The Winter War had been over for years.
Ichigo was now a doctor as Karakura General, graduating early and with honors. He wasn’t a Shinigami anymore. He
still had the power and could fight if necessary, he just never did. He told the new captain of the 13th division, who was
still in charge of Karakura town, that he was putting up his sword. Captain Rukia did attempt to kick his ass because of it,
but eventually she understood.
He worked in the Pediatrics ward. One day a week, he was put on ER duty, but his domain was in the Ped ward. The kids
loved him. He scared the new arrivals sometimes, but they always warmed up to him when they realized that he was soft on the
inside. He snuck them lollipops and candy behind the nurses’ backs and regaled them with stories of Death Gods and the
Hollows who opposed them. They never knew that the stories were real, but Ichigo never wanted them too.
He had spoken to the new Captain-Commander, Ukitake and made arrangements for who would take care of the kids in the
hospital. Ukitake agreed to let the Fourth Division take care of Ichigo’s patients when they died. It hurt Ichigo to
not be able to save them, but there was really nothing he could do. He knew that Unohana and her vice-captain were so gentle
and motherly that the kids were be reassured as they went to Soul Society.
Tonight was a special occasion for the hospital. This year, Ichigo had put together a festival in honor of Tanabata for
the kids. He had asked Ishida to help Yuzu with the kimonos, had put up some of the decorations himself, even ordered to have
a fake river put in the courtyard so the kids could float their tanzaku down a river.
The fake river encircled the large garden, which had been decorated amazingly. Paper lanterns of every color hung from
the trees. Ichigo had had everyone make a paper crane for the holiday, as the crane decorations asked for “Long Life”
and “Good Health” , something everyone in the hospital needed. He then hung them everywhere, so it looked like
they were flying in flocks through the trees. Ishida had also hung up a paper kimono, which Ichigo smiled at.
Everything was set and the festival was in progress. Ichigo had conscripted the doctors and nurses of the Ped ward into
helping along with his sisters. Yuzu and most of the nurses were running the food stalls, while Karin, the doctors, and the
other nurses ran the carnival games. Ichigo was walking around, when one of his favorite patients stopped him.
Aoki Sachiko was slowly dying of terminal brain cancer. There was no cure, no way to really help her. Even through all
of this though, Sachiko lived up to her name. She was bright and energetic, always telling silly jokes. She especially loved
stories, usually the ones that Ichigo told her.
“Dr. Kurosaki,” her angelic voice made him smile. Tonight, she was wearing a blue kimono with cranes flying
across it. She usually wore odd hats to cover up the fact that she was bald and tonight was no exception. She was wearing
a wig in the fashion of a sumo wrestler.
“Can you tell us a Tanabata story? But not the usual one! Can you
make one up?”
Ichigo looked up, appearing thoughtful. After a moment, he smiled down at her, ”Yeah, I can do that. Go tell everyone,
I’ll be on the bench over there.” He pointed to the middle of the garden where a lone bench was set up against
a tree. Sachiko nodded brightly and raced to a group of children, spreading the news.
In no time, the grass in front of the bench where Ichigo sat was full of children waiting for a story. The adults were
seated as well, smiling at the murmurs of excitement that was racing through the air. Ichigo smiled himself. He really did
love his job.
He cleared his throat and the entire garden went quiet. All the kids were staring at him, eagerly awaiting the tale.
Ichigo’s smile widened and he began his story:
Once upon a time, there were two teenagers who were great friends, a boy named Hikoboshi and a girl named Orihime.
They lived in a peaceful town and went to a peaceful high school. Everything in their lives were calm and generally boring.
They were living their peaceful lives until Hikoboshi made a discovery and threw them into the middle of a war between the
Death Gods and their enemies, the Arrancar. Hikoboshi and Orihime had no choice but to learn skills that would help them.
Hikoboshi followed the art of the sword to join on the side of the Death God. Soon, his skill with the blade became
so great that he had the respect of the leader of the Death Gods. He was considered a great fighter, and many Arrancar feared
his very name.
Orihime used an odd ability she had been born with to heal the Death Gods wounded in the fighting. Soon, her ability
was so great that she could heal death itself, reverse it. Her power saved more lives anyone else in the medical corps, and
the war would’ve been lost without her.
Between the two of them, the Death Gods had a great advantage of the Arrancars and was winning the war. But the ruler
of the Arrancars was devious, and as Orihime was healing Death Gods on the battlefield, he swept down and kidnapped her.
He took her to his fortress, Las Noches. The fortress was sad and desolate. Everyday of her captivity, Orihime stood
in her cell staring at the stars above through the bars, wishing Hikoboshi would come to
At some time in their lives, Orihime’s and Hikoboshi’s friendship had evolved into something more, a
love so deep and so pure that they could never be parted. When Hikoboshi learned of Orihime’s capture, he stormed to
Las Noches by himself in a rage. He was determined to rescue her and destroy any that stood in his way.
But it was too late when he reached the fortress. The devious Arrancar ruler had tricked Orihime into rejecting something
that should not have been rejected, the Hyougoku. When Orihime rejected the Hyougoku, it attacked her, attempting to merge
into her. It killed her human body.
Hikoboshi saw Orihime fall, her body dead, and he flew into such a rage that he transformed himself. He drew from
a power within himself to turn into a Arrancar-like creature, a hideous bull-like creature. He attacked the ruler of the Arrancars
and after a hard battle, won.
After his battle, he turned back into his original form and made his way back to his love’s body. But standing
next to Orihime’s broken body was Orihime. She was glowing brightly, looking more beautiful then she had ever looked.
It was then that they realized the truth. Orihime’s odd ability had come from the fact that she was a goddess,
reincarnated into a human. Upon the death of her body, her powers were unleashed, along with her true memories. Hikoboshi
was amazed at her and fell even further in love with her.
Unfortunately, it was not to be so. Orihime could not live in the human world and Hikoboshi could not live in the
Kami’s realm. They were never to see each other again.
This caused Orihime to cry in great sadness. Her tears called to Mother Kami and Mother Kami took pity on them. She
gave them a deal. One day a year, the seventh day of the seventh month, they could meet. They could spend one day in each
But it could be no longer then that. Orihime’s presence in the world upset the balance of order, even in that
day, and it took a year for that order to be restored. If Orihime spent more time in the human world, they could destroy the
balance of the world and unravel time and space.
Both Hikoboshi and Orihime agreed to such a deal. One day a year was better then never again. Hikoboshi said good-bye
to her and promised that he would wait for her until they could meet again. Orihime gave her hairpins, the symbol of her power
in her human body to him, promising that she would always come to him.
Now, on the seventh day of the seventh month, at strike of Midnight, Orihime descends from the Kami’s Realm
into the Human Realm. And every year, the minute before the day ends, Orihime kisses her love good-bye and goes back to the
Kami’s realm for another year.
The loud pop of the fireworks signaled the end of Ichigo’s story. The children all rose and raced to get a better
view of the sparks in the sky. Ichigo smiled as the ran, looking up at the sky as well.
Karin made her way to her brother, smirking, “Nice story, Bro,” She said mockingly. “Amusing how it’s
so close to what happened.”
“It is what happened, Karin,” Ichigo snapped, scowling at his meddling sister. Karin blinked at him.
“If that’s true, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with her?”
“The Kami’s realm is on the lunisolar calendar. Today isn’t the seventh day of the seventh month. Today’s
sometime in the sixth month I think. I’ve still got a month to go,” And with that, Ichigo rose, intent on getting
him something to eat. His hand slipped into his pocket, brushing against the two blue flower hairpins he never went without.
He walked through his apartment, glancing at the clock. It was four minutes to midnight. He grinned, his heart picking
up with the excitement of what was to come. He reached for his cell phone, popping the battery out and dropping it into the
drawer of his desk. He did the same to his house phone as well. He locked his doors and grinned as the clock rang 12.
The moment the clock gonged, the glimmer of a portal began shining in the living room. The portal opened and a woman
walked out into the apartment. Her copper hair was long, almost reaching her thighs. She was dressed in a formal kimono, blue
and white. Her grey eyes met his and the feeling of joy and completion was tangible on the air.
One day every year, Ichigo was no where to be found. No one could get hold of him by phone and going to his apartment
was an exercise in frustration. One day every year, he was not on call, not available. One day a year, Kurosaki Ichigo did
Except for a certain goddess named Inoue Orihime.