Title: Together Forever

Fandom: Bleach

Pairing: Renji/Rukia

Rating: PG

Word Count: 694

Summary/Description: Not everything is transitory. Though some things may change, others will forever stay the same.

Warning/Spoilers: Spoiler-free. No warnings.

A/N: Writing this felt weird, yo. But I managed it, and I'm more or less pleased with how it turned out. It's sorta strange, though, and OOC if you look closely. And dude, did I butcher semicolons.

Dedication: For Celira-san. :-)

Disclaimer: Kubo Tite is male, Japanese, and has mad drawing and creativity skillz. I'm female, Trinidadian, and even my stick figures look like crap. See where I'm going with this?

He had gone back down the incline to search for a sturdy rock with which they could make a marker. Again, like the last two times, he was only able to scrounge up a wooden post. It would do. They always made do.

When he returned, she was on her knees in front of the newest grave, patting down the mound, shaping it carefully. She seemed fully concentrated on her task. Renji somehow did not want to go to her just yet. He had yet to see Rukia break; tremble even, but she had come close this last time.

Renji kept his distance, holding the post beneath his arm, watching her. Her tiny body was almost dwarfed by her shadow as she stooped before Inari's grave, stacking dirt onto it silently. The redhead closed his eyes briefly, trying to quell the pain. His death had perhaps been the hardest. It had happened yesterday – which had been, as proof as to how much of an ironical bitch fate could be, the six year anniversary of Jirouchou's demise. For six years, they had gone on believing that it would be the three of them, forever and always. Four years before that, it had been the five of them, firm in the conviction that they would never be separated. Now, they were only two, and Renji had never felt so lost in his life.

…She was speaking, he realised. Not to him, but softly, beneath her breath. The same thing, over and over, an eerie mantra. If he strained his ears just so, went past the sounds of the soft sighing of the wind, he could just barely make out what she was saying.

"Everything is fleeting; nothing lasts. Everything is fleeting; nothing lasts."

The man's lips tightened, and without thinking, he was striding over to her side. In one fluid motion, he dropped to his knees beside her and stilled her hands.

"Shut up." Fragile feelings be damned; she shouldn't be talking like that.

She gave him naught but a morose glance.

"It's true," she said flatly.

"Shut up," he repeated, almost helplessly, gripping her pale fingers harder.

"Are you trying to say it's not true?" Her tone raised a notch in volume; it sounded harder, yet duller. She pulled her hands away from his; not harshly, but abruptly. Violet eyes flicked to catch his brown ones. "Remember when it was the five of us? 'Together forever'." She gave a dry, humourless laugh, and a palm fisted in the dirt. "That's all shot to hell now, isn't it? We thought … we thought that it would be that way forever; us five, urchins of the Rukongai come together to form a slapdash family that was perfect, perfect to us at least. It seemed that time would freeze, stay in the era that was ideal for us. But we were wrong." Liquid gathered in the corner of one eye. "Everything is fleeting; nothing lasts. Everything is fleet—"

"Don't be stupid." His inflection was tempered and soft; so uncharacteristic of him that she had to stop and turn to him. He wasn't looking at her, though; the brown eyes were trained on the sinking sun that teased the horizon. "I'll always be here. Always," he repeated forcefully when he sensed that she was about to disagree.

She curbed her comment, biting down on her lip. Her eyes lingered on his sharply carved features, the corded muscles of his neck, his auburn hair. This man was her best friend, the only one she had in the world now. She wanted to believe what he said, that he would never leave; she wanted to desperately. So… she did.

"Aa," she said, and turned to watch the sun set with him, the orange rays bathing them. Silence again became the monarch. Eyes looking everywhere but at each other, they both pretended that it was purely by chance that when she laid her hand to the ground, it fell into his.

One week later, when they were visiting the graves, she proposed that they go to Seiretei and become Death Gods together. He only hesitated slightly before he gave his answer.
A/N: The title annoys me. If you have any suggestions, feel free to give them. I appreciate all comments. :-)