Everything he wanted

An alternate universe Bleach fanfiction.

Chapter 3

A/N: I do not own Bleach and its characters.

15 July

The Kurosaki clinic – and home – had been rather quiet since the twins, Karin and Yuzu went to Tokyo to further their studies last year. Ichigo had moved into his own rented apartment five years prior. The only occupant – until recently, that is – was his old man, Isshin.

When Kano Ashido broke up with Rukia, she needed to move out of their shared apartment. Even though Ashido said she could take the extra room, she felt it would be inappropriate to continue living with her ex-boyfriend.

So she decided to look for a place to rent. Her job as a psychologist at Karakura University was paying her well enough to get a place of her own, anyway. But the problem lay with actually finding a good one in a safe neighbourhood, especially because she would be living alone.

It did cross her mind that she could ask her brother-in-law, Byakuya for his old house since he had migrated to another country. That thought left as soon as it came. She didn't want to burden him again with her problems. They had become very distant ever since her sister, Hisana passed away. It was troublesome enough that Byakuya had to take Rukia into his noble family and officially adopt her as his sister to fulfill Hisana's death wish.

When she mentioned her house-hunting during a dinner at the clinic with Ichigo and Isshin, the older Kurosaki was quick to offer his daughters' room to Rukia temporarily for her to live in while she took her time to shop around for her own place. She couldn't refuse him after he went on a rant about how lonely he was living alone and hoping against hope to have grandbabies soon to liven up his home and life. Fighting the urge to punch his father in the face, Ichigo rolled his eyes before making arrangements with his best friend to help her move her things from Ashido's apartment.

"Ah, crap! Speaking of moving…" the birthday man huffed in the middle of sorting out his old junk in the storeroom. Taking his phone out from his pocket, he checked his mailbox for an email he received two weeks ago from his landlord.

Kurosaki-kun and Ishida-kun,

My wife and I are very sorry to inform you that we will not be able to renew your five-year tenancy contract, which will end on 31 August. Our son is getting married and moving back to Karakura. We will need to do a bit of renovation to this apartment as we are giving it to him as a wedding gift. We ask for your understanding and hope that two months is enough for you to look for another place. Again, our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Attached herewith is an official letter with regards to the discontinuation of our contract. We wish you both all the best.

Ukitake Juushiro

"Maybe I'll just move back here for the time being," Ichigo sighed as he returned the phone into his pocket. He didn't really think he could put up with his father's crazy antics anymore but maybe, just maybe, he could look forward to having Rukia around all the time since she was also staying here. Although, he hoped he would be able to find a place sooner than her so he could move out first.

Rukia… he thought. His brows furrowed at the thought of that midget best friend of his. Last minute thing, he grumbled inwardly. She would've been here helping me with this if she hadn't had that plan of hers.

"You wouldn't make it such a big deal if it was just an annual birthday date," Tatsuki's voice invaded his thoughts.

"It's not a date!" he repeated to himself as he tossed an annoying-looking stuffed bunny into a box labeled 'Pint-sized woman'. He cringed at the item. Should he be worried that he had two big boxes with that exact same label filled to the brim while only one small one that says 'Mine' which was barely half done? How did Rukia's things get here when she never even lived here until a month ago? And these were things that had been in this storeroom for years.

He recognised the items as souvenirs she got for him during her travels or whenever she felt like littering his room with her favourite toy bunny 'Chappy'. There were some horror mangamagazines as well – the 'intellectual reading material' she carried with her so she wouldn't get bored to death while hanging out with him at his house before he moved to his rented apartment.
"Careless idiot," Ichigo cursed, looking at the two boxes with feigned disgust. "Always leaving her things behind."

His mind drifted to the fact that he had to start packing and moving his stuff from his apartment back here before the contract ended. If Rukia's things piled up to this much in just two years in this house, how much more would it have accumulated at his apartment? He groaned and started cursing every short stack in the world. "Seriously, why do I even put up with you?" But his heart seemed to have skipped an excited beat at the thought of living under the same roof with Rukia. It would be their first time 'living together'. Wait, why the hell am I excited?

"There must be something more."

Ichigo dug his nails into his scalp in irritation as Tatsuki's words bugged him again. Crossing his arms, he looked around his 'side' of the storeroom. When he arrived this morning, his father told him that he had already gone through most of the stuff. Ichigo's things were gathered into one corner of the room for him to sort out. He snorted. They were mostly Rukia's stuff. He didn't think the girl had any of his belongings in her apartment, though. "Of course, not. She was living with her boyfriend," he mumbled, almost bitterly. Almost. "Great, now she's got me talking to myself. What are you doing to me, midget?"

"The two of you have got to stop doing this."

"Stupid Tatsuki and her stupid judgement," Ichigo muttered while tying up a black rubbish bag filled with his unwanted belongings.

"Have you ever thought of what would happen if either one of you got married?"

Lugging two bags of rubbish out from the storeroom, he continued speaking to the imaginary Tatsuki in his head. Nothing's going to change. It'll still be the same. Just with the presence of a couple of new people. With that, an image of tiny Ichigos and Rukias running around a picnic table popped up in his mind. As he placed the bags at the roadside together with the other garbage his dad had put there earlier, he knitted his brows at how the image didn't seem as disturbing as it should. In fact, it felt almost… welcome. Is that how I see our future together?

"Just own up your feelings."

His jaw clenched as he played back his conversation with his childhood friend the day before. Oddly, though, that last part sounded more like his inner voice rather than Tatsuki's.

"What feelings? We don't feel that way for each other," he scoffed, still standing by the roadside and getting weird looks from passers-by for talking to himself.

We don't? Any idea why it was just you, Rukia, and tiny versions of the two of you in that picnic picture of yours?

"Get married and have a dozen kids, already!"

By now, there were three different people in this debate – Tatsuki, his inner voice, and himself. He was getting worried that he might have inherited his father's insanity.

"Would she want to?"

"I think he's not the one she wants to settle down with."

Do you want to?

"Want what?"

To get married and have a dozen kids with her. To be the one she wants to settle down with. To celebrate your birthday together, freely without worrying about hurting someone else, every single year.

He didn't realise he was back in the storeroom until Isshin snapped his fingers right in front of his eyes. "Come home, son."

Swatting his father's hand away, he put his scowl back on his face. "What?"

Isshin laughed out loud. "Dreaming about Rukia-chan while awake," he commented. "That must be some skill you have to not trip over all this mess while fantasising."

Ichigo narrowed his eyes. For a brief moment, he contemplated asking his father where Rukia was. But he quickly pushed away the thought. No sense in bringing up something that would encourage the old man's nosy-ness. Did his father have that creepy ability to read minds as well, though? "Stop spouting nonsense, goat-chin. What do you want?"

The older Kurosaki gestured for his son to follow him to the guest room. It was the room Rukia put up in a couple of times when she stayed the night after the Kurosaki's annual family game night years ago. There was an old wooden chest at the end of the bed where she used to store some of her clothes and schoolbooks. On top of it, lay a worn out stuffed lion with a wink on its face. The rest of the room was almost bare save for a small, round table for two.

"I need you to take that chest to the other house," Isshin said, lifting the lid to quickly toss the toy lion in.

Ichigo knew his father was talking about the house they grew up in before they moved to the clinic 15 years ago. When his mother, Masaki died in a car accident, Ichigo was only nine years old. He remembered how his father tried to live in their old house with the three children. Even though he was only nine, Ichigo could see how his father struggled to put on a tough front for him and his sisters. A year later, he supposed his father just couldn't take it anymore as he decided to move to this house, which was next to his clinic.

For quite a few years, their old home suffered deterioration due to non-occupancy. But Isshin couldn't find it in his heart to sell the place he built together with Masaki, so he rented it out to a newly-married couple who promised to help him take care of it.

"Do the Kyourakus need this?" asked an exhausted Ichigo as he heaved the heavy case onto the back of the pickup truck he had borrowed from his good friend, Chad.

Isshin crossed his arms while leaning on the doorframe, not even bothering to help his son with the chest. "They moved out. Shunsui bought a place near his office building and Nanao-chan is finally expecting."

Ichigo raised a brow. "Seriously? Isn't she like fifty years old?" he asked as he walked past his dad into the house.

The older Kurosaki slap his son upside the head, causing him to stumble a few steps forward into the living room. "She's thirty-five, and they've been trying to have a child since they got married ten years ago. Now, go wash up before you send that thing over. You stink!"

Ichigo rubbed his sore spot with a grunt. He was so tired; he didn't even bother to return his father's violent treatment.


Driving into the long driveway of the old Kurosaki home, Ichigo's eyes scanned the surroundings in appreciation of what the Kyourakus had done to keep the place pleasantly maintained. He realised his father never told him why he needed the chest moved here when no one was staying in the house now that the couple had moved away.

Maybe Dad is planning on making this his retirement home, he thought as he stopped the truck right in front of the house. He instantly dreaded carrying the heavy chest in there when he came out of the car. He decided to leave it in the back of the truck for now and tour the interior of the house. The last time he stepped foot in here, he was only 10 years old.

Looking around the front yard, he could almost see himself chasing after the four-year-old twins in their pyjamas while his mother put out the laundry. Despite himself, the corner of his lips tilted at the memory. Her death was a horrible nightmare for him. For the longest time, he couldn't get over it and blamed himself for causing the accident. He knew he was guilty of it even though his father tried to tell him otherwise.

"Two things are beyond our control, son: birth and death. Our fate has been written for us even before we were born."

Ichigo took a seat on the steps as the image of the car crash flashed through his mind. His mother had picked him up from the dojo that evening and found him crying after losing to Tatsuki at sparring. She was juggling between consoling him in the car and driving on the slippery road in the heavy downpour when it happened. She lost control of the wheel, sending the car crashing into a tree. Despite being strapped into her seat with a seatbelt, Masaki's body was thrown halfway out the windshield due to the impact of the crash. Ichigo suffered a head injury and was unconscious for three days. When he woke up, he was told that his mother had died on the spot.

After the accident, he swore never to cry again. He also stopped laughing. He stopped going to the dojo. And he hated the rain. But within his inner self, there was always a heavy downpour just like the day when his mother was taken away from him.

Now here he was, thinking about it again for the first time in a long time at the house he used to live with his mother where all the fond childhood memories were kept in. Somehow, though, they didn't hurt as much anymore. In fact, he had not felt it hurt as bad for a while now. Since…

Ever since Rukia came into his world, she had been distracting him from his misery while at the same time making him appreciate his life and the people he still had with him. Eventually, he started going to the dojo again. He started laughing again, especially at her awful drawings of bunnies and bears. She brought life back to him… and stopped the rain.

"Why don't you make good use of your birthday to think about how to tell Rukia that you are in love with her?"

Ichigo chuckled inwardly as he fiddled with the house keys in his hand. Getting up to open the main door, he decided he would give the midget a call after unloading the chest in the house. Maybe a tour around the house would help with the mental preparation, he thought.

He had just unlocked the door when he noticed a note taped onto the wooden surface. His mouth gapped at the message, which was clearly written in a doctor's handwriting by his father. Slipping the paper into the back pocket of his jeans, he entered the house to find it immaculately clean and newly furnished.

And there was the smell of freshly cooked curry from the kitchen. Yuzu? he thought. But she's in Tokyo. Shutting the door quietly behind him, his legs led him to where the smell was coming from and there on the kitchen counter, were two of his favourite things: a hot pot of curry and a bottle of Hakushu single malt whisky. He trod slowly in the kitchen – obviously used just a while ago – as if fearing that his footsteps would erase this whole 'dream' and he would be back in the old house where everything was old, sad, and grey. He was about to reach out to touch the bottle of whisky when…

"Oh, shit!"

Ichigo turned around instantly at the voice behind him, his eyes widened at the familiarity of it.

"Crap, I wasn't expecting you for another hour. The cake isn't even here yet. Are you already done at the clinic? Maybe I should've called you to pick it up from the bakery," the person who had been hounding his thoughts rattled on as she crossed her arms over her chest. Apparently, she had just come out of the shower as her body was still wrapped in a white towel and her hair was dripping wet.

Ichigo tried to speak but all he could come up with was, "Uhm…"

"The two of you have got to stop doing this."

"Seriously, Ichigo, why are you always all out to ruin my plans?" she accused, waving a hand in the air.

"I…"

"I think he's not the one she wants to settle down with."

She rolled her eyes. "Never mind. It's either your dad couldn't keep you there long enough or he foiled his own surprise on purpose."

Ichigo furrowed his brows. "What?"

"She's not ready?"

"Urgh!" she groaned in frustration. "Whatever. I'll just go up to my room for a quick change. Stay here."

"There must be something more."

Before she could leave the kitchen, Ichigo rounded her and halted her with a hand on her head to keep her there. "Now wait a minute," he growled. "Your room?"

Rukia slapped his offending hand from her head and glared up at him. "Yes, my room. I live here now. Didn't Otou-san mention it in his 'birthday note'?" she asked, swirling her head a bit at the last two words.

"Otou… You… What?"

The short girl rolled her eyes again as she backhanded his chest and lifted her palm up, totally unperturbed by their proximity. "Give it!" she demanded.

"Give…" Ichigo started before he understood what she was asking for. With an exasperated sigh, he fished the note out of his pocket and slapped it on her open palm.

She took a quick annoyed glance at his clueless expression as she opened the folded note to skimmed through the content. It read…

Dear Son,

Here's your birthday gift.

I'm sure you'll find EVERYTHING you want beyond this door.

Happy birthday!

Dad

Ps: I'm still waiting for those grandbabies.

"Everything." Rukia winced at the emphasis Isshin made on that particular word. While the rest of the message was in black ink, that word was written with a thick red marker. She was pretty sure she was part of the 'everything' he had in mind for his son, knowing the crazy old man.

"I'm sure you'll find EVERYTHING you want beyond this door."

She gasped when she felt Ichigo placing his hands on her hips, drawing her body close to his as if they weren't already close enough. The scent of her strawberry shampoo had been intoxicating him since she entered the kitchen. In reflex, her hands shot up to his chest as she tried to push away from him but his arms immediately wrapped around her petite body at the waist, preventing her from going anywhere.

"Ichigo…"

"Why don't you make good use of your birthday to think about how to tell Rukia that you are in love with her?"

He smirked as he lowered his face, touching their foreheads. The brief moment she took to read his father's note was all he needed to gather his thoughts – that mental preparation he so needed – and put them to action. "I was told to think about how to tell you this today," he said, his voice barely audible.

Rukia choked, "Tell me what?"

"That I'm in love with you."

She let out another gasp but it was muffled by Ichigo's lips on hers. If there were any objections from her, they were ignored. Her opinions, rejected. True to his father's words, Ichigo found everything he wanted beyond the door of his new home – the one currently in his arms and kissing him back, being on top of the list.

Thanks, Dad…


Done! You have no idea how anxious I was to upload this. I wrote and completed this whole thing last week. It was just waiting to be published. Also, in the past two days, I had to fight the urge to reply to the reviews via private messages because I knew I wouldn't be able to do that without giving away the plot somehow. Lol!

Hope you enjoyed this short fic!

Happy birthday, Berry!

In a few more months, the hype about the manga will probably begin to disappear. I hope they will consider putting the un-animed arcs into new series of BLEACH anime. As draggy as those arcs were, they might be interesting on TV. Who knows?