A/N: I just wrote this fic as a 'what-could've-happened' thing, so no soul-society arc or anything just think of it as a different story line (after chapter 51 in the manga) with the same characters n such.. please rr, criticisms/comments appreciated

Disclaimer: I don't own any characters and such

Chapter 1

It was night as Rukia walked down the street alone. There was no threat of hollows in their area so she and Ichigo seized the chance to finally be able to relax. He had gone to hang out with Asano, Mizuiro, and Chad, but Rukia had chosen to finally have a night for herself. She found herself wandering to the park where she and Ichigo had always trained. Rukia stopped to look up at the night sky and breathed in the cool air.

As she stood there a man came out from the shadows and locked his arm around her neck. Rukia froze for a moment, then in one swift action she stepped on his foot and elbowed him in the stomach causing him to loosen his grip. Before he could even blink she reached back and grabbed his shoulders, using them to flip her over his head and end up behind him. She then did a low kick that swept him to the ground and stood over him as she aimed her punch at his face.

She stood over him breathing heavily with her fist stopped less than an inch away from his nose. They stayed like that for a moment before the corners of her mouth slowly curved.

"Hello.. Abarai Renji"

Renji looked at her as he got up and dusted himself off. Rukia stood there with her legs apart and her arms crossed, a stance he knew well. She looked almost the exact same as when he had last seen her. But as he looked at her face he could tell something was different. He couldn't explain it clearly, but she wasn't the same Rukia that he remembered..

She watched him warily as he stared at her. A part of her wanted to rush to him and welcome the only friend she had grown up with, but the other part reminded her that he was not her friend anymore, he was a vice-captain. There were so many things she wanted to tell him and ask him, but she knew this wasn't the time for frivolous talk.

Renji was the first to break the cold silence. With a smile and a playful voice, he called out to her. "Kuchiki Rukia-aaa. You haven't changed much, looks like you can still beat my ass up"

"You can cut the crap. I know you let me win just to test me. Why are you here?" she replied, never taking her eyes off of him.

He smirked and looked directly back at her, "Your brother told me to bring you home. You won't get in any trouble for this incident, just tell me who took your powers and I'll kill that-"

"He has nothing to do with this," she interrupted hurriedly. When she spoke he noticed something flash across her eyes, but in a split second, it was gone. Was it fear? Worry? Whatever it was, it annoyed the hell out of him.

Rukia paused and stared off into the sky. "Funny, isn't it. The only time my brother looks at me is when I do something wrong that displeases him," After a moment she looked back at Renji and asked, "Why are you really here? They don't send vice-captains to look for stray dogs"

Renji knew he could never get away with lying to her, Rukia knew him all too well. He wiped the smirk off his face and looked at her sternly. When he spoke his tone was serious. "I wasn't supposed to tell you this, but you need to know the real reason why you need to come back. You've been here so long, your integration with your gigai is at 98 percent. But the thing is, your gigai, it wasn't made by Soul Society. If you reach 100 percent, you.. you'll be stuck in that body. You need to come back with me, or you will become a human."

The last sentence rang out in the cold night air. Rukia didn't respond. He could tell that she was troubled as she turned her back to him and stared at the ground. They stayed like that for minutes that felt like hours to him.

She finally turned around to face him, but she couldn't bring herself to look him in the eyes. "Well, you're going to have to go back without me. There's too many hollows keeping me busy here, I can't go now."

This time it was Renji who knew she was lying. He felt something snap as he grabbed her arms and shook her violently. "Listen to me, you idiot! If you stay, you'll become a human. You'll never get to come back. You will never come back to Soul Society, you won't be a shinigami anymore, you won't have any powers, you won't live as long as we do, you won't.."

You won't be with me.

He ignored the words he wanted to say and lowered his voice, "You will die as a worthless human."

His last words were so cold Rukia felt as if she had been slapped. She just stood there staring at the ground, unable to speak. As Renji turned and walked away, he called out to her, "I'll give you a week to get things settled." And in a flash he was gone.

She didn't bother to look up when he left. Several hours passed before she could bring herself to move from that spot.

When she arrived back, she found the light still on in Ichigo's room. He had tried to stay up and wait for her, but sleep had overcome him and he sat on his bed dozing off with a book falling out of his hands.

She watched him sleep for a little, just thinking. Ichigo, he has so much to worry about already. Hollows, school, protecting his family, if I tell him what's going on it will just be a burden, anothing thing for him to worry about. I won't tell him anything, it will just make things harder. She made up her mind and cleared her throat loudly.

Ichigo suddenly opened his eyes and sat up, pretending to be reading. "Oh Rukia," he said casually, "you're back. I was just, uh, studying." She glanced at the upside-down book he held in his hands. "Ah, I see," she replied, with a knowing smile.

They said their goodnights and she went to her closet as he flipped the light switch. But that night sleep did not come to her until long after the lights went out.

Note: I intend on making this a multi-chapter fic, should I continue?