Author : foxmagic07
Warnings: fluffy sap (is that a word?)/ angst/ RukiaxIchigo pairing (sorry, can't help it, they're my fav! )
Italics-thoughts (as well as emphasis)
Summary: An unexpected run-in with a hollow turns into more than Rukia bargained for. One-shot. RukiaxIchigo.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach AT ALL......I did try to bleach my hair once though, -sighs- brings back memories! Besides, you think I could draw like that? Pfft!
"I'm leaving, Ichigo!" informed a petite girl as she slid of the window sill and onto the grass.
The boy, busy fumbling with his things, took a moment to grace her with a glance from inside his room.
"Fine whatever..." he mumbled loud enough for her to hear. He hated her being so damn chipper in the morning. It was even worse at school.
Rukia ignored his comment for the time being, she'd get him back for it later. ass.
The sky was a clear blue as the former shinigami made her way to the high school. This place could be actually quite pleasant on some days. And today, the breeze was just right...
Suddenly, her cell phone went off. With a fluid motion, she opened it up and checked the problem out.
"...a Hollow...." and it was close too. Should she go get Ichigo? Pfft, like he'd actually listen to me this early in the morning. It didn't look like a large one, anyways…she was sure she could handle it.
Quickly she made her way through a series of alleys until a sound signaled her to the exact location. It was the desperate voice of a girl.
"Please....please leave me alone......" words becoming more frantic with every passing moment.
Rukia turned the corner and was met with the unmistakably ugly form of a Hollow. She hoped desperately that some of her power had managed to return as the monster lifted its head to stare at her. Well, no turning back now.
A young ghost of a girl whimpered in the corner of the alley. She was terrified.
"What do you think you're doing?" The Hollow finally spoke. "I'm going to devour this girl's soul, so don't even think about interfering!"
Not bothering to glance up, Rukia walked straight passed the beast and over to the dead girl. "Hello, are you having a little trouble?"
"Ye...yes." she shakily replied. "I was just coming bye here when I was…attacked! I was so scared, I began to cry."
"Hmm, I see. Well how about I make a deal with you? If you promise to get away from here as fast as you can, I'll hold him off for you."
The ghost got up. "O...okay!"
The Hollow growled quite angrily. That was a decision he didn't agree with. He had begun, at that point, to advance upon the two.
Rukia forced a slight smile out. "Oh, and one more thing," The words were directed to the girl. "If you take a quick left, you'll end up at the High School. Wait at the entrance for an orange-haired boy. When you see him, tell him that I sent you…he should be able to help you from there." Her smile then turned into a mischievous smirk. She knew that having to go home for Kon -which he would have to do in order to properly send the girl to the after life- would annoy the hell out of Ichigo. And that alone seemed to cheer her spirits.
She nodded and hurriedly disappeared through a wall. The Hollow tried to follow, but was immediately stopped by Rukia.
"How dare you let my prey escape! You'll pay!" And with that, he lunged at her.
She attempted to block the hit, but it proved futile. She was flung backwards onto the brick wall. Damn Gigai. She spat blood. Her reflexes were laughable to say the least.
The Hollow laughed indeed. (though, it sounded more like a person choking on its food than actual laughter). "Stupid foolish girl! I'll show you pain in repayment for my loss. Then again…maybe I'll just eat you instead."
It was exactly what she hoped wouldn't happen, but it wasn't surprising either. Rukia had little belief in the fact that she could defeat it. She knew it way before she even saw the Hollow in person. Her powers had not come back, and probably weren't going to for a long time. But, without her shinigami powers, what good was she? How was she helping anything ? Not to mention the fact that getting eaten would put a damper on things.
Her eyes scrunched closed. I screwed up again, Ichigo…but I won't have you here to dig me out of things this time, will I?
Growing intensely bored, the Hollow came over to stand in front of her. He wanted to have that girl's soul no matter what, and he would put if off no longer.
"Damn weak ass Hollow…" grumbled Rukia. She looked up to stare at him indignantly. Powers or no powers, she would not go down without a fight. She would give this monster a reason to remember her in the next life.
"……." Ichigo rapped his fingers on the desk. School was almost over and still no sign of Rukia. But he wasn't worried about her…no, that wasn't it…he was worried about the people around her. She was probably getting into trouble that very minute. "Stupid girl…" He chose to ignore the strange feeling in the center of his chest.
Then he thought back to earlier that morning. Right after arriving at school, he found himself being observed by a ghost. It was a young girl, no older than maybe high school age. She even wore a school uniform. She must have died in it.
He remembered her saying something about being scared and having someone save her, but that's about all he got. She was so hysterical, it drove him insane. But nevertheless, he took the long trek home to go get Kon, in order to send her to Soul Society. If Rukia had been around though, he wouldn't have had to.
For the millionth time that day, he cursed her absence.
"Class dismissed." The teacher's word's snapped him out of his reverie. Taking a quick glance out the window, he proceeded to gather his things.
The temporary Death God sighed. He wasn't getting any peace today.
Keigo slapped his red head friend on the back. "YO ICHIGO! Didn't ya hear me calling?"
He simply glared.
"Fine fine, no need to get all moody. I was just wondering if you wanted to come with me and the other guys to get some food. I'M STARVED! And who knows? We may pick up some chics!" Staring at him with pleading eyes, Keigo continued. "Come on, come on! Whaddya say?"
"……no." Was all Ichigo gave him.
"WHAT?! What do you mean NO?!"
Standing up and heading towards the door, he tried hard to ignore his friend's ranting. Ichigo just didn't feel like going today…not with the weird sensation he still held in his chest. Maybe he was sick and simply needed to go home and get some sleep. A good rest would do him good.
Still, a question continued to linger in the back of his mind. Where the hell was Rukia?
There was so much blood. She couldn't remember why… Oh yeah…the Hollow…
Her head spun, and try as she might, she couldn't open her eyes. Did I die? No…I couldn't have died. I refuse to die at the hands of something so vile and weak. If only I had my powers, it would have taken little or no effort to destroy that thing. Damn my weakness…why did it have to be like this? …if I leave, what will happen to Ichigo?
It was getting late, he had tons of homework, but for some reason…Ichigo could feel his legs taking him somewhere other than home. He wandered through the streets, not even realizing where he was headed. And then, he found himself at that place –the place where his mother died.
So many memories were kept there. Him and his mom used to walk passed this river many times, and after she died, he found himself treading along its banks every day. But, he hardly came anymore. He decided that being strong for his family was more important than his own grief.
Why now, then? How come he had so unconsciously been brought to this place?
"…ugh." Flopping down on the grass, Ichigo sighed. Things were so confusing at times, even more so with Rukia around.
Rukia… He placed his hands on the ground to prop himself up. Where is that damn-
All thoughts ceased when he felt something sticky on his skin. Upon bringing up his arm, Ichigo's breath drew in to an abrupt halt.
His hand was covered in blood.
"What the hell?!" Sure enough, there was more. A whole trail of red liquid was leading its way down to the river bed.
He didn't even take time to pause and think about what could be going on. Somehow…he just knew.
Ichigo took off running, following the blood stains. He felt a lump rise in his throat as he approached the shoreline. All the terrible nightmares of that one day came back to him. Jumping in the river, his mom going in after him, and waking up to find her lifeless body in the shallow water. He didn't want to go any further…he didn't want to see anything like that again.
Nonetheless, there he stood. He was unable to find his voice, he forgot to breathe…all he could do was stand, rooted to that spot.
He had found Rukia; her absence from school was no longer a mystery. And somehow…he knew. He knew it would be like this in the end.
Her small, frail body lay on the bank, water washing up to cover the trail of blood that she had left.
She didn't move. She didn't stir in the least. It was as if Ichigo was looking on from someone else's dream. It HAD to be a dream…this couldn't be real.
His legs finally found movement despite the uncertainty in his mind. His head screamed protest. She's not dead…she's too freakin stubborn to die…she wouldn't be stupid enough to take on a battle without me…she's just doing this to teach me a lesson…
Now he stood above her. His pants were getting soaked from the waves, but he didn't care. It had suddenly hit him; this was real.
"HEY!!" Ichigo knelt down and shook Rukia furiously. "Stop messing around, you idiot! This isn't funny anymore!"
Body limp in his hands, face paled…she wasn't moving.
"GET UP, DAMMIT! You would never die even if I tried to kill you, myself! You'll always be there to bug me and worry over nothing! You'll always be living in my closet, waking me up in the middle of the night to go fight Hollows!"
What he said didn't matter. Despite everything, he had let it happen again. Even being a shinigami, he was still powerless. He had lost another person he cared about and it was in the exact same place as before.
"So…" Ichigo pulled her close, further spreading blood onto his shirt. "…you are just going to give up? You're going to leave me like my mother did? What am I going to do now? I can't do this on my own… I need your help. I'm not strong enough…" He shut his eyes tight. "Rukia…I don't want you to die…"
That's when he felt it. The lightest of touches grazed across his face. And then an all too familiar voice spoke.
"Die? Yeah…you wish…" Came a slightly pained reply. " I won't go…that easily."
"…?!" The red haired Death God nearly dropped her in surprise. "Ru…Rukia?! How??? What did you..."
Her stained face managed a smile. "I never knew…you were such a crybaby, Ichigo. "
"WHAT?! WHY YOU LITTLE…I WAS NOT CRYING!"
She reached up to wipe his face with her trembling hand, then brought it back down; wet from his tears. It was a silent protest to his denial.
"…not crying, my ass."
That should have made Ichigo furious. It should have been something to yell at her about. But somehow, hearing her voice all strained and weak…all it did was make him cringe.
"You're hurt." He said flatly. "You were nearly dead." Word's cracking a little at the end, he made a point to look away. "I thought you were dead…"
Her sharp rebuttal never came. Her mouth had been poised to reply, but nothing came out. The boy's words lingered in her mind.
I thought you were dead…
Had that been why he was crying? Because he thought she was dead? The only time she knew him to cry was when it came to his mother. Even then, he kept that under wraps. Tears were sacred, and they were reserved for those times when you couldn't help but care; when you couldn't help but show how you truly felt. Tears are a window to the soul of others. With them, it is possible to understand even the hardest of hearts.
But that was all nonsense. Rukia was sure of it. No one had cried for her…not in the longest of times.
"What happened?" Ichigo broke through her thoughts.
"…I received orders from Soul Society…"
"WHAT?!" His face was no longer full of concern. It was now twisted in anger; the kind of anger that only he could have. "ARE YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN MIND?!"
"You…you went out to fight a Hollow ALONE? Are you insane? Why didn't you come get…"
"BECAUSE I DIDN"T WANT TO!" The injured girl cut in mid-sentence. "Because I wanted to believe that my powers had returned! Because I wanted to feel like I wasn't worthless! I…I should have been able to take him…he was weak. But I…he…"
She sat still, the both of them constantly being pounded by the surf. Her eyes met his and she dared him to make any sort of smart-ass comment. It was just like him and she knew it would only be a matter of time.
Ichigo spoke. "So you just HAD to go and prove to yourself that you weren't weak? Because somehow, your life means nothing without your shinigami powers? Are you really that conceited?"
And there it was…
"Well who asked you to care? My life is my own business, the only thing you need worry about is receiving orders."
That did it, Ichigo was pissed. There were times when he wouldn't even give a second thought to her haughty attitude…this was not one of those times.
Grabbing hold of her cheeks and pulling as hard as he could, the temporary Death God returned her comment ten fold.
"GAHHH!!! DON'T YOU GET IT?! YOUR LIFE IS MY BUSINESS! YOU DRAGGED ME INTO THIS WHOLE THING!!!" He let go of her face to emphasize his point.
Rukia glared. Not only was her face bloody, but it was also bruised now.
"HEY! You're not supposed to antagonize the injured person! And besides, if it weren't for your stupid temper, I wouldn't even be LIVING HERE!!!!!"
A small smile stretched across his face. "Then I guess…I should at least thank my temper for that much."
Ichigo gave her no chance to reply. With quick, forward motion, he had cradled her half-dead body in his arms. And before Rukia knew what was going on, they had taken to the rode.
She wanted nothing more than to shout at him, to tell him that she could make it on her own –she needed no one's help. He was carrying her and she felt no gratitude.
If I had never met him…if our paths never crossed…I wouldn't have...I wouldn't have to feel so weak…
Pain shot through her false limbs and she unconsciously winced at the sudden jolt. Instinctively, Ichigo tightened his hold on her.
"Quit being so damn stubborn." He mumbled. "I'm not helping you cause I feel obligated…I'm helping you cause I want to." He knew exactly what she was thinking. After all, it was Rukia, and she hated being in debt to anyone.
The girl gave an exasperated sigh of defeat and slowly let the sensation of her wounds overcome her, the feeling of unconsciousness creeping up like an unknown relief to the pain. The corners of her mouth lifted.
But…if I had never met him…how would I have learned to smile like this?
Hmm…that was…different. I had no idea how it was gonna turn out.
Anyways, this was my first ever Bleach fanfic and my first solo fic as well. I did one other (partnering with a friend) on Fruits Basket. That's on a different site, though. So because I'm new at this, I apologize openly for any OOC ness or confusion. Also, I don't know about the rating and warnings. I hope they're appropriate. I just put up PG-13 to be safe. It's prolly more of a PG…but yeah, you know…Ichigo has a bad mouth.
And not to mention the fact that I have no beta reader to point out my mistakes. All I have is my trusty wordpad that tells me when I misspell.
Yeah…that and I am really stupid when it comes to computers and web sites ( and I mean really stupid). Apparently I get NO part of the computer genes in my family… --
Owell, I think I've blabbed enough. Please review and offer any words of wisdom that might benefit me and my writing! Thanks.