Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, nor make any money from this fan-made fiction.
I'm starting to think I subconsciously like pushing the limit on my deadlines.
Urahara Clinic Ch 6: New Horizons
Sora Soga was on his way to the Urahara Clinic; not as a patient, but as the father to a former patient. When he heard that the clinic was closing down, he decided he would bring a gift basket before he couldn't. The gift basket had several cans of coffee, two bottles of saké, four gift cards to a chain of high end restaurants in Japan, and a letter, copied three times, that he wrote to thank them. Approaching the building, he could see he was just in time: There was a large moving truck parked out front, completely filled with what looked to be medical equipment. Jinta, the main receptionist there, was carrying out a box. "That's the last of it," Sora heard Jinta say. Ichigo reached up and pulled on the strap that hung from the bottom of the roll-up door of the truck.
Also next to the rear of the truck was Kisuke, and the very sociable nurse, Ichi. Seeing a break in whatever conversation they were having, Sora called out as he hurried his approach. "Hello! I'm sorry to interrupt, but could I please have a moment of your time?"
The four people looked at him, and it made him a bit nervous. "Oh, hello Mr. Soga! How is your daughter?" Kisuke asked.
"She is doing very well thanks to you. And so are many others you have helped as well. I wanted to thank you all with a gift before you left."
"Oh, thanks!" Ichi cheered. She was the one who energetically took the basket from him. She looked into the basket, and looked through the contents. "Oh I can't wait to get into some of this. Oh, and letters, sweet! Thank you so much!"
"You are very welcome Miss Kurosaki, but—"
"It's 'Mrs.' now," Ichi interrupted.
"Is it? Well, congratulations, and please pardon my rudeness."
"Ah, don't worry about apologizing, you didn't know. We've only been married for a few weeks."
"Then I wish you two a long and prosperous life together. I wish my daughter could be here, but she is now in Kyoto, going to college. She's decided to become a nurse."
"Good for her," Ichigo said. He had become a much better conversationalist over the past six years, having seen and treated thousands of patients. "I hope she passes all her courses."
"Thank you," Sora replied, "And if you don't mind me asking, where will you go next?" It was a shame to lose such good doctors. And if they were close enough, he would make the extra effort to go their new location.
"Oh," Kisuke said, pulling a handheld fan out from his clothing and using it as a pointer, "I will go back to my shop to do more research. Dr. Kurosaki"—he pointed the fan at Ichigo—"will be going on honeymoon and then be off to work in Brazil."
"We've had this talk, Hat n' Clogs, we are not going to spend another six years doing this. We want normal." Kisuke looked pointedly at Ichigo, then at Ichi, then back to Ichigo. "That's beside the point, and you know it. Besides, I know you have someone else who can take my place. I know you've been teaching classes because Captain Unohana asked you to."
Kisuke sighed. "True, but you're still the most qualified person to do the job at this point, and I'd rather not risk the captain's ire should the person she send end up overwhelmed."
"They can call me if something really powerful comes up. I'll be taking that job offer at Karakura General otherwise."
Kisuke shook his head. "I know you're officially a doctor and free of any obligations to me, but there are people out there who need your help."
"No way; we're going on a trip!" Ichi exclaimed. "I wanna see the world and broaden my horizons. Well, that's part of it." She was not going to let herself get stuck overworking and be unable to fully enjoy her very recent marriage to Ichigo.
Ichigo put his arm around Ichi and pulled her closer. "Yeah, I want a vacation, regular hours, and days off." He said those last words with emphasis.
Kisuke sighed again; this was much harder than he anticipated. "Well, if anyone deserves it, it's you. Ichi, make sure he at least has fun." This elicited a frown from Ichigo and a laugh from Ichi.
"See? I am the fun one." She stuck out her tongue in jest.
"Hey, I'm fun too," he said with indignation.
"Oh, you are," Ichi said, putting the basket down and wrapping an arm around Ichigo's neck as she pulled him close so she could whisper into his ear.
Kisuke could almost see Ichigo's thought process grind to a halt and allowed himself to snicker a bit. "Apparently. That said, it's going to be dull without you around to attract trouble. Maybe I'll send Yoruichi to spy on you?"
"Hey, we want us time!" Ichi declared, now hugging Ichigo, "Don't you dare send anyone."
"Well well, one might think you two have been overworked."
Their delivery was deadpan, and in tandem, and Kisuke chuckled at the pair, humoring them by taking a step back and raising his arms in surrender. "So when will you two be back?"
"When we're ready," Ichigo said, "and wipe that smug look off your face. I'm not going to Brazil."
Jinta, finally tired of watching the banter, spoke up. "Hey guys, we have a guest, if you haven't noticed."
Ichigo let go of Ichi, and Ichi turned around to be polite. "Oh, Mr. Soga, sorry to ignore you. And thank you for the gift."
"You are more than welcome Dr. Kurosaki—all of you. And it is nice to see that you are getting some time off; you have certainly earned it. I'll take my leave now. Have a good day everyone."
"Yeah, you too," Ichi replied. The others similarly said their parting words and Sora walked off. In the background he could hear Ichigo shout, "You can't make us!"
Hey everyone, it's the last chapter. To everyone who read everything: Thank you so much! I'm not sure I succeeded in the way I wanted to, with a light horror based story, but it is what it is, and I don't feel awful about it.
Oh, and for anyone wondering why I excluded the scene of Ichigo choosing Ichi over Orihime, and didn't even mention it, I have a reason: It just didn't fit in a natural way. As much as I've dipped into romance further than I intended, I couldn't find a good way to include it. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but every chapter has been mostly seen through the eyes of someone not already in the know to something, with exception to the 4th chapter, which was supposed to be distinct in perspective compared to every other chapter. In other words: In every chapter (except 4), we are seeing things from a relative outsider being brought into the fold.
1) Yuki is witnessing the clinic and what it treats. She's new to being diseased, and new to the clinic.
2) Ichigo is witnessing the impossible. He's new to being part of the causation to one of Kisuke's big, controversial experiments/developments.
3) Tatsuki, Orihime, and Chad are witnessing how the offensive side of the quarantine works, as well as seeing how Ichigo has been in person. They're new to life in the quarantine zone.
4) No named witness here, but that was done on purpose to mark it uniquely in form from the other chapters.
5) Karin is the witness. She's new to how much the quarantine has changed her brother's perspectives on things.
6) Sora is the witness. (Fun fact, I got Sora's name from a Japanese random name generator. It's a complete coincidence that Sora is also the first name of Orihime's deceased brother.) He's seeing how different the Urahara Clinic's staff's lives are compared to a normal person, even in a normal situation.
So from my perspective: condensing the weeks Ichigo took to choose Ichi over Orihime into a short chapter, while maintaining the light horror aspect, while also finding an outsider to see this through, would have changed the fundamental story I wanted to tell beyond what I would find acceptable. For anyone wondering, Orihime does get a happy ending with Uryu (after Uryu chews Ichigo out). The way I see it, Uryu, while trying to lift Orihime's spirits, gets romantically involved with her after some time.
As for not even mentioning it: The conversation just didn't flow in that direction, sorry.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and the story!
Next story to be tackled should be the rest of 'The Double-Date'. Not sure how long it will take, but when it's done, I'll release it a chapter per week like I did for this story. Edit: Oddly enough, I am working on a Bleach/Avengers crossover (oneshot), and 'The Double Date' has it's 4th chapter in the middle of its second draft.
If any of you don't mind, I'd appreciate your opinions via a review or PM.
As always, have a great week and God bless,