~.:. In Remembrance.:. ~
After life, there is no guarantee of what happens. Some believe in heaven and hell, others rebirth. And there are those who believe that we cease to exist. But in some way, in every belief and religion, the soul passes on to somewhere else be it a new body or a new celestial plane.
But what happens to the souls that don't move on?
Twenty two years. Has it really been that long? Twenty two years of living, breathing, moving. Twenty two years of seeing things I shouldn't.
With a hefty sigh, I pushed open the house gate, and stepped up to the front door. Fumbling with my keys, I stared blandly at them, wondering what I was going to do later. Finally, wrestling the right key into my fingers, I unlocked the door and stepped inside. Slipping off my shoes, I stepped past the kitchen.
My mother turned around from the flowers she was mending, her face brightening up. As I sat down at the dining room table, she pulled a chair out and joined me. "Oh, Ichigo! How was work today?"
Shrugging nonchalantly, I pulled out my laptop and turned it on. As it loaded up I answered. "Well, the old librarian still keeps yelling at me to tell the kids to stay quiet."
She smiled kindly. "And do you?"
Lifting my eyes from my screen, I glared at her horrified. "Of course! If I didn't, I'd never get any peace and quiet there!" Ma giggled and rested her hand on mine.
"Oh my dear boy, you poor poor dear." Shea was teasing me and I couldn't help but smirk too, eyes glued to my laptop.
"Well honestly, it's not all bad. The new librarian is nice to me and very quiet. She is much more tolerable than the old one."
Mother laughed behind her hand, eyes bright. "Well, I'm glad you at least have someone tolerable."
I spared her a dry look before turning my attention back to my computer. She tilted her head and watched me in silence for a bit. "Ichigo, what are you doing?"
Still engrossed, "I'm looking at apartments."
Her face fell with sadness. "You're leaving us?" At the tone of her voice, I looked up.
Ah shit, I sat up straight in surprise, a grimace on my mouth. "Aw shit ma, don't look like that." I scratched at the back of my head awkwardly. Really fricken hated making her upset, hated that face she always made… Like right now. "Look, ya knew I was gonna leave eventually and with this job security I can afford it." Her face fell more and I couldn't help but reach out to hold her hand. "C'mon, ya know I'll visit on weekends and holidays still."
She glanced up into my eyes, her own filled with tears. "But that's still so few days here."
Thinking quickly, I grasped her other hand. "I'll visit whenever I'm able. And, when I'm all settled in, you can come visit me. Okay?" That got her to smile a breathtaking grin.
With a nod, "Okay," and she was back to sitting in silence contently. I returned back to my apartment hunt. After a long lapse in quiet she popped a question. "How comes along the search actually? Find anything worth looking into?"
I scrolled down the page and clicked on link after link. "Well, there has been a couple that caught my eye. But, one is a bit more far away than I would like and in a not so great neighborhood." She nodded understandingly. "There's another that is super cheap, nearby and the complex actually has good reviews for the most part too."
With a confused expression, she stared at me. "Then why haven't you contacted the complex yet?"
I glanced back up at her. "That's just it. The apartment is too cheap so I'm doing some digging right now to figure out why. But as of yet, I'm finding nothing."
She moved over to look at the screen too and I leaned away, making room. "It's quite a nice looking apartment. And close! You should definitely get it!"
Nervously, I bit my lip. "You think so?"
She smiled and nodded. "I know so."
With a smirk, "Well alright." That's when I heard footsteps reaching the bottom of the stairs. Karin gazed boredly at me as she turned the corner.
"Talking to yourself again?" She stared as she passed, heading to the fridge.
I looked back at my computer, more intently than before. "Nope." Mom sighed from next to me and stood up straight, shaking her head sadly. Karin shut the fridge, milk jug in hand.
As she poured a glassful, her eyes never left my person, stare calculating. "…Somehow I don't believe you."
Once I was hidden in the safety of my room, I pulled out the scrap of paper with the apartment complex number scribbled on it. Punching the numbers into my cell phone, I sat gingerly on the edge of my bed as it rang.
"Karakura Apartments, how can I help you?"
Snapping to attention, I got ready to talk business. "Uh, hi. I'm calling in regards to apartment number…" I glanced at my scrap of paper, "006. I was wondering if it was still available, I was hoping to be a tenant."
The woman on the other side was quiet for a bit before speaking again. "Why, yes it is. I have the information pulled up right here on my computer."
Excitement flooded me and I perked up more. "Wow! That's great! When can I set up an appointment to meet and fill out the necessary paperwork and the like?"
"Well, we'd have to check out your background and credit as well but as for the appointment…" There was the sound of her tongue clicking in thought. "Hmmm, how about next week Tuesday at ten A.M.?"
Tapping my chin in thought, do I work Tuesday? Rolling to the other side of my bed, I pulled my work schedule from my nightstand. A smirk lit up my face. "Tuesday next week at ten? Sounds great."
"Great! It was nice doing business with you misterrrr...?"
"Ah, Ichigo Kurosaki."
"Mister Kurosaki. And I hope to get to know you better as a tenant. Have a good day sir."
"Uh, you too…. Uhm, bye." With that awkward farewell, I laid back on my bed, staring at my ceiling studying it. Slowly, a grin grew on my face as excitement washed through me. Soon, I'd have a place of my own.
Gently placing the books back on the corresponding shelf in alphabetical order, I jumped when a scream rang right in my ear; practically deafening in the silence. "KUROSAKI! That little bastard is at it again! Tell the little mongrel to knock it off!"
Rubbing my aching ear, I sighed with annoyance. "Mrs. Toru, how many times must I tell you? The boy is only four years old. He doesn't know any better."
The old hag snorted and threw her nose high in the air. "I don't give a flying rat's ass what he is or isn't." She stomped over to menacingly lean over him. She continued to scream and rant. "The little shit is a fiend to all things literature!" Her eyebrow twitched as she watched him silently for a second before exploding and throwing her arms up. "STOP DRAWING IN THE BOOKS YOU LITTLE IMBECILE!"
Deciding to intervene before she started throwing books across the library –again –and scaring the life out of everyone, I put my hand gently on the little boys' shoulder. "Hey there. We're not supposed to draw in the books, okay?" He looked up at me with wide innocent eyes; eyes full of life and wonder.
Sighing through my nose I smiled awkwardly. "Because it ruins the book for everyone else. If you wanna draw, I can give you some blank paper, okay?" The little boy nodded enthusiastically and I scurried off to do as I said. As the boy merrily scribbled away at the innocent –and safe –blank paper, Mrs. Toru stared at the tarnished books, lamenting their loss with glares and growls.
"Look at this mess! The little brat practically ruined this book! This copy of 'Brayer Rabbit' has been here since I first started working here; basically demolished!" She glared at the child before swirling on her heel muttering under her breath about unruly youth and needing to find her old whipping ruler. I paled significantly as I watched her disappear into the back. Hope to god she didn't find that thing. Perhaps I should take it home and burn it while she's preoccupied elsewhere?
Shaking the worry off my shoulders I stared back at the boy once more, making certain one last time that he was behaving. Satisfied, I wandered back over to the shelf I was restocking and began to once more gently place the books in alphabetical order.
Place and repeat.
Walking down the empty street, I kept glancing at the address in my hand. Looking around at my surroundings, I was fairly surprised with how nice the neighborhood itself was. There was even a small time convenience store a block down from here. Easy walking distance from my hopefully would be apartment. But other than that, there was a music store and a couple fast food joints and a pharmacy. I was duly impressed so far. Now, hopefully, the apartment would meet my expectations.
A young teenage girl walking on the opposite side of the street caught my eye and blushed crimson, giggling behind her hand she waved enthusiastically. Staring at her from the corner of my eye, I continued along. She huffed in annoyance and continued on her way, eyeballing me the whole time. I'd have to keep an eye out for her later, try to keep as much distance as possible.
Shoving my hands into my pockets, I sighed and continued on my merry way, thoughts one in a million and all in opposite directions. Staring up at the sky, I couldn't help but think that the clouds looked extra fluffy today. I wonder if the raindrops were super soft to make the clouds look so inviting. Maybe even fuzzy… Hmmm…
My eyes popped wider when glancing to my side I saw a sign bearing 'Karakura Apartments' across its front. Double checking the address on my sheet, I looked back up to the building and began my trek to it. It wasn't overly huge, about one hundred apartments total and well kept. The grass was green and the flowerbeds full of colorful plants. Staring at them as I passed, I caught a gnome peaking out here and there.
Creepy. Opening the doors, I was blasted with cool air and the spicy scent of cinnamon potpourri. Stopping in the doorway, I lifted my nose higher and closed my eyes, enjoying the scent, letting it fill my senses.
"Erm… 'Scuze me sir?"
My eyes popped open and I tilted my head down to stare at the young woman behind the counter desk. From the odd look she was giving me, I must have been standing there much longer than I thought. She leaned forwards slightly in concern. "C-Can I help you?"
That knocked me back on focus. "Ah! Yes," stepping forwards, I began pulling out necessary identification and personal information. "I'm Ichigo Kurosaki and I'm here for an appointment/viewing thing."
Her green eyes widened and a smile split her pretty face. Flicking her wavy green hair from her face, she held her hand out politely. "Ah, Mister Kurosaki! I remember speaking to you on the phone before. I'm Neliel but you can call me Nel. Everyone else does."
Glancing at her out held hand, I placed my license into her palm. Looking down at it in confusion, she looked back into my eyes bemused. Her fingers twitched around it for a second before shaking whatever thoughts were plaguing her mind. She giggled and held it back out to me. "It's nice to finally meet you face to face, Mister Kurosaki. " As I took back my license, befuddled as to why she didn't even give it a cursory glance to see if I really was who I was claiming to be, I shrugged and slid it back into my wallet.
Looking back up, I still saw her hand held out to me, her expression expectant and kind. Confused for a moment, horror began to fill me. Did I forget to bring something else? Did I have to pay for this appointment?! I didn't bring any money! Staring at her hand in mounting horror, her fingers twitched once again before her hand fell with a sigh and girlish giggle.
"You're sure strange Mister Kurosaki." My hackles rising, I glanced at her eyes but found only amusement. "I like it! It's different from everyone else here." She smiled kindly and shook her head once again, face palming gently. "Oh! But of course, boss will be out to see you shortly. Actually, if you follow me this way, we'll get you all situated while I contact him, sound good?"
I nodded as I trailed along behind her like a lost little puppy. I sure felt lost and nervous. Would this be my new home or would my eccentricities chase them all away as well as my chance at a new home? Swallowing thickly, I swore then and there to at least try and behave like a normal human being. Easy right? Same species and everything.
Not so easy. Nel opened a door and led me to sit down in this nice comfy armchair that I sunk down in deeply. I watched as she hit an intercom button, signaling whoever was inside the other room door that I was there. She bowed politely and went on her way back to the front desk. The door she had been standing by before slid open with a creak and my eyes slithered to stare at the hinges.
"Please, Mr. Kurosaki. Do come in." A man's voice called out pleasantly. With a heaving sigh, I lifted myself onto my feet and stepped into the room. The man's chair was facing away from me, the sound of fingers tapping away at a keyboard filling the room. "If you could so kindly close the door then take a seat."
I stared for a couple seconds in silence before I realized he was addressing me and I jumped into action, sliding the squeaky door shut and sitting in another amazingly comfy chair. As we sat in silence for god knows how long, tapping filling the void, I glanced about the room. Pictures of different people lined the desk and walls and counters. Bemusement filled me.
Why would somebody want so many random photos laying about? Just as I was slipping into thoughts of the owner being some strange pervert, the tapping stopped and he turned his chair around. And I'm pretty sure I had a funny look on my face. Between the hat and the fan the only thing I could partially see were his eyes and even then I could tell he was smiling at me.
Yep. Definitely a pervert. He tapped his free hand on the desk, fingers motioning for my paperwork. Handing them over, I couldn't stop staring at his eyes. It looked like they were laughing at me too. The man opened his mouth and wow was I blown away. "Good morning Ichigo Kurosaki, I am Urahara or Kisuke. Whichever you wanna call me I'm fine with it. Now before we get down to the nitty gritties, I'd like to personally welcome you to Karakura Apartments where family matters and safe environments are our goal. I'm certain you have lots of questions and that's okay. That's why I'm here; to be your guiding light and point you in the positive direction.
"Here at Karakura Apartments we have a strict criteria in our tenants to better ensure our hospitality and safety goals but just from lookin' at chya I've got a pretty good feeling you'll fit right in here." The man smirked behind that fan. I could feel it. Like his lips were sliming all over my skin. I shuddered and leaned away.
Definitely a pervert.
His trap flapped open once again. "Of course, we have yet to personally check your background but that shall happen after this meeting if I am pleased with what I see. But never fear, I am most satisfied." My eyes widened in horror, Urahara's eyes taking on a sick amused gleam. The bastard was enjoying this! "Anyway, I thought you'd might like to take a stroll through the complex and actually see your apartment and get your own feet wet, see if you're interested."
I nodded and we both stood up, him motioning to the door and leading the way. As we passed out of the room, he swept up a cane in his free palm and we travelled down the hallway to the stairwell, Urahara jabbering the whole way. "Now, apartment 006 is one of our biggest apartments as it is in the top ten and is on the top floor."
I glanced at the nice labeled doors as we passed. "Yeah, actually I was wondering about that. For such a nice place, why is it so cheap?"
Urahara glanced at me from the corner of his eyes, smile no longer present in them. But just like that, the smile was back and we were on the next upper floor. "Well, we haven't had anyone attempt to rent out the apartment in so long we figured lowering the price would help and seeing as how all the other rooms are taken on that floor." He shrugged. "Made sense at the time and look, here you are attempting to rent it. Apparently the idea worked!"
I slitted my eyes at the laughing man. I could smell bullshit a mile away and something about what this guy was saying reeked of it. What it was? I couldn't say but something didn't feel right here. Urahara stopped before a nice door and smiled at me. "These apartments are bigger than the rest so there are less tenants on this floor, hope you don't mind less neighbors."
I shrugged boredly and he pulled out a key and unlocked the door. Looking at the number across the paneling, I realized we were outside the apartment I was interested in; Room 006. He held the door open for me and I slid inside, looking around in a cursory glance.
It was actually really nice. Dark red walls and black carpet; a bit dark for my tastes but not bad. Urahara saw my gaze and smiled. "The last tenant customized the room a bit. He painted and furbished all this. If you want new decor though, that's gonna have to come out of your own pocket."
"No no. It's nice. I like it, it's…. different."
Urahara shrugged and led me to the bedroom. "The place comes with cable internet and the works. We even have a pool and gym built in here that only adds a couple dollars to your rent a month."
Looking at the massive bed, I smirked turning back to Urahara. "Speaking of rent, how much for a down payment?"
Urahara's eyes brightened and a huge smirk took root. "So you are interested?" I nodded in the affirmative. We travelled back to the door and he held it open for me. "Well, that kinda talk should be dealt with in my office, Mister Kurosaki."
I smirked happily as we moved back downstairs, feeling content and excited once more.
"So, I see you mended the flowers again, Ichigo." Dad said as a dinner conversation opener. I glanced up from my listless poking of my meal and looked back down; a noncommittal shrug his answer and my chin burrowing deeper into my palm. Yuzu and Karin were tucking away at their food, dad having already sucked half his down. It's not that the food wasn't delicious… I just wasn't in the mood to eat but nor was I in the mood to starve. So somehow I got caught up in this awkward in between dance of uncertainty and father pounced on the chance to talk with me.
Mother sat at her end of the table watching me sadly. She rested her hand upon my arm in comfort and I glanced her way. Karin narrowed her eyes as she caught the look and lowered her chopsticks. "What are you looking at Ichigo?"
Barely sparing her a glance, I looked back down at my food and shook my head in the negative with no verbal response to give. My little sister continued to glare at me but I ignored her. Yuzu sighed and set down her drink, turning her attention to me. She tried to send me a comforting smile but I kept my gaze averted to my food. Awkward silence suffocated us and mom grimaced.
She scratched at her head, her mouth opening as if she was going to say something before it snapped closed again. This happened a couple times before she shook her head and leaned towards me, a mischievous smirk on her lips. "How much you wanna bet your father is about to say, 'So! How's this for a last meal all together?'"
"So! How's this for a last meal all together?"
Mother and I began giggling as my sisters and father glanced at me in confusion, wondering just what had made me laugh. Karin's eyes narrowed more before she slammed her chopsticks to the table and stood up. We all jumped and father look at her in alarm. "Karin, honey what's wrong?"
She glared at him before glancing at me. With a mutter to the ground, "I'm not hungry anymore," she stormed off and upstairs. Yuzu and father spared a look before glancing at me and sighing. I couldn't turn my wide horrified eyes away from my plate.
Mother rested her hand on my shoulder. "Oh, honey… She's just worried about you is all. Don't take it personally." I shook her off and stood up myself. I stomped up my way to my own room to finish packing.
As I went up the stairs, I heard Yuzu whisper to dad. "I wish mama were still here. She'd know what to do to comfort them both."
Assorted odds and ends and pointless knick knacks? Check.
Underwear? Che- I paused, pencil half marking my list. Glancing around wildly, I set down the paper. Un check. Moving over to my dresser, I pulled all of them out. Laying them on the ground, I categorized them by color and age. Then, in groups of three, they were set in the right inner flap of my suit case.
Smiling to myself, I couldn't help but feel giddy. Tonight was the last night I was living in this house with my family. Just nine more hours, forty-eight minutes, and fifty-three no fifty-two –fifty-one! –seconds and I'd be my own man. Such a liberating feeling! Plopping backwards on my bed, I laid there in silence staring at my ceiling.
Though, there was some melancholy in my leaving. I really would miss this ceiling. Would my apartment ceiling be this interesting to analyze and memorize? Would there be little imperfections that my peripheral would catch and pull my attention? Would my new ceiling be as entertaining as this one?
How gross. I'm nostalgic and I haven't even left yet. Snorting to myself, I burrowed my way completely under the covers in the middle of my bed and curled up into a tight ball. Pulling my pillow down to me, I hugged it against my stomach and laid there in the stuffy heat.
I could only imagine and dream what apartment life would be like.
Clenching my new keys in my white knuckled fist, I hurried down the early dawn sidewalk. An elderly couple stared at me, the woman smiling kindly and the old man yelling back at her. "Ya old hag! Whatever happened to keeping your eyes only on me?!"
Her glare turned to him. "That was only until death do us part! And guess what? That was a long time ago! Except somehow we didn't separate!"
"Why you cheaky little-"
I didn't hear the rest of the argument as I stepped inside my new residence building. With a nod to the receptionist –some black haired guy with glasses, who barely spared me a second glance –I carried my luggage to the elevator and stepped inside. The god awful elevator music must run on an infinite loop because even in the wee hour of five A.M. it was still going.
Tilting my head to the side… Pretty sure it was the same song too.
When the doors dinged, I stepped out onto my floor moving merrily, an actual tune humming from my throat. Down the hallway, stepping out from Room 009, a tall red headed man covered in tattoos looked over at me. With a silent nod and wave of salutation, he went on his way, locking his door and heading to the other elevators on that end of the floor.
Watching with a bemused look, I stared after him wondering why he was heading out so early. Figuring it was none of my concern, I unlocked my door and stepped inside. Inhaling deeply, I sighed in content.
It even had that freshly cleaned new apartment smell. Smelled like freedom. With a chuckle, I set my suit cases down by the living room floor and moved to the kitchen. Smiling to myself, I wrote a note reminding me to return home later to collect the rest of my appliances.
Stretching languidly, I moved towards the bedroom, a shower and then a nap in mind. Before I even hit the doorway, I was stripping off my shirt. Oh what a thrill, to be able to walk around naked in my own place without worrying about younger sisters seeing things they shouldn't!
Throwing the shirt to the ground I had just placed my fingers within the lining of my pants –
"Hey! What the hell are you doing in my apartment?! Shit! Is Kisuke trying to sell it again?! Dammit all!"
I jumped at the angry voice from behind me, the man sounding dangerously close to fighting. Slowly turning around the blood rushed from my face and understanding hit me.
Welp… Now I knew why the room came so cheap…
~.:. End of Chapter One.:.~
Tried to make Ichigo a bit more of an odd ball and a bit emotionally stinted ya know… due to the whole supernatural aspect he's lived with alone his whole life. That kind of thing is gonna make a person strange.
Anyway, HOPE YA'LL ENJOYED! LET ME KNOW WHAT YA THOUGHT! LOVE YA GUYS AND 'TIL NEXT TIME!