What's up yo?

Heh, I've always wanted to say that! XD

This is my first Bleach fic ever; so sorry if the characters seem a little OOC. I've fallen in love with this anime since I saw the intro with Asterisk- Orange Range. When I saw Ichigo swinging his giant Zanpaktou around, I knew that this would be my new obsession.

Did anyone see the Omake: Memories in the rain? (Yes, I've shamelessly taken the title from that episode. . .) It was SO sad! A lot of parts were funnier, but everything else was more angst.

WARNING: If you haven't read to the end of Chapter 187, there's going to be hints of spoilers at the end. I'm telling you, the series gets better and better as it goes on.

If you're wondering where to find the Manga, here's the websites: copy and paste. I find those websites the best for Manga.

Disclaimer: No matter how much I wish to own Bleach, it will never come true.

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If I were the rain that binds together the Earth and the Sky who in all eternity will never mingle, would I be able to bind the hearts of people together? Kurosaki-kun, I feel like I can understand you a little bit more- Inoue Orihime

- - - - -

It was raining that day. . . Contrast to what I felt inside my heart. . .

Laughing as little Ichigo ran ahead of his mother, his cherub face rosy red from excitement and delight, the orange haired boy jumped into every puddle he saw. "Kaachan! Kaachan! Hurry up!" He stipulated loudly, turning his head. As cross as he tried to sound, his demand sounded more like a plea.

Of course he loved his mother too much to be ever angry with her! How can ANYONE get mad at Okaasan? She was too perfect, too nice, and too kind to be EVER fractious at.

Smiling that gentle smile of hers that he adored, Kurosaki Masaki nodded at her impatient boy. "I'll try, Ichigo-chan. Perhaps that you're just too fast for your old mother. . ." She trailed off, amused at the look of horror that the young child gave her appallingly.

"Kaachan is not too old! She's perfect!" Ichigo protested, crossing his arms over his chest stubbornly. Chocolate brown orbs narrowed and his eyebrows furrowed into a dark line above his childish image. It was as close to scowling as he could get.

It was true. . . There was no other wonderful person in the world then her. Back then I was such a little kid. . .

Her hand went to her mouth as Masaki stifled a chuckle. Oh, if she laughed now poor Ichigo would never forgive her! But he was so adorable with his lips pursed together to form a look mixed between a pout and of adoration. "How kind of my Ichigo-chan to say that. Now if you would only say that to your father. . ."

"Oyaji is too weird. Kaachan is a billion times better then him!" Ichigo's blue hood slipped off his head, his bright eyes brimming with hope that his mother would agree and kiss his forehead saying that Ichigo-chan would always be number one in her life.

The nine-year-old wasn't disappointed as his Okaasan slipped her cool hand under his chin and tilted his head up. Her lips brushed against the top of his head, as the woman murmured, "And my Ichigo-chan will always be my number one in my life."

I always loved it when she said that. It made me feel really special inside- like I was the only thing in her life.

Grinning happily, he started to run ahead again- forgetting entirely why he had stopped in the first place. It was drizzling lightly, the stormy gray sky churned in a mad whirlpool of dark clouds in the heavens above.

Holding his folded orange umbrella out to the side as he splashed along, the boy was eager to return home. He loved rainy days like this: It meant that there would be a special treat when they entered the kitchen, sopping wet.

Slipping when Ichigo skidded across the slick sidewalk, he fell forwards into the puddle he was running through. Cold water soaked his entire face and his palms stung with pain from hitting the concrete when he tripped. The orange-haired child willed himself not to cry: He was a big boy now! Getting a little wet should be no reason to let tears fall.

Masaki's heart jumped to her throat when she saw her son slip. It was instinct really- all mothers had it and she was no exception. "Ichigo-chan! Are you all right? You're not hurt anywhere, are you?" She pulled out a lavender handkerchief and wiped the water away with tender gentleness.

Ichigo stared at his mother with awe. From his short vintage point, she looked like an angel with the light at her back- and the umbrella balancing carefully on her shoulder seemed to give him the impression of wings. All he needed was the holy white feathers to prove his theory.

"There! All dry! My, what a brave boy you are for not crying!" Masaki praised him, like she always did. However, there was more to that this time- he was so sure that he also heard some relief somewhere buried within her words.

Beaming proudly, Ichigo felt his heart swell with pride. Of course he didn't cry, he was a man! The only time (times) he cried was when Tatsuki-chan beat him up at karate- and it was with good reason! Her punches hurt!

Whenever I started to shed tears, she was always there for me. I felt really safe in her arms, with her telling me that everything was going to be all right. . . And I believed her.

Taking his mother's soft hand, Ichigo walked at a slower pace then usual. The urgency to rush home was now replaced with the need to preserve this moment forever. "What's for dinner?" He asked, trudging through the wet track.

"Hmm, what would you like?" Masaki teased her son by pretending to be clueless. Of course she knew what he wanted to have- what they always had whenever the given chance. For a child his age, it had always fascinated her that Ichigo could eat a large amount of spicy things that most adults could not.

"Spicy Barbeque Spare Ribs and Miso-shiru!" The boy's mouth stretched into a wide grin, his pearly white teeth set against reddish pink lips. "Kaachan makes the best food ever! If I ever die, I want to have Spicy Barbeque Spare Ribs and Miso-shiru before I go to heaven!"

The mother laughed at his serious manner, affectionately ruffling his orange locks. "For that, I'll never make you Spicy Barbeque Spare Ribs and Miso-shiru again. That way, my Ichigo will never leave me." She humored the nine-year-old.

His brown eyes widened in shock- the poor boy fervently shook his head. "Iie! I will never leave Kaachan! Even if you promised me my favorite foods every day of the week!"

"Oh Ichigo-chan, I'm just kidding. Tonight, I'll make you the best dinner ever." Masaki smiled, closing her eyes just for a second as if taking a mental picture of her and Ichigo waking home in the rain. "And for desert, we'll have chocolate cake. Does that sound yummy to you?"

"Hai!"

How long had it been now? Six years? Feh, time seems to run together now; once you're in Soul Society, time doesn't really matter. June 17th. . . how can I ever forget that day. . .

The two took the long way home, choosing to go past the overhang and walk by the swelling river. Ichigo stopped to stare at the normally sapphire blue waterway that was now a dark and murky strip of raging water. He shook his head, letting the rainwater spray everywhere. Not like that made a difference- the drizzle earlier before was now a steady beat of falling rain.

"Let's hurry, Ichigo-chan. It's getting quite cold. We can't have you falling sick now, can we?" Her strides quickened, and the little child was hard pressed to keep up. Something in her nagged her- telling her to get away from this wretched place! Take Ichigo and run, woman! Her instincts screamed at her, causing her to move even faster.

The orange-haired boy with his little blue hood over his head blinked the rain out of his eyes. His little heart beat faster and faster, until it was all he heard. Not even the sweet voice of his mother reached his ears. A strangled cry wretched from his throat.

A young girl, an Oneesan with short cropped black hair wearing the oddest of clothes stood on the edge of the river- looking as if she would jump in at any given second. As the wind picked up, it rocked that frail body back and forth, teetering her fate against life or death.

For the first time, he pulled his hand away from hers. There was no way in hell that he was going to let someone die! His brown eyes set in determination while running down the steep grassy side of the channel.

Maybe it hadn't occurred to me then that why hadn't my mother seen her? Or why she had no feet. All that mattered was being the little hero of the day. . . What an idiot I was!

Ichigo's small hand passed through the hem of her cloak, just as the Oneesan jumped into the boiling wrath of rage. Shock; like a bucket of cold water froze his heart- then it beat faster then ever, pounding against his ribcage. Dimly he heard Kaachan screaming his name over and over.

He was going to fall into the river! That Oneesan was already dead! What about his Mother? Where was she?

"KAACHAN! HELP ME!" Ichigo shrieked, his arms failing about trying to keep his balance. The poor little boy felt someone grabbing his hood, pulling him back to safety. "Kaachan. . ." He dared to breathe, starting to feel light-headed and dizzy.

"Ichigo, oh Ichigo. . ." Masaki clung onto him for all she had worth, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry. . . I'm so sorry. . . Please forgive me! Ichigo, you'll be all right! I promise! ICHIGO!" She sobbed into his blue rain jacket, hugging him and showering the boy with kisses.

He felt so weak right now. . .

And why was there blood all over him?

The numb pain all over his body. . .

The last thing he remembered seeing was the train going by on the overpass, rain getting into his tired eyes. Oh how he wished to wipe them away, but right now he was so exhausted.

'Mask? It's so scary. . . Why is Kaachan crying? Don't cry! Kaachan! The mask! Watch out for the mask!' Ichigo wanted to shout- to tell his mother to run away!

That mask over her shoulder was evil. . . it's eerie glowing crimson eyes seemed to curve into sickening sickles of pleasure and absolute delight.

"Kaachan. . ." Whispered the ginger-haired child, grasping her hand. "Please. . . I love you. . ." Ichigo wanted to sleep, but he couldn't! Not with that monster around! "Run. . . Kaachan. . ."

"ICHIGO!" Masaki wailed his name, hugging him even tighter. "SOMEBODY! ANYBODY! HELP! MY SON NEEDS HELP! ANYBODY. . ."

A flash of metal and the tortured howls of a hurt being were the last things the young child registered properly before peaceful darkness closed his eyes for him; taking him far away from this rainy nightmare.

When I came to, I was all alone. It was still raining- I was cold and miserable all over. It never came to mind that I actually might be. . .

"Kaachan? Where are you?" He wandered up and down that river, looking for his mother. Telling himself that she would never leave without him, Ichigo reassured himself. "Kaachan will never go home without me!"

The child stopped dead in his tracks when he noticed that there was a broken chain hanging out from his chest. Daring to prod the metal links, Ichigo made a squeaking sound. "What is this? This isn't right. . ." He started to tremble; whether out of fear or exhaustion he couldn't tell the difference.

"No, it's perfectly normal. Your chain of fate has broken, which means that you are no longer among the living. . ." A feminine voice, although certainly not his kaachan, made him whirl around. Her pale complexion contrasted greatly with her black. . . What in the world WAS she wearing? It looked like she was some samurai from his Manga books! Calm deep violet eyes gauged the orange-haired kid, as her dark hair seemed perfectly dry amidst the rain.

Ichigo started to sniff, his eyes watering with tears. "Wh-what do you m-mean? A-am I dead?" The boy started to whimper softly, fruitlessly failing to stop crying. Bawling loudly, Ichigo half expected his kaachan to come back from where ever she was and he would stop sobbing for her as he embraced her in her arms.

No, no, No! Gods, she HATED it when they started to cry! Raging rabid Hollows she could easily deal with- a drunken Urahara WITH an even more drunken Shunsui was no more trouble then threatening them with a Zanpaktou (With help from Ise-san)- hell, even striking up a conversation with her Niisama was a walk in the park when it came down to this!

"Well yes. . ." Ichigo's wailing even reached a higher volume. Frantically thinking of a way to quiet the upset thing, she clasped her hands together. "Let's see. . . I bet you're a really good boy who doesn't cry!" She attempted to smile, in hopes of him stop his howling.

Of course, it didn't work. Ichigo wanted his mother, and no one else. He didn't want to talk to this weird lady, for God's sakes! He wasn't even supposed to talk to strangers! It was only reasonable when he cried even louder.

"Listen, gaki! You are going to SOUL Society whether you like it or not!" The fearsome lady brandished her sword, swinging it around. "So quit crying and TRY to make my job a bit easier!" The air around her suddenly chilled to freezing temperature- little snowflakes started to drift around.

Immediately, the boy stifled his tears. Ichigo stared at the scary woman with wide eyes. "Who are you?" He asked, wiping his face with his sleeves. She looked like she was part of the night, maybe even related to the bogey monster under his bed. His hypothesis could have been correct- all that black and an intimidating sword at her side. . .

"I'm a Shinigami. My job is to escort souls into Soul Society. . . as well as defeat Hollows- much like that monster that. . ." She trailed off, thoughtfully considerate of what she said for a change. "Kozo, if you do not wish to go through something scary like that again. . . then go to the afterlife already!"

There, she was proud of herself. Her words were much more gentler and much more edited from the real version. She could have easily said: 'Listen you sniveling little brat! Grow a backbone and shut the hell up! If I don't do my job, I'll get demoted and you'll be eaten by a freak'n Hollow and presto! You'll become one just like them!'

Her hand went to her Zanpaktou, but stopped as she saw the determined look dancing in the boy's eyes deeply buried within all that fear. "Shinigami-san, but before I go. . . Can I say bye-bye to my family?" He quietly asked. His sad brown orbs looked downcast, almost regretful.

Of course Ichigo wasn't going to cry- he couldn't. Or else the scary Shinigami-san would get mad again. Ichigo watched as the terrifying lady in black furrowed her brows together.

The God of death's violet eyes narrowed in calculation as she speculated the kid's fate. Bah, this was one of the more stubborn ones. "Fine, do as you wish brat." The Shinigami turned around and left the boy to his own thoughts. Before the child could blink, she was gone- like the whisper of the wind. A black butterfly fluttered behind in her wake, and then it too disappeared.

The stupid gaki would learn. And then she can send him off to Soul Society with no regrets at all. However, her dark violet eyes softened at the orange-haired boy's determined gaze. He reminded her so much of him. . .

Of course, I ran back home. Of course, I thought that everything was going to be okay now. Of course, I was so wrong. . .

Ichigo panted as he finally reached his house. Soft white puffs of breath came out of his mouth as he stood there, slightly apprehensive at the dark aura that seemed to surround the place. The only light came from the kitchen window so the orange-haired boy hurriedly ran to it, standing on his tiptoes to peer over the windowsill.

Even though the window was closed, he could still hear the muffled voices of his parents. His smile shrunk into a worried frown. This was bad- Kaachan was crying. In his Oyaji's arms. Kaachan never cries, and neither looked for comfort in Kurosaki Isshin.

Ever.

"Oh Anata! What's going to happen now? It's all my fault! How can my Ichigo be. . ." She sobbed, her heart wrenching weeping made the boy flinch guiltily even though he had no idea what he did wrong.

"Hush, Masaki. Ichigo will. . ." The man trailed off, as if he was holding onto a secret that no one knew. "He's a strong boy, and right now- our son needs you more then ever. "Don't cry for his death. He'll be happy in Soul- heaven. Heaven of course! No better place then good 'ole heaven!" Isshin thumped his chest, his nostrils flaring.

"Kaasan? Where's Ichi-nii?" Karin asked from the kitchen doorway, Yuzu behind her as well. "We want our bedtime story! Ichi-nii promised to read us a book tonight! Where is he?"

"Karin, honey. . . Yuzu, sweetheart. . . I'm afraid that you brother won't be able to read you a story tonight." Masaki gathered her daughters in her arms, drawing them closer to a tight hug. Her tearstained face was quickly replaced with a happy smile that they all knew and loved.

Shaking the rain from his head, Ichigo yelled loudly, "Karin! Yuzu! Kaachan! I'm right here!" He pounded on the thick glass. "I'm right here!" The water-trodden boy wiped his face, but it rained even harder and it made no difference.

Yuzu, the youngest one suddenly pointed at the kitchen window. "Kaasan, I think that there's something out there!"

All heads turned to where Ichigo had his face pressed against the pane. Karin's face scrunched into a frown, shaking her head. "Jeeze Yusu. Don't scare me like that! There's nothing there. . . But it sure does feel like something's hanging around the front yard."

"Yuzu, it's not nice to lie. Haven't I told you that?" Masaki chided the youngest one with a gentle tongue, pushing her bangs back. She smiled at Karin who looked away, embarrassed to be caught jealous.

Isshin chuckled, picking up both his little girls with one arm. "Ha, ha, ha! Do my little girls think that they can see ghosts? No fear, Daddy's here! Ha, ha, ha-" The man stopped his mad laughter to see that the women in his family had left the kitchen. Masaki had Karin and Yuzu by their hands as they sat down in the living room.

Stoned, Isshin turned white as he played with his fingers. "Oh why must you all be so cold?" Sighing, the black haired man opened the refrigerator for a can of beer. Or maybe something a bit stronger was needed for this occasion.

Ichigo didn't even have to turn his head to look at who approached him. "Hey, Shinigami-san. . . I think that I'm ready to go." Orange hair shadowed his dark eyes, rain streaming down his cheeks- but he wasn't crying. This time, it really was the rain.

The God of Death looked gently at the boy with kind eyes. She pitied souls like these. . . they had so much before they lost it all. Especially young spirits like him- they had so much to live for.

"It's not Shinigami. . . My name is Kuchiki Rukia." The lady said in a quiet voice. She slowly drew her blade out of its sheath, ready to perform the burial ritual to send this boy to Soul Society.

"Well, I'm Kurosaki Ichigo." The child responded with equal gravity, bowing his head. "Well, sayonara . . . Karin, Yuzu, Kaachan. . . and you too, Oyaji." His body felt light and warm, the coldness that had set in his bones was lifted away. He disappeared in a portal of warm blue light.

Putting her weapon away, Rukia lifted her face to the crying heavens. "Good bye, Ichigo." She walked away into the wet world, rain falling on her lonely face. Really, she wasn't crying- honestly she wasn't. If Ichigo didn't cry, then she had no right to at all.

Shutting the refrigerator door, Isshin grimly raised his sake bottle- a silent toast. "Keep him safe, eh Kuchiki Rukia-san? Bah, he'd better turn out to be at least Vice-Captain the next time I see him. No son of mine is going to be any less! Well, cheers to you Ichigo!" He declared, feeling highly pleased with himself. Isshin chugged the alcohol from the bottle, wiping his mouth afterwards. "Ah, that hits the spot!"

Feh, I should have known better. Who would have known my entire life would be turned upside-down when it ended? Oyaji shouldn't have worried- I fitted in with Soul Society just a little too well. . .

"Vice-captain! Vice-captain! Urahara-Taichou is calling for you!" The messenger arrived with flourish; a whirl of Reiatsu swirled around where he had appeared to 'teleported'. Bowing his head deeply at the lieutenant, he waited for the Shinigami to respond.

"Eh? Now what does he what?" The Vice-captain drawled in a bored manner, slowly getting up to his feet. Hefting his enormous Zanpaktou over his back, the wind billowing through his black uniform. "Don't tell me it's another one of his meetings, is it? Cause if it is, I'm gonna be hella pissed off."

"Err…" The messenger had nothing more to say.