Blimey, has it been a while since I posted something! And so I give you the fruit of my labor, albeit a small one. This was also a school assignment, originally only written within five hundred words and in the perspective of a woman, not of a thrity year old Kurosaki Ichigo. The main events are the same, however there is one event as well as the end that I changed here to make it as gory and bloody as I had wanted it back in class. My teacher had kindly asked me to hold back the details, since I'd perhaps slightly traumatized her in a past story I'd handed in... In my defense, that assignment was meant to be a horror story, so I gave her one.
Now, this oneshot takes place after my previous oneshot 'White Gold', with a few mentions of that fic in it, but one doesn't have to read the first one to appreciate this one - though if one insists, I won't protest.
If you would happen to have a squeamish stomach or a light heart towards blood and gore, you know where the exit is.
If all is good, then, allons-y chers lecteurs!
The young man walked through the front door with waves of irritation rolling off him. He threw his keys into the bowl placed purposely on the hall desk, toed off his white converse, now a brownish grey and covered with mud, and grumbled as his hand caught in the soaking wet coat he was trying to get out of. He walked further in the modest, modern dwelling to the kitchen, where he decided a good glass of wine was in order. He'd had a terrible day, so there was nothing better to take the edge off than some nice Chianti before his girlfriend came home.
He took out the glass and set it down on the counter, turning to get the bottle when a little note retained his attention. He picked it up gingerly and read:
'Ichigo, unfortunately, the head nurse called in at the very last minute and asked me to stay an extra shift at the hospital, since Kuchiki-san was sent home sick. I know we'd planned for a nice diner tonight, but I couldn't decline Unohana-san. I swear we'll do something soon, though.
The orange haired man dropped the note and scrubbed his face with both hands as he let out a long sigh. He then proceeded to pour himself a glass and took a big, long sip of it. Today decidedly wasn't his day.
He grabbed both his glass and the bottle and made for the living room, where he plopped down on the dark leather couch. He set down the remainder of the Chianti, turned the telly on some random station and sat back, his gaze vacant and the sounds coming from the screen vaguely registering in the background.
The sun had risen as it had every morning, today, promising clear skies and warm weather all day. He had gotten ready and gone to work, walking to the first stop of his various bus stops to get to the office. It was when he was waiting for the last bus that the sky suddenly went dark and it began pouring from the heavy clouds that had gathered. Fortunately, the bus was just arriving, so he hadn't been too soaked when he set foot in the building.
When he'd reached his office, however, he'd been very displeased to see all his carefully sorted papers scattered over the desk and even on the floor. So he'd spent the better part of three and a half hours getting them back in order before he could actually begin to work on some of his old cases that needed closing.
He'd thought that the worst of the day had passed, now that it was nearing it's end. But of course, just to match the storm that was raging outside, the storm called His Boss made a devastating appearance at his cubicle, ranting and raving and dropping off a stack of papers almost as high as the desk Ichigo sat at. From the vomit of words his boss was spewing, he unfortunately caught that he wanted this sorted through by the end of the day, no matter how late it got, and only begrudgingly agreeing to pay the orangette overtime after they'd argued hotly.
So by the time he was done sorting everything, it was nearing sunset, and still pouring outside. He wanted to get home as quickly as possible to be ready for his night with Orihime, thinking that at least one thing of this accursed day would be good. But then he found that little note on the counter. That little note was the last straw, when he had reached the point of being utterly done with the world. He had dealt enough with it for one day.
And now, here he sat, downing the rest of his glass and pouring himself some more, in the somber lighting of the telly on a stormy Friday night. How wonderful was that, he thought bitterly. Exactly what he needed to top off his week.
It was when he had polished off his third cup and lay sprawled on the couch, floating between reality and dreams, that a little whisper came to his ear. At first he mistook it as a waking dream, him not being fully awake to begin with. But the little whisper persisted, getting louder and louder with each breath, until he could make out the words clearly.
He opened his eyes and sat up, alert. He turned off the telly and the sound stopped. He breathed a little sigh of relief and stretched from his seat, deciding that a good bath was in order to relax before going to bed. It was nearing midnight now, so he might as well just retire after his horrible day.
He climbed the stairs leading to the second floor and headed to the en-suite that was attached to the master bedroom. He walked in, the tiles cool beneath his feet, and ran the water to fill the tub. He turned and went to the sink, taking in his reflection that gazed back at him, exhaustion written all over his face. He passed a hand through his short orange locks, closing his eyes and sighing. He looked back at the mirror and jumped back in surprise. But it was gone when he blinked.
He'd seen a tall, white figure standing in the corner of the room, next to the shower, motionless and grinning like a madman. Ichigo shook his head as he thought that wine and exhaustion really didn't mix together.
He stopped the running water and undressed, quickly sinking into the warm water up to his neck. He laid back and relaxed as the water worked away on his tense muscles, closing his eyes and enjoying the warmth.
He must have dozed off in the time he soaked, for the little whisper made it's way back to the man's ears.
"It's time... It's time... It's time..." It whispered softly, growing louder by the word. "It's time... It's time!"
The orangette shot up with a gasp, his heart beating wildly in his chest. He looked around for the source of the voice, but could find nothing. His rational mind caught up to him and simply suggested that he was tired and in dire need of actual sleep. He agreed that it must be so as his heartbeat slowed and he exited the water.
Having wrapped a towel around his hips, he walked out the en-suite and into the bedroom. A shiver of cold shot down his spine as soon as he set foot in the room. He frowned. He went up to the thermostat to see what temperature it was set on and found the room to be a cozy twenty-four degrees Celsius, and set to be kept there. His frown deepened. The damned thing must be broken to display that when it was obviously little over fifteen degrees in the room. I'll have to change the damned thing, the thought with annoyance.
He shrugged. It couldn't be helped, but it would certainly wait until tomorrow. So he went to his dresser and grabbed some warm pyjamas for the night and finally settled into his bed, pulling up the black comforter.
But of course, as per usual, as soon as he climbed into bed, his fatigue vanished, no matter how exhausted he was before he laid down. The only remedy he'd found to actually get to sleep was to read a book. So that's what he did. He took out his sleek framed specs (an item that his girlfriend rather enjoyed him wearing in many different situations) and the recent horror novel he'd been reading, placing the specs before his eyes and burying himself in the story.
A half hour later, his eyes were beginning to close of their own accord. He tried to keep them open, just now having gotten into the thick of the adventure, but was having trouble reading the words. He squinted and replaced his specs, trying to read more, but the words weren't making sense anymore.
'It's time [it read], it's time, it's time...'
The orange haired man blinked and flipped through the pages, believing that his eyes were deceiving him, but the all the pages seemed to contain those two words, repeated over and over again like a mantra. He flipped through the pages furiously, until he got to the last one, where it was inscribed in big bold letters:
'IT'S TIME, MY KING.'
He threw the book into the room's far wall with a shout, the hairs on the back of his neck raised and his spine shot with chills of fear. He glared at the novel like it had bit him, feeling a strange sense of dread that he had only felt once before in his life, looking at the seemingly innocent book that lay with its pages bent at odd angles on the floor.
"I think I really should go to sleep, now..." He mumbled, forcing his heart to slow and his body to relax. He gave the object one last venemous glare before reaching over his nightstand and turning off the lamp.
He shifted on his side until he found a comfortable spot and closed his eyes, trying to drown out the heavy silence that sat in the room. As much as he tried, he simply couldn't shake off the feeling of dread that clung to him like a spider's web: it was sticky, disgusting and immensly bothersome.
He sat up and turned the light back on, grumbling that even though it was technically a new day, the bad vibes of the previous one had followed him through the night. He got out of bed and exited the room, staying a good four feet away from the book that lay on the carpeted floor and eyeing it suspiciously as he passed.
Once out of the bedroom, though, his breath caught in his throat. It was bloody cold! As cold as the end of fall, it was! He could see his breath in the air, for the gods' sakes! He shivered as he wrapped his arms around himself, marching down the stairs to the living room to stop in front of the thermostat there. He scowled at the damned thing.
Twenty-four degrees, and set to be kept there.
He growled and grumbled under his breath as he set about making a fire, cursing when he couldn't find the matches. He got up and shivered again, letting out a puff of air for his eyes to see. He marched to the kitchen and grabbed the matches from the drawer they weren't usually kept it, and marched back to the living room.
He dropped the little box upon entering. Written across the walls were letters that made the previous sense of dread the man was carrying, resurface a hundred fold stronger.
'It's time it's time it's time it'stimeitstimeitstime'
Even as he read the blood written letters, punctuated here and there with gore and pieces of flesh, the little voice whispered in his ear the same words, again and again, louder and louder, over and over, until adrenaline kicked in and the man bolted upstairs to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him and locking it as fast as he could. He sank down with his back against the smooth wood, struggling to breathe. He was shaking, not from the cold, this time; his current state of fear took away all notion of temperature.
He glanced up and saw his phone on his nightstand. He ran towards it and practically threw his back against the wall so that he had a clear view of the door. He punched in the familiar numbers to his girlfriend's mobile and held it up to his ear with a trembling hand.
"Please, please, please! Just pick up!" He prayed.
"The number you are currently trying to reach is unavailable. Call back or leave a message after the tone."
He very nearly threw his phone down, but tried dialing again. He could hear the voice coming closer to his room, repeating it's mantra in a loop. He could hear footsteps now, climbing the stairs. Ichigo felt his heart skip a beat at the sound. He clutched his phone like a lifeline, hoping and praying that his girlfriend would pick up. If he was going to die - which he had the distinct feeling he was - he wanted to hear her voice just one last time.
His prayers went unheard as the message played over again. He gripped his mobile until his knuckles turned white. He had one last option, and then he was done. The foot steps had climbed the last stair and were now slowly approaching his room. He could hear a laughing, now, a kind of guttural chuckling that sounded distorted as though he was underwater.
He quickly dialed the numbers and waited with baited breath for the authorities to answer. His hopes were crushed. The tone was dead.
He dropped the device and sank to the ground. He was done for. This was it. The end of it all. He was going to die-
No, he thought and steeled his nerves as best he could. If I'm going to die, it won't be without a fight.
He rose from the ground, quickly hurrying to his closet and took out his old straightsword that had been handed down in his family since his great-great-grandfather. It was an old thing, rusted in some spots, but still sharp enough to cut through flesh like butter. He gripped the hilt tightly and positioned himself before the door, ready to strike the intruder when he came through.
The sounds came closer to the door, then abruptly stopped. The only thing Ichigo could hear was his own breath, the only thing he could feel was his heart trying to free itself from his chest. He saw the door handle turn slowly and the the door creaked as it opened ever so painfully slow. His hands were damp and he had to grip his sword tighter so as not to drop it. Though that was just as vain as the calls he'd made.
The second the door fully opened, the man was frozen in fear. The thing that he'd seen in the mirror was standing before him, grinning a carnal smile and black and gold eyes glowing with a lust that wasn't exclusive to blood. His skin was white as snow, just like his hair, and he was wearing an equally white shihakushou. In his hand he carried a sword that was as high as he (making the blade in Ichigo's hands a very poor match) and that was almost blindingly white with black edges where the blade was sharp. But that wasn't what made the orangette drop his weapon with a loud clang.
It was how exactly identical the white creature resembled him.
He paled almost the same tone as the man before him when the laughter and whisper resumed, tormenting him with their sound. As much as the man wanted to turn and fight, he found himself unable to move even the slightest inch, as though he was paralyzed by some invisible force. The creature chuckled again, turning his head to the side questioningly.
"What's the matter, King? Cat got your tongue?"
His voice was distorted as it reached his ears, it held a shrill resonance that didn't miss sending chills down his back as the creature approached him. Still frozen in place, he watched helplessly as he circled around the orangette, taking in his appearance with a dark glint in his gaze. He could physically feel the cold that radiated from him in waves, a fairly big contrast to the heat that danced in his golden gaze.
"Oh, wait, I am the cat, remember?" He chuckled with that same guttural tone that he'd used coming up the stairs. "How long has it been, King, since you were ever as satisfied as when you were with me?" He asked with heat. "Five years? Maybe even ten?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Ichigo finally managed to grind out, having recovered a bit of his ability to talk. "I don't even know who or what you are."
He stopped in front of him and leaned lazily on the great sword, dissapointment obvious in his voice. "She really did a number on you, that little woman of yours. She even managed to lock away all your memories of me. I'm impressed." But his tone held none of it.
The orange haired man felt his knees give out beneath him. He fell to the ground at the creature's feet, gasping as the air seemed to leave the space around him. He felt like his lungs would collapsed at any given second if he didn't do anything to stop his mind from whirling at the unraveling memories.
Eyes wide, the desperately looked around for something to fight with and his landed upon his rusted old straightsword. As fast as he could, he grabbed it and flung himself at the intruder, thrusting the weapon through his stomach and out his back. The man didn't even flinch.
"Oh, look. I've got a nasty hole in my stomach. But you know what? I think you've got one too..."
He nodded to him, looking pleasingly at his abdomen. Hands never leaving the hilt of the blade, he looked down and saw blood rapidly seeping through his pyjama shirt. He looked back to the white creature, to the place where the sword was embedded in him, and saw blood also flowing quickly from the wound.
A spasm shook his body as pain finally registered in his brain. He looked up to black and gold eyes which portrayed a little of what the orangette was feeling, despite the carnal smile stretched upon his pale lips. He was enjoying this, he noted.
Ichigo's mind was running at a hundred miles an hour while at the same time standing completely still. Finally, after a timeless moment that may have lasted a second as it could have an hour, he found his words.
"If-"He gasped as pain shot through him again. "If I die, then you die too... Right?"
"Well," he chuckled, crimson rivulets running down his chin as he spoke. "You are the physical form. My spirit can't exist without your flesh. But why would you want to die, King? Think of all the things we used to-"
"That's all I needed to know."
With the little strength he had left, the orangette pulled the greatsword from the white creature's hands and swung it skillfully across his snow-white neck.
A bright red line appeared a split second before blood poured out from the cut, bathing Ichigo in it as he bathed in his. He dropped the white blade with a metallic clang as both men toppled over on their sides, their gazes never breaking. They convulsed on the floor, soaking the carpet in a common pool of the crimson liquid. The white creature still had a carnal smile on his lips and his golden eyes glowed their brightest. Ichigo also had a smile on his lips, but it was a tender one; one that spoke of love and happiness.
As his life bled out before him, he silently thanked Orihime for giving him nearly ten years of peace, happiness and bliss, years he would have never had if hadn't met her. She was the light of his life, sealing out the darkness within him and giving him everything he needed. He could only hope that she would find a joie de vivre some day with someone else, just as he had with her.
Tears rolled down his face as his body stilled and the light from the white creature's eyes faded away to a dull yellow, sailing away from the black sea of his soul.
Hope you enjoyed this, chers lecteurs. If you did, then reviews and messages are always appreciated. You know the song and dance that makes us writers feel good ;)