I was so happy when our first place winner in the bleachness Valentine’s fic contest , yet_adored chose an IshiHime short fic from me as her prize. Due to lots of RL pressures and family illnesses I haven’t had much time or inclination to write recently and this was just the perfect nudge to get back in the fanfic groove. You can hear the classical guitar version of the Moonlight Sonata I listened to while writing this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS8eVFq1ZdU
I surrounded myself with all sorts of gooey romantic clichés in order to visualize this vignette and tried to let Kubo’s characters glide through and past them. IshiHime is such a sweet pairing but it’s not just Valentine’s candy. It’s been my OTP for six years now because … well, I can’t explain it fully. Read my little fic. It's very short. Thank you to nehalenia for the beta.
Disclaimer: Kubo-sensei owns the characters of Ishida Uryuu and Inoue Orihime but when this piece was written he had yet to show them together in the manga for almost an entire year. Is there some way I can claim these neglected children?
Description: PG13. Hime’s peculiar POV A short romantic IshiHime written per request of yet_adored and written while listening to Michael Luriacelli’s classical guitar version of the Moonlight Sonata.
The middle of the night used to be the best time to worry and fear. Of all the monsters Orihime had encountered, loneliness was the scariest. Scarier than a Hollow, Arrancar or anything else with bug eyes and big teeth she’d seen in horror movies. Even counting monsters born of her imagination, loneliness was the only one which had ever conquered her. It would take form in the darkness, long after bad dreams had cleared away.
Even when Orihime turned on the lights and convinced herself that life was fine and all was well, loneliness had fed on her heart. Slow-moving, insatiable, this loneliness had been her nighttime companion.
That is, until Ishida-kun drove it away and took his place in her bed.
He was nothing at all like what Orihime had expected, but she was not surprised to discover who he really was. “It’s like I’ve known you all my life,” she said once, “but ‘the glasses I was looking at you through were the wrong prescription.”
She liked to put on his glasses in the morning because one, the world looked blurry and warped and weird through them and that was fun, and two, Ishida-kun would blink his pretty long lashes and squint and his hands would scramble all over the floor near the futon in search of his glasses and that was very funny.
She learned to love the sound of her own laugher. Laughter at daybreak in her tiny apartment with its stale walls. Sometimes the neighbors upstairs laughed too--were they laughing with her or did they have their own joy? All her life, Orihime had been a little embarrassed by her exclamations, her squeaks and noises; she had worried about the giggles that happened at the wrong time and made everyone stare.
Ishida-kun loved her laughing. And he laughed too--an amazing thing but he did. It was light and high. A little girlish maybe, except girls are so self-conscious, and Ishida-kun’s laugh was sincere. It sounded natural as a bird’s call and came at the most unexpected times, never when someone made a deliberate joke. He couldn’t be tickled into it (well, not easily) but the sight of a hedgehog turning in on itself and rolling down the sidewalk in a ball would make him laugh.
When Orihime crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue, his laugh was especially silly and long-lasting, with a trill at the end that would evaporate into whispery notes. When Orihime would lay her face on his chest, she could feel the deeper reverberations of his laughing, and it made her impossibly happy.
It was not only their laughter that drove away the monster of loneliness, their silences were so awesome and solid that no bad mood could disrupt their connection. Being quiet with Ishida-kun was like being quiet with one’s self except--
“I can’t wander away from you,” Orihime said once.
“What do you mean?” He looked so bemused. Other people tended to look impatient when she said things like that.
“Even when we’re doing different things,” she said, “like now. You’re reading and I’m sewing, but we’re both in the same state of concentration. It’s because you’re so serious. If I were by myself, I would have wandered by now, found something else to do. Gone la-la-la.”
He stuck his long index finger inside the book, closed it and looked at her with his clear blue eyes. “You talk as if you never finish anything. You have your own style. You work on lots of projects all the time and keep your marks up in school.”
She smiled at how he always tried to reassure her. “Yes, but when you’re here I don’t flit around so much. You ground me.” She pictured him being a mighty force like gravity, standing in the center of the Earth with an expression of upmost seriousness--Super Uryuu, cape billowing.
“No, you’re not like gravity,” she decided. “Gravity is everywhere and you’re specific to me. It feels like if I tried to walk out of this room right now, the second I opened the door I’d be thrown backwards--BAM!--right into your lap because you’re….” The image came of him holding an old-fashioned archer’s bow in a perfect U away from his body. The U flipped direction and became a giant red-tipped metal magnet. “You’re--MAGNETIC.”
He almost laughed. The corners of his lips turned up and these little hiccups of a laugh in his chest struggled for a moment and then got swallowed. “I wouldn’t do such a thing to you.” He cleared his throat. “You may be my girlfriend, but you’re a perfectly independent--”
“No, I’m not,” Orihime insisted. “I don’t want to be independent.”
“I’m not a magnet,” he said, “and that image of my pulling you back into the room like that is … a little … too violent for what I’d describe …”
“But without you, I’d be lost!” She thought for a moment. “Okay, I’m like a helium balloon. I’d just float away and get caught in a tree and die but you’re--you’re--you’re the little weight at the end of the string that keeps me at the party!”
He smiled broadly at that. And it occurred to Orihime that before the little weight had caught a balloon it had never smiled so much.
Ishida-kun had lived through a darkness inhabited by a monster too. During those few days in the Seireitei when he and Orihime had hidden from Shinigami and crept in the shadows, he had told her a little about his grandfather and teacher. It wasn’t until much later, not until the eve of the Tanabata that he told her the rest.
Orihime and Ishida-kun had watched a parade in Tokyo and had caught the last train to Karakura and were lying side by side in his apartment this time, in the narrow bed that never seemed narrow because he always graciously stayed to the far side to allow her room to sprawl around in her sleep. He said, “For so long, I thought that Sensei might have been disappointed because I did not come out of hiding to try to save him. I did not show the greatest devotion and give my life for him.”
Orihime was silent but her heart clenched with her own grief. If only she had not gone willingly to Hueco Mundo. If only she had discovered how to use her offensive power sooner. If only she could have risked her life with all her love--
“I was only a child at the time,” Ishida-kun said in the softest voice. “I respected and valued my grandfather, but I did not understand what it was like to care for someone with the feelings of an adult.”
In a softer whisper, Orihime echoed, “Feelings of an adult.”
“For years I lived with the shame of having failed him,” Ishida went on. “I know I was not responsible for his death. There is no way I could’ve beaten the creatures that were attacking him but--”
“He was never disappointed in you!” Orihime’s voice grew strong. “He loved you! All he wanted was for you to be safe! He was happy to die protecting you!”
“I know that now,” Ishida said, “because that’s how I feel about you.”
And it was the way Orihime felt about Ishida-kun. She made sure to tell him that many times after that night. A kiss only said so much and every day was filled with acts of simple trust in their bond, but the words, “I know I would want to die protecting you because I love you with the feelings of an adult” reminded her of that special night.
A July night with a window open and the wet breeze blowing. Orihime closed her eyes and saw fireworks even though there hadn’t been any at the Tokyo parade. Individual strands of black hair stuck here and there on Ishida-kun’s moist forehead. A blessing clean and pure as summer rain fell over Orihime’s soul. And the lonely darkness became a lifetime of white nights.
Well, did I make it up to her for that last fic I wrote about her?