Disclaimer: Kubo Tite created Bleach, and Shueisha Inc., Viz Media and others own the rights to the story and characters. I write these stories for fun and not for money. Kubo-sensei would be appalled at some of the things I do with his babies.
Description: IshiHime. Written shortly after the publication of chapter 354, “Heart,” set in post-manga future in which Orihime did not restore Ulquiorra even though at the moment I’m praying that Kubo-sensei will bring our Cuatro Espada back to the Bleach story. Rated R for graphic descriptions of lactation and some heterosexual fondling but honestly, you kids should know about this pregnancy and sex stuff and not be fazed by it.
This is the sort of fic that you will really like or think is omg ridiculous.
Written while listening to Shubert’s Serenade. I love this version sung by Nana Mouskouri: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqUsNZLqcGY
When I wished to sing of love, it turned to sorrow. And when I wished to sing of sorrow, it transformed for me into love. ~ Franz Shubert
The liquid beading on Orihime’s right nipple was milk.
The bead grew to a full bubble, a see-through sigh the shape of a turnip seed, and then it spilled like a tear. Orihime had never felt such a warm sorrow as the wet path it left over her breast.
No! Not yet! What about the baby?
She wasn’t supposed to be making milk already, was she? What a wasteful work-out of her body if that was what was going on. The baby, overdue, still inside her, wouldn’t be able to taste the first drops of this important stuff, the nutrient-rich disease-preventing colostrum--that’s what Ryuuken-san had called this prime milk--colostrum. From the way he talked about it, it cured cancer. Not that curing cancer was a biggie because Orihime could do that, but she couldn’t make colostrum out of thin air. It was a special elixir that spouted for mere hours from women who had just given birth. Did it contain some magical measure of motherly love too?
Baby-bean-chan, kuromame, little one, sweet one, come out, come out! You’re missing your first meal!
Orihime pushed down the bedsheets to expose her big nude belly. Low light from the reading lamp that Uryuu constantly left on showed her the plain outline of a fetal rump, a shoulder, and a round head under her swollen skin.
You’re too comfortable.
The powers that trespassed the sanctum of God didn’t do diddly when it came to the person growing inside her. Orihime had never felt so separate from another being and yet so close. She could feel the baby’s drowsy contentment; she couldn’t coax the baby into another dimension because it loved where it was.
I’m going to leak out all your first food! Ryuuken-san said babies need their colostrum. Wait. Maybe I can save it in a cup in the freezer.
Would it spoil?
What if the milk was another thing she couldn’t save--like her own innocence from pain, like this soul or that life in a bloody war? I’ll protect you forever, baby-bean-chan, her heart wanted to vow, but Orihime couldn’t help but remember, with a heaving sense of panic, all the times she’d failed to save herself.
The sorrow surged from deep inside Orihime’s right breast and this time five clear pearls emerged on the nipple’s surface.
Then they spilled.
I’m raining, I’m pouring.
There was a Western saying about spilled milk. When Orihime had first read the phrase in her first year English textbook, she’d thought those people really like their milk. She couldn’t remember the saying now, but had there been some correlation between spills and the futility of life? Milk … a not so tasty food that most Japanese people couldn’t digest very well. Orihime liked it vanilla flavored, but Ryuuken-san said his son couldn’t stomach cow’s milk at all. Back in high school she’d once bought Uryuu a strawberry smoothie, and he’d drunk the whole thing politely while looking like he wanted to vomit. There was something about boy pride Orihime respected but would never understand. He should have told her he was lactose intolerant.
The milk of human kindness. No, that was Shakespeare. One of the plays in which a lot of people were murdered.
There’s no use crying over spilled milk.
That was it.
And remembering the saying, Orihime started to cry.
The muffled sobs roused Uryuu whose large hands right away clutched her bare shoulders. Orihime heard the expectancy in his breathing as he blinked himself awake. He wasn’t going to ask what was wrong.
She hated herself for scaring him like this. She burst into tears so often these days. One would think that the baby had died the way she always sobbed, but yesterday she wept because August heat was exhaustingly, gloriously thrilling and walking alongside the fountains of
“It’s not about the weather this time.” She swallowed hard and tried to compose herself. “It’s a little more serious--but not really. Everything’s okay. I’m just--”
She felt the pressure of his palms lighten.
“I’m leaking stuff all over!” she blurted out.
He looked relieved. “So,” he whispered. “It’s time?”
He thought her bag of waters broke?
“No, no.” She sniffled tears. “It’s colostrum.”
He didn’t seem to remember what that was. Because his eyes hadn’t adjusted to the dark and he couldn’t see her obvious state of being drenched in breastmilk, she moved his hand to cover her right breast so he could feel the dampness.
“Why are you--?” He began and stopped, realizing the source of the stickiness under his fingers. The motion of his thumb under her nipple was making more come out.
She was going to run out before the baby was born. Was the stuff that important? Was she fretting about nothing? Didn’t Uryuu always have the nice, calm facts?
“The first milk I make is important for the baby’s immunological system and to help it make its first poo-poo. If it doesn’t drink this now, does that mean our baby will be born constipated?”
“Oh, Orihime.” The sweetest voice. He had the sweetest voice even though she could hear the contained impatience in it. He cupped her crying breast and gave it a gentle reassuring bounce. “Everything’s going to be all right.”
“But your dad said that mothers only make colostrum for about a day. What if the baby comes tomorrow? Or next week? What--? Why are you looking at me like that?”
He was no longer gazing at her kindly. His mouth was displeased. “Ryuuken?”
“He’s very knowledgeable,” Orihime began.
“He’s not your obstetrician.” Uryuu frowned. “He shouldn’t worry you with his useless information.”
“He’s the baby’s grandfather. He’s just trying to show his concern for me in his way.” Orihime noticed the clock on the mantle. “It’s not even midnight yet! I should call him. His information isn’t useless. He’s the one who told me that nipple stimulation can help bring on labor, so maybe what we did tonight started my milk coming out and maybe--”
She was reaching across the bed for the phone but Uryuu stopped her with his chest. He looked traumatized. “I thought you read about that in a book.”
“The nipple stimulation? I did.”
“Ryuuken suggested … he told you …”
Orihime didn’t understand why Uryuu looked so freaked out. He and his dad had such a bizarre relationship and still so much to learn from one another. “Oh! Don’t worry! I didn’t talk about our sex life in any detail. I just asked if it was true that orgasms can bring on labor and he said to try it but that if you were squeamish about going all the way that nipple stimulation alone--Uryuu?”
Uryuu had buried his face in his hands.
“If you’re going to be a doctor,” Orihime chided, “then you’re going to have to get used to talking about these things.”
He didn’t raise his head. “I’m going to switch to architectural design,” came the muted miserable words.
“Then you better tell your dad you’re thinking about that because he’s paying for medical school.”
There was a long silence. Orihime felt it pool across the bedsheets like regret. Her insides ached with baby-fullness and a frustration for things to be different.
Uryuu already regrets his first year of medical school, she thought under another swell of panic.
It was too soon to be starting a family.
He was going to regret having given in to her desire to be pregnant.
A wife who cries all the time, a baby who cries all the time, how was he ever going to put up with this life? A wife who talks to his dad about nipple stimulation….
He’s going to regret ever having loved me.
Orihime shut her eyes and bawled, not even trying to hold back. The thin bedroom walls echoed her cries.
“The poor… the poor …” she sputtered. “The poor people upstairs. I’m a bother to everybody.”
It didn’t surprise her that his hands were comforting her, that his fingers were kneading her skin and brushing hair out of her face. He did that. He had always been there for her ever since they had crash-landed together in the Seireitei. He had bandaged her wounds then. The warrior tending to the healer. She didn’t deserve him, but life was sweet and strange like that--it kept surprising her with sorrow after sorrow yet kept feeding her love.
He kissed her shut eyes. His lips pressed against her wet lashes. His tongue peeked out and touched her cheeks, following the trail of her tears. Orihime had heard the phrase “kiss your tears away” in songs before, but before Uryuu, she never thought anyone actually did that sort of thing. In fact before their first kiss, she never would’ve imagined him capable of this sort of sensuality. His hands were already combing through her hair. Like Tatsuki said, “it’s those quiet ones you have to watch out for.”
But Orihime didn’t think her frustrations could be kissed away this time.
“No no no no no no no,” she whispered frantically, “no sex no sex no sex.”
“It might help stimulate labor,” Uryuu whispered back. He was nibbling her eyebrow now.
“But I can’t have the baby when I’m all … ALL FULL OF BAD FEELINGS.”
He pulled away at that. Orihime had given him her first ever definitive rejection in the bedroom. His mouth was glum, and Orihime guessed that he was hurting for her and not himself. He seemed at a loss for what to do and that’s what bothered her most. Because if Uryuu couldn’t handle her craziness, there was maybe no handling it.
“So many times,” she started in a hoarse voice. “So many times I wished for things to be different. Is it terrible of me to wish I had the power to go back and change the past?”
He was just going to listen; he was not going to judge. That was so Uryuu.
“I wouldn’t change anything about us,” she added hurriedly. “I’m so happy we found one another at last, so don’t think I would change--I mean, if I could have loved you from the beginning all yourself instead of loving Kurosaki-kun first ….”
Eyes that were bright blue even in the dim light were so patient.
How could she explain? Her powers were a terrible burden because she had them now and didn’t have them when Sora was hit by a car. She could’ve healed him then. The loss that was in her heart to this day would never have been born. If she’d only learned to control her powers better sooner so many other tragedies would have been lessened. All those Shinigami who blew apart in the bomb when she was only able to shield herself and Uryuu and Maki Maki. All those who went to Hueco Mundo and fought and bled for her….
“Nii-chan….” she started again. But there was no talking about Sora after invoking him like that, so she suggested another person whom she had failed.
Her hand reflexively rose the way it had the last time she’d seen Ulquiorra and reached out to grasp something ungraspable.
“I couldn’t save--”
Uryuu’s fingers folded into hers and held her hand tight.
With that handclasp between them, she and Uryuu faced one another in the still night and Orihime thought how it looked like a ceremony of sorts, that someone should say some sacred words. She only had stupid words, though, and stupid feelings that were still unexpressed.
“He saved your life,” she said as if Uryuu didn’t already know what Ulquiorra did for him that day. “He saved yours and mine and Kurosaki-kun’s and I … I couldn’t save …”
“You did,” Uryuu finally spoke. He lowered their hands. “We’ve talked about this before. You saved him from being alone … in those last moments.”
All the philosopher people who always said things like man dies alone, man is born alone--blah, blah, those things weren’t really true, were they? How could they be when someone was holding Orihime’s hand so tightly?
For a while there, shortly before they were married, Uryuu had called the left hand that she had restored to him in Las Noches “your hand.” As in “Ouch, I plucked that new reishi string too hard with your hand” or “Your hand fell asleep while I was lying on it, reading” or “Shall I touch you with my right hand first or do you prefer that I touch you with your hand?”
“Uryuu? Is there anything you really regret?”
“No,” he said. The corner of his mouth turned up in the slightest smile. “Not yet.”
She leaned forward, not an easy task because her belly was so large, and kissed that smiling corner of his mouth. “You’re wonderful. See, I already regret crying and talking so much when we could’ve been having sex and nipple stimulation to start this baby coming out.”
He kissed her neck and then her throat. When his lips closed around her nipple, she felt a tug deep inside her, the usual place where a lurching happened whenever he kissed her but this time it … hurt.
Falling against Uryuu’s chest, she felt herself tip over like a vase and dribble water. It was a relief but she still felt full.
“It’s happening,” she said in an awed voice.
And then other moments, moments not drenched with recriminations or tears, happened, one after another. Joyous moments, thrilling moments, moments born of love and fear and even though she wanted to remember them forever, Orihime knew as the moments happened that she could not save them all.
That was when she stopped regretting. During the brief, dizzying labor before the baby’s birth, Orihime understood that there was no stopping or changing or turning back life.
Life insisted on itself, even in the wake of deaths and sorrows.
And Uryuu held her hand the whole while.
English lyrics to Schubert’s Serenade:
... gently pleading through the night to thee
... while all are calm and silent, dearest come to me
... softly murmur in the moonlight clear, in the moonlight clear
... may watch thee none can harm thee
Wherefore dost thou fear? wherefore dost thou fear?
Come and bless me here, come and bless me here
And bless me here.
This little piece had many midwives. Thanks to those who beta-read and offered feedback and otherwise indulged my foolish hobby with serious attention: vayshti , cal_reflector , r0ck3tsci3ntist and especially nehalenia