Author: Silvia (nightshade_ave )
Rating: PG-13 for cursing
The phone rang again and Uryu was ready to throw it across the room. He knew who it was without looking at the name and his right hand squeezed the small cellular device to the point of breaking. He waited the four rings until it went to voice mail and let out a tight breath. He couldn't take this much more.
A few seconds later she called him again and Uryu growled before he threw the phone at the wall across from his bed where he sat. It hit the wall and broke into three pieces--the phone, the battery, and the battery cover. The parts scattered and clanged against the floor in the darkness of his room.
His phone had a small battery inside to hold a few seconds of power to switch batteries, and he couldn't help but stare at her name on the caller ID until it faded with the phone's power.
She was trying to call him again because he was sure she finally found out about Ichigo and Rukia. Uryu saw it from a mile away, that kind of love and devotion between two people may be platonic for a while, but once both stubborn parties realized what they wanted it was only a matter of time.
Renji had stopped by his house earlier to ask Uryu if he had seen either Ichigo or Rukia. He replied that he had not, and Uryu asked why Renji was looking; couldn't he sense their spiritual pressure? No, that wouldn't work, because earlier in the day Ichigo had arrived at the Soul Society unannounced and Rukia left with him, without her brother's permission. Uryu guessed that meant Byakuya had chased them on the way out but had been stopped for one reason or another. Well, even if he wasn't happy about it Uryu was sure that a trip to hell and back couldn't keep them apart, let alone one angry relative.
Renji left without saying much else, and Uryu followed his spiritual pressure toward Orihime. Uryu cringed as Renji approached her; he knew what was about to happen. He felt bad for Orihime of course; he'd die before he saw her hurt. No, he was anxious because he knew she would call to talk about Ichigo and how heartbroken she was and the Quincy wasn't sure he could take anymore.
An hour later when his cell phone rang he realized he really couldn't talk about Orihime's fascination with Ichigo, her "love" for him as she thought it was. It was too painful for him to watch her pine over someone who never really looked at her. That was Kurosaki's loss of course, but Uryu had lost the patience to be a shoulder to cry on. No, he was done. He had finally decided that to save himself from her that he would have to be all or nothing, no more in between. He had to be hers or nothing to her at all.
He threw his phone in anger because she wasn't getting the hint that he didn't want to talk. He always answered when she called, he never thought twice. He was always there for her whenever she needed his brand of first aid. He had needs, too. He wanted to be loved by the one he admired just as much as she did and it made him burn inside that she couldn't see past the damn soul reaper to see him.
Ichigo was always leaving her in the dust with Rukia as they charged forward, with Orihime watching from behind in the distance and crying. And who was there to help? Uryu. But she was so transfixed on that fading figure on the horizon, even knowing it was only going away from her faster and faster, that her vision was cut off outside the silhouette of a substitute soul reaper. There was no room for anything else; there was no room for Uryu.
Uryu laid back in his bed and stared at the ceiling for a while. To anyone watching he seemed fine, but on the inside his emotions were roiling over each other to the point he wasn't sure exactly what he felt—anger, rejection, jealousy, pride. He was sure there was some name for such a feeling that combined them all, but he didn't know what it was. As if it would help to give a name to his pain. He snorted and laughed at himself in his head. Oh he had a name for it, and that name was Orihime.
No, he didn't want to think about that name, and about the woman attached to it who had stolen his heart and played the fool for it. How could she not see? How could she not recognize the same pained look on her own face that was plastered all over his?
Uryu wasn't sure how much time had passed when he heard a soft knock on the front door to his house downstairs. The anger surged up in him again; how dare she? He waited a moment for the anger to subside, and hoped she would go away, but neither happened when she knocked again. He huffed and leaped up from his bed.
Uryu tore through the hallway and down the stairs, to the front landing and angrily unfastened the locks and ripped the door open. “What?!” he spat immediately before even seeing her face.
Her face was puffy and red from crying, she still had fresh trails of tears down her cheeks. She sniffled and he hated her for it, hated the way she always looked beautiful even when she shouldn't. She just stood there in the dark, the street lights behind her making the edges of her hair shine white, and the dim lights of his house in front of her, barely lighting up her pained face.
“Uryu, I tried to call you,” she began slowly in a shaky voice.
“What do you want from me?!” he screamed and cut her off. She gasped slightly and inched away from him instinctively. Her eyes welled with fresh tears.
“Uryu...” her face scrunched up and she started to cry. “I just,” she choked and coughed a minute as the sobs started to make her chest heave. “Ichigo and Rukia...”
“He never saw you, don't you get that?!” Uryu was angry. His right hand still gripped the door and his knuckles turned white as he clenched it. It was his attempt to redirect his anger but with the way he shouted at her it was clear that it wasn't working.
She looked at him with pleading eyes, and they said everything she couldn't put into words. Why was he shouting at her like this? Why was he angry? She needed him now and he was pushing her away?
“I've been here, the whole time you've convinced yourself you loved Ichigo,” Uryu said in a quieter voice. The anger was there, just beneath the surface, threatening to burst out and make him scream until he could no longer hear, so he had to keep his composure. “While you were watching him, I was here with you. Me,” he reiterated.
There was a flash of understanding in her eyes, but she didn't say anything. Her hands were shaking in front of her and tears continued to fall, silently this time. “Uryu, I'm sorry.”
“You're not sorry,” his gaze turned away from her. He let out a strained breath before he turned his gaze back to her again. “I can't be your friend anymore, Orihime. I can't,” he paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “I can't sit around and wait for you to notice me. I thought I could, but I can't.” He stared at her hard before he spoke once more.
“I can't have half of you!” he shouted. “It's killing me, watching you pine over someone who has no idea how wonderful you are. Let him go, Orihime, he doesn't deserve all the time and energy you waste on him!”
She sobbed and brought her left hand up to cover her mouth. She turned and ran away from his house, and he heard her crying the whole way. Uryu quickly closed the door to his house and locked it. He felt something burning down his face, and it took him a moment to realize he was crying.
He didn't want to hurt her, but he honestly wasn't sure how much more he could take before he let a hollow eat his soul. He never wanted to see her in pain, especially the way he made her cry, but it was self preservation at this point. He had to save his own heart before it was gone for good.
But if she already had it, then what good was it to try and salvage it? He was too far gone.
The first week was rough. He would catch her giving him pained glances in class. Nobody else noticed, as usual. But he did. He always saw her for who she was, not who she thought she needed to be for everyone else.
That week without talking turned into two, then three, eventually a month, and now Uryu honestly wasn't sure exactly how long it had been. Almost two months now? He hated it. He was waiting for that day to come when he wouldn't feel like a miserable, horrible bastard but it never arrived. He hated what he said to her, what he did to her, but mostly he hated his heart for running out on him like that. He didn't want to love Orihime. He knew it was a disaster in the making as he got to know her because from the start he saw how she glanced at Ichigo. But goddamn his heart, it had a mind of its own and before he realized it the damn thing was no longer in his chest. It was in her smile, her voice, her step, her glow. That little bastard. If Uryu ever got it back he was going to kill that jerk for doing this to him.
No, in reality he had only himself to blame. Part of him still felt vindicated and almost proud of what he had said to Orihime, which only made him feel worse. Why should he feel good about what happened? In the back of his mind, he was telling himself that he let her go to save himself from drowning, but damn if his lungs weren't already filled with water. What was he doing? He was a coward; he wanted to do something to make the situation right, which would involve talking to Orihime, and he didn't have the courage to face her.
In the time they weren't talking Uryu had literally run out of his sewing supplies. He worked like mad on a hundred different projects, anything to keep his mind busy. The effect never lasted for long but he'd be damned if he didn't try. He huffed and looked over to the clock on his nightstand next to his bed. It was 11:48pm on a Saturday night. The fabric store he typically went to would be closed but there was a smaller convenience store nearby that carried some threads. He wondered if he should even bother.
After a few minutes Uryu got up and headed downstairs. If he wasn't to do anything productive he would at least take a walk to get rid of some of his anxious energy. He put his shoes on, grabbed a light jacket and stepped outside the house. He was busy locking the door when he heard footsteps. He turned to see Orihime standing about fifteen feet away from his house.
She was standing there with despair all over her face, such pain that Uryu wanted to kick his own ass for all this. He stepped away from the front door of his house and strode toward Orihime before he stopped.
“Uryu,” she said so quietly he almost didn't hear it. She cleared her throat and tried again, “Uryu.” She stared into his eyes and he felt paralyzed. He really was a coward, and she was so... he couldn't find the words. Amazing? Stunning? Incredible? Something inherent in the words fell short of his admiration for her; she was a far better person than he.
She clenched her fists. “I hate this!” she yelled at him. “I thought I knew what I wanted,” she started in a calmer voice. “When Ichigo and Rukia were together, I was sad. But when you stopped talking to me Uryu, I was devastated.”
Surprise crept into his features. A gust of wind blew by from behind Orihime and she had to pull her hair back behind her ears again to keep it out of her face. “I didn't realize what I had until it was taken from me,” she continued. Her eyes pierced him with their honesty, her words slapped him in the face with their steel.
“I've had a lot of time to think,” she spoke once more and her eyes welled with tears, “and now I get it. I didn't know what love was, and I thought that's what I wanted with Ichigo. I thought that's how I felt.”
“Orihime,” he called out to her and took a hesitant step forward. He didn't know what to say, but he felt compelled to say something, to do something.
She shook her head at him. “It's not about some beautiful stranger coming in to sweep you off your feet. It's about your best friend, your partner in crime, the person you call when you're happy and and when you're sad, the person you spend time with just because you can.” Tears started to roll down her cheeks freely but she smiled at him. It wasn't like before when she sobbed; she wasn't crying because she was sad. She was happy.
Uryu couldn't quite wrap his head around what she was saying. She couldn't mean... no, not after everything. She ran toward him with open arms and pulled him into a tight hug. He stumbled back and step and caught her; she buried her head into his chest.
He was about to speak when she started laughing. She looked up at him with those gorgeous eyes of hers and grinned. “I don't care about Ichigo. I can't live without you, Uryu.”
“Orihime, I...” he was in shock and had no idea what to do or say. Was this really happening? Was he just dreaming? As if she knew what he was thinking, he shook her head at him and giggled before she stood up on her toes to kiss him. She kissed him. Him! Uryu kissed her back of course, and when it was over she pulled back and nuzzled her head under his chin. He could feel her breath on his collarbone and he held her just that much tighter.
“I'm sorry for everything I said,” Uryu began. He suddenly had courage now that he didn't have to look in her eyes.
“Don't be sorry,” Orihime said softly, her warm breath tickling his throat. “Sometimes we all need a little push to do the things we need to do.” He could feel it when she smiled, and he smiled in response.
Edit:: I noticed looking at this entry again that I lost some formatting somehow, so I went back and fixed it. [12pm CST 14 Feb 2010]