she faced him.
Orihime's breathe caught in her throat, his faced was only inches away from hers. "So Orihime Inoue, would you mind me joing the Marines to serve my country? That is…after we marry."
Orihime's mouth fell open, eyes wide, tears falling down her cheeks. "Yo-you mean..You lo-ve me?"
Ulquiorra chuckled, leaning in to kiss her.
"I just said that, did I not?"
Orihime slide to her knees placing her land on her husbands grave tomb, the tears were unstoppable now, there was no use trying to stop them.
"I- I miss you Ulquiorra! Why! Why so soon! We had plans for the future! You said we were going to try for the baby once you got back!" She was hysterically crying by now, her breathe coming out raged and short. "Why did you go? Why Ulquiorra! It's no- not fare! You said you would come back, that you would be there waiting for me to pick you up from the airport! You promised me Damnitt!"
She bowed her head, tears pouring from her face onto the ground, soaking the grass.
"You're a strong woman you know." A voice piped up from behind Orihime, making her head lift up and look back at the owner of the voice.
There stood a woman of median height, dark brown eyes, pale skin, and long curly hair the color of red velvet cake. She wore a navy blue pencil skirt with a red button up shirt tucked in. In her hand she held a framed medium sized photo of a man dressed in his blues looking straight forward with a stern, yet gentle expression.
Orihime rubbed her face with the back of her wrist, sniffling. "Ho-how can you say that when I'm crying, and screaming, having no self control?"
The woman's eyes softened "Because baby girl, the fact that you're here, kneeling before your husband's grave shows how strong of a woman you are."
The women kneeled next to Orihime, wrapping a welcoming arm around her shoulders. "It took me about two years after Luke's death that I could even come here. Two years I kept away from this place. And here you are, right here with your love, crying, showing emotion. It was like you were the only one here, as if the world stopped."
More tears began to run down Inoue's face before the woman wiped them away.
"It was a touching story you know" She said looking down.
Orihime gasped looking to the woman, "What do you mean? What are you talking about?"
The young widow gave the young auburn haired girl a gentle smile. "The story of the day he told you he loved you."
Orihime was gaping at the woman, "Bu- but I-"
"You recited the whole thing out loud love," she said cutting off the other woman. "You spoke it as if you were talking to him, retelling him the story. And the whole time you had this found, spaced out look, as if you were back at that moment in time. I truly do envy you miss."
Orihime looked down, wringing both hands in her lap.
"Why are you being so nice to me when you don't even know me?" she said staring back over to the young woman.
"Because," she said eyes softening, "I know how it feels to have your husband there one day and gone the next. I know what its like to not be able to fulfill all those hope and plans you made together. We were going to travel the world once he got back, but three days before he was to arrive home, the door bell range and when I opened it there stood two colonels, holding a letter and both of Luke's dog tags, our wedding ring on the gold chain I gave him, and the heart locket that he promised to give me when he arrived back home."
Orihime could only stare at the women next to her, how could she be so strong as to tell Orihime all this? Her, a complete strange, yet this woman was entrusting her with this personal memory.
The young woman sniffled, turning to Orihime with her hand outstretched. "Oh gosh, were my manners. Hi, I'm Hope; it's a pleasure to meet you. "
Orihime grabbed the woman's hand, giving it a tiny shake. "My names Orihime, It's a pleasure to meet you Hope."
Hope dropped her hand back to her lap, chuckling softly. "Luke always got onto me for just talking to people before introducing my self. He would always say 'Hope honey! One day you're just going to go up to someone and make them think your some crazy ass woman. Then I'm going to go on and have to save you from them mental hospitals.' He'd always tease me about it. But I never minded, I would just laugh, shake my head, and walk away."
Orihime laughed softly along with Hope. Shaking her head saying, "Ulquiorra always got onto me for wandering off alone without him. He said he was going to tie sets of bells to my shoes to keep track off me if I ever happened to stray away."
Orihime bowed her head again, melancholy taking her over once again. It always made her happy to remember memories of her and Ulquiorra. But right after she would become sad again.
Seeing as Orihime had become sad once again, Hope straightened up, reacting into her skirt pocket only to pull out a piece of white tracing paper and a pencil.
"Baby girl?" Hope said scooting closer to Orihime. "Have you ever done a pencil sketch before? You know, putting paper over something and sketching the objects image on to the paper."
Said girl slowly shook her head, once again wiping her face with the back of her wrist.
"Well then," Hope stated, pressing the piece of tracing paper over the words in graved to Ulquiorra's grave stone. "I'm sure you would like to do the honors." She said handing Orihime the pencil.
"Its quite simple, all you gotta do is lightly shade over the paper, which will transfer the words on his grave stone to the paper."
Orihime did as she was told, her brows knitting together in concentration as she lightly shaded the paper.
Finished Orihime lowered the pencil, staring at the white shit in her hand which now had the words from her husbands grave lightly sketched onto it.
"wow…" she sighed. "Thank you Hope, this means a lot."
Hope smiled, lifting herself back up to her feet before offering Orihime her hand, to which she gratefully took.
"Now, sweetly, why don't I take you for some nice hot tea, I know of a great café me a Luke would always visit."
Orihime perked up, a smile spreading across her face, "Thank you that would be great."
Hope smiled, grabbing Orihime's hand, "Well come one then, lets get going before the sun starts to set."
The auburn haired female nodded her head, slowly trailing behind Hope.
"Oh, wait," She said turning, quickly walking back over to her husbands grave.
Bending down she softly whispered, "I love you so very much, and I'll be back again." Before giving a light kiss the top of the cool marble. "Goodbye."
And with that she walked back to Hope. The two female walking back, talking of past memories they had with their husbands.
Yes, good byes are one of the hardest things to do. And for some, good bye means forever and forever means forgetting.
But just rest peaceful with the thought that gone or not, those memories will forever be engraved in not only your mind, but also your heart.
I really do apologize for the low quality this story may have, I have not written anything in a super long time. But thank you for taking your time to read this.
R.I.P to all the men and women who died serving this country.