_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,
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Invisible Writing, Part Twelve

Invisible Writing, Part Twelve
R

Final confrontations and final sacrifices

Invisible Writing, Part Twelve

by debbiechan



Disclaimer: Kubo Tite owns Bleach, and Incandescens owns the imagination that gave me the scenario for this particular fanfic.

Description: This A/U begins from the time Orihime was kidnapped and taken to Hueco Mundo, only the events preceding the immediate kidnapping are slightly different (as revealed in this story) This fic is an adventure romance featuring Ishida and Orihime, but there is also implied Ichigo/Rukia and Aizen/Gin.

Warnings: References to character death, teenage sexuality, homosexuality, and magical crystal objects. This chapter contains more violence than previous chapters.

Special thanks to Incandescens and Finnigan Geist. And this time, warm thanks to all of you have been enjoying and commenting on this story.  I’ve been having a grand time writing it, and hey, that’s what fandom is all about.



Part Twelve


Orihime knew that Aizen was capable of great cruelty, but she had never felt it directed towards her.

Telling Gin to slay her handmaidens like that. Why? His face didn’t have the set jaw of someone who had just issued a severe command. If there was any sadistic intent, it was invisible. Did he really not care? Was killing people like drinking tea to him?

As she considered the horror of the situation, Orihime felt her tears dry and her trembling hands steady. Do something, do something. Gin was telling Aizen in a matter-of-fact tone that he had overheard the princess and her “boyfriend” plotting to get the hougyoku and return with it to the Living World. Do something now, before it’s too late.

“Orihime,” said Ishida in a voice that sounded like it was coming from the other side of a dream, “you can heal them. You can change all of this.”

Orihime did not want to see the grisly results of Gin’s Shinsou, but she turned her face to her side and looked.

Again, she knelt to do what was as natural to her as breathing. “I reject,” she whispered, and again, Ayame and Shonou flew, creating the golden shield over the dead bodies.

“I don’t think so, my dear,” said Aizen.

Orihime turned to the sound of that gentle, gentle voice. His expression was still fond even though Gin had revealed that his daughter was a traitor. Did Aizen want her to stop the healing? What had he expected her to do? He knew that it was well within her power to bring Almatriste and Lastimada back to life.

“Withdraw that shield,” Aizen said.

Orihime stared, not understanding. Then she turned to Ishida for a cue. He would tell her what to do now, right?

As their eyes met, Ishida startled, as if something had poked him in the back, and Orihime realized that there was something poking him in the back. Aizen’s forearm was raised as if holding a weapon. Orihime knew--with an absolute clarity that chilled her--that Aizen’s zanpakutou was going to end Ishida’s life.  Aizen had no use whatsoever for Ishida anymore. Whatever threat Aizen might make to coerce her into any action was meaningless. She knew Aizen was going to kill her Uryuu regardless.

“Withdraw the shield or Ishida-kun will fall,” said Aizen. His voice still sounded as though he were pronouncing endearments. “And no, you will not be able to resurrect him from the deathblow your father delivers.”

Gin, against the wall, was grinning. Ulquiorra, standing behind Aizen, seemed detached from the whole scene. Were Ulquiorra’s eyes closed? The unreality of Las Noches had never been so manifest; a Shinigami created new beings out of the Dead here, and these beings would usher forth the winter war that threatened all the people Orihime loved in the Living World. How could she have walked and laughed amidst such Evil?

“I am disappointed in you, Orihime,” Aizen continued. “Your appetite for a human boy outweighed your love and allegiance to me. There’s much to restore and repair in our relationship.” A small sigh and the command spoken more firmly: “Withdraw that shield, Orihime.”

Orihime did not withdraw the shield.

“I had hoped to bring you to your destiny without sorrow or regret, but birth pangs are inevitable when it comes to creation, I suppose. Your transformation to Arrancar will happen sooner than later. I can’t afford to lose you to this childishness again.”

Orihime could hear herself breathing. Her lips were parted and letting out even, shallow breaths.

“You can’t challenge me and win, my darling girl. Only I know how to summon the hougyoku, and I hold the key to your true identity. You have no choice but to follow me.”

Aizen is a liar.


Orihime looked into Ishida’s eyes. “Uryuu?”

“It’s alright, Orihime,” he said in a voice so lovely and strong that the tears rose in Orihime’s eyes at the sound of it. “I know you have to heal them. I know you won’t choose between me and them.”

Why is it that I always do the wrong thing?
Orihime had resisted Ulquiorra when he came for her. Her resistance had caused all that carnage at the battlefield, hadn’t it? She had not pushed Ishida out of Hueco Mundo when she had the chance; she had still believed in her futile plan and now he was going to die.

Orihime’s shoulders shook, and the tears poured.  She swallowed and could not speak.

“My poor Orihime,” said Aizen. “I will take care of you. Withdraw the shield, and I’ll make sure the boy goes back to the Living World. Where he can’t interfere with our plans. Where he can resume the lost cause of opposing me.”

“Orihime, no,” said Ishida. “Don’t listen to him. Keep summoning your power. I believe in you. You are… you can do it, Orihime. Try.

“That’s enough, Ishida-kun,” said Aizen. “You’re just making it harder on the girl. Don’t you want to live to see your friends and family again, my dear boy?”

Orihime’s face fell against the healing shield, and she sobbed. Loud cries this time. What Uryuu was expecting her to do was not as natural as breathing. She had tried so many times before to summon the hougyoku and failed.

Her body kept sinking against the shield. The golden aura wavered, began to dissolve under the weight of her upper body pressing it.

“Don’t give up, Orihime!” said Ishida.

“Oh my,” said Gin. “This is rather touching.”

Orihime lifted her face again, and the healing orb sprung to its normal size.

“One last time, Orihime,” said Aizen. “Withdraw the shield.”

“I--I can’t,” said Orihime in a small voice. She forced herself to look at Ishida Uryuu and saw that his eyes were gleaming with faith in her.

“I love you,” he said.

**

Sharp anguish, deep resounding pain. Orihime didn’t see the blade stab Uryuu so much as she felt it. Aizen’s zanpakutou ran through his flesh like a hand penetrating the surface of water. One smooth movement through his heart and out his chest.

His head fell, black hair dangling. Orihime had not seen his face as the blade went through. She could not see his face now--only the bowed head.

He stood for a moment, impaled before Aizen, and then the blade dropped him. It was over. Orihime felt his lungs fill with blood.

No horror, Orihime knew, would ever burn her soul so much. Her first thought was to deny the feeling.

It’s alright, it’s alright,
she told herself as she turned  from the sight and looked into the golden light of her shield. I won’t have to remember this. I won’t remember this.

“Uh oh,” said Gin, and at that sound Orihime realized that her hairpins had flown out of Gin’s hands and were circling her head.

I won’t remember this. I won’t remember this.

She forced herself to look again. Uryuu lying there, blood everywhere, his beautiful hands cupped against the ground.

I won’t remember that I loved you.


Orihime stood up, leaving the golden shield intact over the handmaidens, and began to walk towards Aizen.

He extended his arm.

She put her palm out before her.

“I’ll take care of you, my darling Orihime.”

“I reject!”
It was a low, hissed command.

Then the hougyoku flashed, a ball of dazzling light over Orihime’s palm.

**

When had it been in Orihime’s life that she began to suspect she had a destiny? In primary school, her unusual name had made her feel special. The teacher had told her that Orihime was the name of a wishing star.

After finding that out, Orihime had wished for many things to come true.  She had wished for her brother not to be so tired and worried about money. Each night that she slept on a futon in the main room in their shabby apartment, she wished for her own room. She wanted to decorate her four walls with posters.

Then came the strange night when Sora had been struck by a car. Forgetting that the event necessitated serious prayer and not girlish wishing, she had wished with all her might for Onii-chan to stay alive.

She had known, even before that night, that her wishes did not come true.

Wishes didn’t come true, but Orihime had kept on wishing them--imagining that maybe, because her wishes were so strong, she could make them into prayers. She dared not pray for many simple things, like chocolate cake sales or rainless afternoons for Tatsuki’s soccer practice, but it seemed alright to wish for these small pleasures. The love in her heart was so fierce that it always surprised her when her wishes weren’t realized--even when she was wishing that a dragonfly over the river would not zip away too soon.

Later, she had wished, not prayed, that Kurosaki-kun would notice her and like her back.

When Ulquiorra had told her that she was going to Hueco Mundo, she wanted to say goodbye to Kurosaki-kun (and perhaps to that deep dear wish that he would love her?), but she knew that she would not have the chance.  She had believed, at that moment, that her life was over whether she shot Tsubaki or not. And so she released him.

The failure. The utter, miserable failure of that decision had broken Orihime’s heart even before she saw her friends fall.

Whatever clue of a fantastic destiny Orihime may have had died that day and reawakened only in Las Noches. Aizen’s lies, his gentle doting parenting, the four walls of a giant room that she decorated with ribbons and plastic flowers from the Living World.

Uryuu, I wished so hard that you would believe in me. I wished so hard that you would let me stay in Las Noches and that I would find the hougyoku.

Orihime looked through the dense amazing glow of the object above her palm and saw Uryuu. He was motionless, no longer feeling any pain, a slight figure on the cold white floor. His faith in her was what had given her the strength to summon the hougyoku, and Orihime realized that one of her wishes, at last, had come true.

Could she change time?  Could she undo Death and go back to far, far before she came to Las Noches?

But I want to remember that I loved you, Uryuu.


Her heart, in spite of her destiny, made another wish.

**

Aizen’s face looked stern now but still calm. “Gin, please take that away from her before she hurts herself.”

“Oh, I’m not touching it Sousuke. It would burn my little hand.” Gin was still smiling, and his reiatsu flared once more.  The walls shook. The hougyoku itself shook over Orihime’s palm.

“Orihime, just because you have it now doesn’t mean that you know what to do with it.” Aizen’s words sounded like the perfect truth, but Orihime knew not to believe them. “Of course it fell into your hands. It was kept here, in the library, and you and the hougyoku have a bond. You still, however, need me to use it.”

“Ah!” Gin let out a little cry of delight. “There it goes!”

The hougyoku had rolled away from Orihime and was now hovering a few feet away from her.

“No!” Orihime willed it to return.  Her arm stretched out, but Gin’s reiatsu was too strong.

The hougyoku lost its glow and dropped with a thud onto the floor.

No.

“I’m not touching it, Sousuke,” said Gin. “You’re going to have to kneel to get it, but if it makes you feel any better, I’ll kneel with you like a proper subordinate.”

This isn’t happening. I had it right there in my grasp.


The two men knelt. Ulquiorra still stood, looking over their shoulders with the faintest glimmer of curiosity. Aizen picked up the small round crystalline object and put it into his pocket. When he looked at Orihime again, his smile was showing his teeth.

“Orihime, dear,” Aizen said, rising. “It’s time to come along now.”

**

Orihime! Orihime!


Those were not voices in her mind; they were the voices of Ayume and Shonou who had joined the others in orbit around her head.

Orihime looked to the shield that the two should have been maintaining over the handmaidens. The shield was gone. Almatriste and Lastimada were sitting up, looking dazed but very much alive.

Orihime! Orihime!  You don’t need that glowy thing now! It gave you some of its power!


Orihime looked at Aizen and wondered if he could hear her fairies. She felt more powerful, but would going back in time be as simple as falling out of Hueco Mundo?

“What do I do now?” she was asking the question to her fairies, but Aizen appeared to think that she was asking the question of him.

“You meet your destiny,” said Aizen with a bright smile, and his own reiatsu began to flare.

Orihime could not breathe.  She felt that she was going to faint from the spirit pressure. No, no, it’s not too late. I can still do it.

**

Watching Ishida fall had made the Hollow grit his large teeth. He was supposed to be mine!

The Hollow had been hovering right above the scene when it happened. For a moment, the swell of spirit pressure from Gin and Aizen had been enough to deter him from entering the fray, and then curiosity about the glowy object had stilled his murderous intentions. It would be no use to kill anyone now with that damn girl here. Why did she have to heal everybody?

Now Aizen was firing up, and it looked like he was going to make some move towards the girl. To take her away? Wait. Aizen was going to kill Inoue too?

No way. It was time to roll.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” 
The Hollow swung down from the high ceiling and whipped his zanpakutou against the reiatsu-thick air.  The pressure pushed him back. Gin and Aizen looked up and noticed him.

They were tough guys, these Shinigami, but not impossible for the Hollow to take on. He swung again towards them. This time his zanpakutou fell against Ulquiorra’s mask, doing no damage beyond slicing off the horn.

The bone piece went flying, and Ulquiorra drew his own blade. It was too late, though; the Hollow had speared him clean through the chest.

The favorite Arrancar fell dead on the ground.

The Hollow stood, chest heaving with excitement, before Aizen and Gin. “The time has come, my friends,” he said. “I’ve killed this one (he gestured to Ulquiorra with his chin) over and over, but now I need a better fight. Who’s first? Aizen, are you ready for me? Or do you want your evening shadow to die first?”

“Evening shadow?” Gin smiled and smiled. “Me? Sousuke, is he talking about me?”

“This is not the time,” Aizen said to the Hollow in a patient voice. He even lowered his reiatsu. “Why are you here?”

“Evening shadow?” Gin was chuckling. “Very poetic language for a Hollow.”

**

Orihime’s palm was on her chest. She could breathe again. Aizen and Gin were confronting the Hollow, and their bickering language had replaced the suffocating noise of reiatsu in her ears.

She gave the Hollow one glance and did not see the eyes of Kurosaki-kun behind the mask.  She knew he was still in there somewhere, though. It will be alright, she told herself. I’m going to fix everything. You too, Kurosaki-kun.

She turned to her handmaidens.

“Take my hands,” she said. “We’re going away… to a better place.”

Almatriste, despite her recent death, seemed to be regaining some composure. “No, Querida,” she said quietly. “We belong here, not in the Living World.”

“But….” Orihime’s voice became frantic. “Aizen will--you might--you’ll die here.”

“Kill me as I stand here!”
The Hollow was shouting. “Or fight me now! I am sick of waiting, Aizen.”

Lastimada took Almatriste’s hand. “We served you well, Orihime-sama. That was what we were born for.”

Orihime knew that there would be no convincing them to come.  She closed her eyes and the power around her head spun into a halo.

Power. Destiny. Wishing and wishing.

Pain. I reject. Lies I reject. Your death, my Uryuu. I reject. All these days in Las Noches.
I reject.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” Gin’s hand was on her arm.

This time his reiatsu was no trouble to fend off.

I reject.


Night opened into day, and Orihime fell, white skirt twirling around her waist, away from Hueco Mundo.


~TBC~


Tags: aizen, gin, hollow ichigo, invisible writing, ishida, orihime
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