Story: Love's Storm (all chapters)

Authors: KaitonLocke

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Chapter 1

Title: Ch. 1

[Author's notes: Okay, I know I'm not working as hard as I should, but I'm trying. I've been working almost everday for the past week now, so things are getting done. This is my second venture into Bleach, and I think it's a good go at it. The two might seem a little OOC, but I tried as best I could to get them close to character, but writing characters that aren't in love into a relationship isn't easy. Hope you enjoy! P.S. The poem is an original work, and it's not perfect, but I like it.]

The rumble of thunder filled the air. Arcs of lightning lit the darkened streets, illuminating the puddling water that had accumulated in the storm. The rain continued falling heavily, the only audible noise in the stormy night. The people of Karakura town were all retiring for the night, the ferocity of the storm delaying any plans they had made. The light provided by the buildings slowly faded, the street lamps becoming the only light source in the storm.

Darkness was far more prominent in the clustered residential areas. The street lamps were dimmer and fewer in number, leaving only the faint light of one apartment shining in the darkened streets. The apartment's sole occupant, a girl in her late teens, was lying on the floor, contemplating things in her life.

Her bright orange hair, an odd trait for people in the city, fanned out around her head wildly. Her bright blue eyes were open and gazing at the ceiling, completely unfocused and slightly watery. Her breathing was rhythmic and even, filling the silence of the room. Her arms lay stretched out, her hands facing palm up, her fingers slightly curling in toward herself. Her long, worn out nightie was thin, her ample breasts fighting against the overly stretched material. Her legs were bent slightly at the knees, making her overall position rather relaxed.

A melancholy sigh escaped the girl's lips. She rolled onto her right side, adjusting her arms and legs to maximize her comfort. She closed her eyes and a single tear rolled down her cheek. She released a heavy sigh and curled her legs into her chest, wrapping herself into a fetal position.

"Tatsuki ..." she whispered, her voice tiny and broken.
Not too far away, another window remained lit dimly in the night's rainstorm. The room belonged to that of another girl in her late teens, this one living with a small family. Her navy blue hair was cut short, and stood off her head in wild spikes. Her eyes were a warm gray in color, reflecting the light from the table lamp on her bedside. She lay facing the window, watching the rain fall in sheets outside. Her arms lay wrapped around a pillow which was held against her chest. Her left leg was folded into the bottom of the pillow, while her right was hanging off the edge of the bed.

A sad chuckle echoed in the silent room, the girl closing her eyes, the tears falling down her cheeks. She rolled over to face the ceiling and released the pillow from her grasp. She chuckled again, this one lower than the first.

"Orihime ..." she sighed, her voice bitter and remorseful.
Slowly, with the rising sun, the sleeping city began to wake. Birds were chirping musically, the leftover moisture from the previous night's storm running off the plant life in rhythmic drops. Those who rose with the sun began their daily activities, the warmth of the sun bringing them to life.

In the apartment of the orange haired girl, the sun's rays shone onto her cheeks, warming them. As the first ray hit her eyes, the girl began to rouse, waking from her tear-induced slumber. Yawning cutely, she stretched herself out rising from the floor while slouching over tiredly. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and tried to wake herself. She rose to her feet groggily, making her way into the small furo the apartment had come with. Removing her nightie, she grabbed bathing materials from the closet next to the changing room. Entering the changing room, she tossed the nightie into the clothes hamper next to the room's door. She washed and rinsed her body, then settled in for a morning soak. After the relaxing bath, she entered the kitchen to make breakfast.

"Do I have anymore sweet bean paste left?" She asked herself.

Pulling some ingredients from both the fridge and cupboards, she prepared herself a special breakfast and a bento for lunch at school. She ate, and dressed in her school uniform quickly. The gray skirt gave her a minor problem, but she was ready to leave shortly before seven thirty. She walked briskly, greeting the people along her route briefly, and smiling hollowly the entire time. Entering the school grounds, she saw three of the four people she had come to know better than anyone else. Greeting her friends, she walked towards the building with a cheerful smile plastered on. The group headed into class, where the large, albeit fake, smile fell from her face.

"Tat-Tatsuki ..." She whispered.

Tatsuki whirled to meet the orange-haired girl's gaze. Her gray eyes locked on with those of the orange-haired girl's blue ones. She ruffled her wild navy blue spiked hair absently. She tried to smile, but couldn't manage to get her lips to cooperate. She waved slightly and stepped forward.

"Morning Orihime," Tatsuki greeted.

"Mor-morning Tatsuki," Orihime replied, her voice faltering.

"Oi, Inoue, you okay?" Ichigo asked.

"Hai Kurosaki-kun," Orihime replied.

"Inoue-san ..." Chad said.

"I'm fine Sado-kun," Orihime assured him. "I just didn't sleep well."

"If you think so," Ichigo said.

"Hai," Orihime nodded, smiling cheerfully to persuade them.

They all made their way to their desks, sitting in them as they normally would. Class began, and everyone followed their normal morning routine of wither listening or sleeping. Orihime pulled a small notebook from her desk and opened it to the middle. She scanned the page quietly, allowing the words to fill her mind.
Love seems to fill the air
Almost everyone seems to care
Life is changing for the better
Then I got that letter

She said we're through
And then I knew
Love was unfair
Just to fickle to care

The world is getting darker
With me as a martyr
Walls come crashing down
While I'm walking around
And I never knew
Cause she said we're through

My heart is hollow
Completely filled with sorrow
Pain and strife
Control my life
Cause I'm all alone
With a heart of stone

The world is getting darker
With me as a martyr
Walls come crashing down
While I'm walking around
And I never knew
Cause she said we're through

Slowly, tears escaped Orihime's eyes, followed shortly by a stifled sob. Raising her hand, she attempted to get the sensei's attention. Upon the sensei calling her name, she asked for permission to go to the school infirmary, claiming she felt light headed. Exiting the room quickly, she hid her face from the class, not wanting Tatsuki to see her tears. Once she got far enough away from the room, she immediately broke into a full on run, heading for the stairs to the roof. Climbing the stairs through her tears, Orihime made her way to the roof, almost falling several times in the process. She burst through the door in her rush, slowing to a stop, then she collapsed against the fence and allowed herself to breakdown completely.

"Why ...?" Orihime sobbed into her hands. "Tatsuki ... why did you send me that letter?"
Tatsuki, back in the classroom, lowered her head to avoid the eyes of Ichigo, Chad, Rukia, and Ishida. She knew why Orihime had left, and had the feeling that the others knew something about it as well. Her heart sank into her gut painfully and she wanted nothing more that to cry. She never cried, but now it hurt enough to warrant some tears. It hurt her more to send that letter to Orihime than any punch she'd ever taken in her life. Life had not dealt her a pleasant lot this time.

"I'm sorry ..." She whispered to herself.
The final bell rung, excusing the students for the day. Ichigo, Rukia, Chad, and Ishida all gathered around Orihime's desk. They looked at one another, then at the school bag and lunch that remained.

"She hasn't come back." Ichigo said, lifting the bento.

"It's not like her to leave her things if she goes home sick." Ishida added.

"Inoue-san ..." Chad said.

"What happened to her?" Rukia asked.

Tatsuki, standing behind the four of them, felt like hitting herself. She slowly walked forward, and raised her voice. "I'll go and talk to her tonight. I'll take her things and see if she's okay."

"Okay," Ichigo said. "You'll call if something's wrong?"

"Yeah," Tatsuki replied. "I'll see you later."

Tatsuki took Orihime's bags and left the room. She slowly walked through the halls, following the same path Orihime took that morning. One step at a time, she slowly climbed to the top floor, opening the door for roof access. She lifted her gaze and searched the roof, and saw someone silhouetted in the sunset. She took a few uncertain steps forward, gathering courage.

"Why?" Orihime asked, her voice lifeless and dry.

"Because I wouldn't be able to see you ever again if I didn't end it," Tatsuki answered.

"Wouldn't be able to see me ever again?" Orihime asked in reply.

"My parents ... they're against lesbians and gays ..." Tatsuki replied quietly.

"I see," Orihime said bitterly. "Was it worth it?"

"What do you mean?" Tatsuki asked, completely confused by Orihime's question and the underlying bitterness.

"Is seeing me every day worth the pain you caused?" Orihime asked, her voice rising higher.

"Of course not!" Tatsuki replied, her voice breaking. "It hurts to see the dullness in your eyes. I know that your smile that you wear constantly is fake, and it kills me every day!"

"Then why!?" Orihime shouted, jumping to her feet and whirling on Tatsuki. "Why not leave your family and come to be with me!?"

"I ... I don't know!" Tatsuki shouted in reply, her resolve not to cry fading. Her eyes began to fill with tears. "I love you with all my being, yet I was scared."

"You were scared!?" Orihime cried. "I've always given myself to you, yet you're scared of risking your family for me!? Why!?"

"I .. I don't know," Tatsuki replied quietly. "I wanted to, Kami-sama how I wanted to, but I lost the nerve. All I could think about was what if you rejected me, what I would do then. I've loved you for so long, I couldn't bear to have my home, but not have you. It would hurt more than the pain I feel now for what I've put you through."

"Then maybe you were right," Orihime said, her anger still fresh. "maybe ending our relationship was the best for both of us."

"No!" Tatsuki screamed. "I know I was an idiot, and I know that you probably hate me at this moment, but hear me out. Please!"

"Why should I?" Orihime asked bitterly.

"Because ..." Tatsuki whispered. "Because ... without you, there's nothing. I spend all night thinking of you. I hardly eat because I haven't seen your real smile. Everything seems bland and dull because of my mistake, and I can't help but think I threw away the best thing I've ever had. I've realized that you are my life, and with out you, I can't live. I was an idiot, and I've come to tell you that I'll apologize for an eternity just to see you happy."

"Tatsuki ..." Orihime whispered, the edge gone from her voice.

"Hime-chan, I know that I messed up," Tatsuki continued, "and I know that I've hurt you. If you asked, I'd hit myself until you said we were even. I love you now, I loved you before, and I'll love you until the angels are singing with demons while the world's crumbling around them. I can't say that I won't make more mistakes, but I can't stand to be apart from you. I know it'll take time, but I'm willing to wait an eternity. Can you ever forgive me?"

"Suki-chan," Orihime sobbed, tackle-hugging Tatsuki, "don't leave me ever again!"

"I won't," Tatsuki whispered into Orihime's ear. "I'll stay with you forever."

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