True Blue Knight

Ichigo mentally shook herself as she tried to recall what, or who, she had just seen earlier. It couldn't be. No. He was gone. Gone the day they defeated Deep Blue. Gone the day her powers disappeared. Gone the day Aoyama freed himself from Deep Blue's control. Gone. The Blue Knight.

-Flashback-

"Ichigo, Look Out!" Aoyama warned her, but it was too late.

A car sped towards her. She stood rooted to the ground. Clutching her bell tightly too shocked to move. She closed her eyes tightly. She waited for the impact of the car against her body. Instead, she felt as if she was being carried by a pair of warm hands. She opened her eyes. No. It couldn't be. But it was. The Blue Knight. His bright aquamarine eyes held concern as he asked her if she was fine.

"Y-yes. I'm fine. But…My bell?" She looked around frantically for it. The reason she had dashed into the street, not caring about her life.

"Here," He handed it to her. She looked up, wanting to thank him. But he was gone. Just like last time. Gone before she could find out who he was.

"Ichigo?" Aoyama's face popped up beside her and she nearly screamed in shock. She almost held her hands up to her head, as if to feel for her cat ears, and then remembered. Her powers were gone.

"Ichigo, are you listening to me?" He asked, seemingly annoyed.

"Err…yes. Of course, Aoyama-kun."

"You shouldn't do anything like that again, Momomiya-san. You could have died. Luckily, you managed to avoid the car in time."

Ichigo nodded fervently, forcing a smile.

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Was it really him? Was it really…

"Baka!"

Ichigo lifted her head and felt a finger flicking it.

"Get back to work," Ichigo's boss, Ryou, frowned as he looked at her turn her back and walk away without any protest or insults.

"Something's wrong with her today."

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"Wait, don't go!"

He hesitated and turned back to face her.

"Who are you? I thought that you were destroyed with Deep Blue?"

"Deep Blue and I are not the same. We reside in different bodies. We are separate beings."

"But…I thought..."

"Deep Blue is very skilled in tricking people, Ichigo."

"Then who are you?"

"Someone who cares very much, Strawberry…"

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"Wait!"

Ichigo sat up in her bed. Sweat dripped down her face as she realized that she had been dreaming.

"But it seemed so real."

Ichigo shrieked when she looked at her clock.

"ARGH! I'm going to be late for work!"

"Ichigo! At least eat something before you leave,"

"I'm late kaa-san. I'll get some food from the Café."

Sakura Momomiya shook her head as she watched her daughter run off hurriedly, trying to tie up her hair at the same time.

As Ichigo ran as fast as she could towards the Café, only one thought flickered through her mind, "Did the Blue Knight call me Strawberry?"

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"Ichigo, what is wrong with you this week?" Retasu asked her friend, concerned.

"It's nothing really…"

"Come on, tell us!" Mint hurried her.

"Well, on Sunday, I…met the Blue Knight."

"But Purin thought the Blue Knight was Aoyama onii-chan Na No Da."

"Oh dear, If Deep Blue wasn't the Blue Knight, then who IS the Blue Knight?"

"Who do you think the Blue Knight is?"

"Do you think…"

"I think that all of you should get back to work."

Ichigo nearly had a heart attack when she lifted her head and saw Ryou's bright aquamarine eyes staring back at her.

"I said, get back to work, Strawberry."

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"Get back to work, Strawberry."

"Someone who cares very much, Strawberry…"

"Strawberry…"

"Strawberry…"

"Strawberry…

"It couldn't be…could it?"

Ichigo sighed and rolled over on her bed. Outside, someone watched her sleep.

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"Ichigo?"

"Huh? What? Oh, Aoyama."

"Were you listening to me, Ichigo?"

"Er…Yes."

Aoyama shook his head, "Ever since that day you've been acting really weird."

"Weird, me?"

Aoyama raised a brow. He stood up.

"I should go now, Ichigo."

"Aoyama, wait…"

He turned and walked off without a second glance.

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"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Ichigo threw her pillow at her locked door.

Outside, her friends shook their heads in worry.

"What should we do now, Keiichiro-san?" Mint looked up at the older and wiser man.

He glanced at the blonde teenager beside him. A gentle smile formed itself.

"I think, we should let Ichigo cool down first and see what happens." He smiled gently at the blonde teenager who lifted a brow at his comment.

"Whatever," Ryou couldn't believe that he had been dragged to Ichigo's house to try to comfort her. Ha. Ichigo would never give him the time of day. Although. Sometimes he seemed to end up at the oddest places. Watching Ichigo's retreating back, a dazed look on her face. He'd wonder how he got there. Wonder why she was there. Wonder why whenever he went back to the Café, Keiichiro would give him that knowing smile. As if he knew something the blonde teenager didn't.

Ryou shook himself and ran a hand through his blonde locks. That strange sensation was back again.

"Excuse me," Ryou mumbled as he ran out the door for a breath of fresh air.

This sensation again. As if his body was being ripped apart. Even transforming into Alto wasn't so painful. No. It was a different kind of pain. Like when he saw Aoyama and Ichigo together. He wished it would stop. Then, everything went black.

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"Ryou…"

"Ryou"

"Ryou"

"Ryou?"

"What?"

He put a hand up to his head. He couldn't remember what had happened. He looked around. He was in Ichigo's room! She stood shocked and seemed to be staring at something behind him. And beside her stood…Deep Blue? No. It couldn't be. Wasn't he…gone?

"W-what happened?" He gasped. He looked at his clothes. They were a dark blue. His hair was long and flowing, tied up in a ponytail. He looked like…

"The Blue Knight."

Ichigo gasped.

"The Blue Knight?" She repeated.

"Ichigo? What's happening?"

"Ryou? You're the Blue Knight? I thought…"

All of a sudden, Deep Blue grabbed Ichigo by her throat. Ichigo tried to scream but she couldn't.

"You thought I was the Blue Knight. You thought your precious Aoyama was trying to protect you. Ha! Like I said before, your precious Aoyama was merely a shell. He has never, and will never, exist."

"Wha…Y..ou…I…ha..ate…y…y..ou.." Ichigo stammered out as she tried to breathe but Deep Blue only held her tighter.

"Your friend was smart though. She took one look at me and could tell that there was something different. But none of you listened to her," Deep Blue sneered.

-Flashback-

"Just leave the rest to us!" Ichigo grinned.

"Us? Isn't that the Blue Knight? But he looks different somehow…"

"Let her go, Deep Blue," Ryou clenched his fist.

"I don't think so. You see, we haven't had our fight yet, Blue Knight."

"Fight?"

"You don't remember? But then, you earthlings are one of the weakest life forms I've ever met. If you've forgotten, it means, you are too weak to support him, Earthling."

"What are you talking about, Deep Blue?"

"You see earthling, every 1000 years, I will have a fight with my enemy, for control over my planet."

"Your planet? Then what about Kish?"

"Just one of my slaves. You see, every time, he has to choose a planet to fight on. So, I use my slaves to find him for me. When I find him, we fight. And he usually wins. But this time, I WILL win, since he has chosen such weak specimens to protect."

"…"

"So, what do you say? Shall we start our fight now?"

"First, let Ichigo go."

"Fine, I have no more use for this female earthling anyway." Deep Blue dropped Ichigo onto the ground.

"Ichigo!" Ryou managed to catch her before she hit the ground.

She coughed a few times as she tried to regain her breath.

"Ichigo?"

"Ryou, it's always been you, hasn't it?" Ichigo wheezed.

"I didn't know that I was the Blue Knight…until now."

"I don't mean the Blue Knight. I mean, you've always been helping me. But I was too stupid to notice. Until just now, when Deep Blue was talking, I realized that he had just been using me, to get to you. I guess I was so blinded with my infatuation with Aoyama that I didn't see you." Ichigo sniffed.

"Whatever. Like I said, I got you girls involved in this; it's my duty to protect all of you."

"You're going to beat him right?" Ichigo looked up at Ryou.

Ryou looked away, "I don't know. But I won't let you get hurt."

Ryou stood up and face Deep Blue.

"Let's take this outside, Deep Blue."

"I've been waiting a long time for this, Blue Knight. I'm finally going to beat you" Deep Blue smirked.

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RomanceAddiction: Ok, I'm not really good at action scenes anyway. So let's just fast forward shall we. I mean, we all know how Deep Blue and the Blue Knight's attacks ---what do you mean you don't, you read the manga/watch the anime don't you?---so lets just go to the end of the fight shall we?

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"I've finally beaten you, Blue Knight."

Ryou struggled to get up. His clothes were scratched; he had bruises all over and several wounds that would not stop bleeding.

"RYOU! Stop fighting!" Ichigo screamed as tears flowed out of her eyes.

"I can't, Ichigo. I need to protect the Earth, and everyone on it. And I'll defeat Deep Blue even if it kills me."

Ryou stood up. He wobbled and nearly crashed to the ground but managed to use his sword to remain standing.

'Don't give up.'

"What?" Ryou looked around. A voice seemed to be calling out to him. From within.

'I know you we can do this together. Ryou."

The real Blue Knight was within him. And Ryou knew that they would be able to defeat Deep Blue.

"Face it, earthling. You will never be able to defeat me," Deep Blue laughed.

"We humans may be weak." Ryou stood up slowly.

"We humans may be small." Ryou lifted his sword.

"We humans may be vulnerable." Ryou lifted the sword above his head.

"But we have a heart. And it tells us that we will be able to survive no matter what!" Ryou shouted as the sword glowed bright blue.

"Jade Sword Final Judgment!"

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Ichigo sighed. Deep Blue had been defeated for good (for now anyway). But Aoyama was gone. Forever. Even if she still had her powers, nothing could bring him back. Although, it seemed like Ryou had been avoiding her all week. He hadn't teased her or flicked her nose or quarrel with her at all. She hated to admit it but she was kind of missing her daily conflicts with Ryou. Okay. She was DEFINITELY missing her daily conflicts with Ryou. Ichigo decided to talk to him.

"Ryou?"

"Come in, Ichigo."

Ichigo opened the door and went in. Ryou was sitting in his bed, staring out the window. In his hand was a bottle of water which he usually kept on his bedside table.

"How did you know it was me?"

"Because you're the only person who comes to my room so often, excluding Keiichiro."

"Oh…"

"So…you wanted to say something."

"Oh right…erm…I…"

"If it's about that day, you don't have to say anything. Like I said, it's my duty to protect all of you."

"Ryou? Can I ask you something?"

"Whatever."

"Have you ever loved anyone?"

"No."

"Really?"

"Well, there was one girl."

"Oh." Ichigo looked to the ground sadly.

"But she wouldn't give me the time of day."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. I guess we got off on the wrong foot."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, she liked this guy but I just kept interrupting her whenever she wanted to get closer to him."

"Did you ever tell her that you liked her?"

"No."

"You should tell her."

"Why?"

Ichigo was so angry that she screamed at him, "Because you loved her!"

"Tsk. Whatever."

"So who is she?"

"Who?"

"The person you love?"

"You." Ryou mumbled.

"What?" Ichigo looked at Ryou.

"Nothing."

"Oh." Ichigo looked down to the floor again.

"Ryou?"

"Yeah?"

"When I first met the Blue Knight. I asked him who he was and why he saved me. And he said that it was his duty to protect me. Why did he say that?"

"Maybe…Maybe because sometimes, though the heart forgets, the body might remember."

"What?" Ichigo looked at Ryou, confused.

"I mean, the Blue Knight might be able to make the person lose their memory when they turn into him but the person will never truly forget the things important to him."

"So, since you were the Blue Knight…"

"He said what I really felt, I guess."

"I like you too, Ryou."

Now it was Ryou's turn to stare at Ichigo.

"I guess that I always saw Aoyama in front of me. I never really saw how you helped me secretly. Like you never told me you were Alto, and you were always protecting me. Even though I believed that it was Aoyama protecting me then, a part of me still felt that there was someone else out there, watching out for me. It was you wasn't it?"

Ryou just stared out the window," I got you involved in all this, it's my duty to make sure that you don't get hurt."

Ichigo looked at him with tears in her eyes. She began to stand up, "Well, if that's how you feel… I'll just go back to work."

"I love you too," Ryou whispered, still staring out the window.

Ichigo turned around, "What?"

"I loved you ever since I saw you. But, I knew that you would never return my feelings since you only ever had your eyes on Aoyama… and… I guess I didn't want to get hurt…like Kish. Besides, if I told you how I felt then, you would never have believed me."

"Let's start over then."

"What?" Ryou turned around to face Ichigo.

"You said we got off on the wrong foot, right? So let's start over then. Hi, I'm Ichigo Momomiya." Ichigo held up her hand.

Ryou looked up at Ichigo's smiling face. The corners of his mouth tugged into a small smile.

"I'm Ryou Shirogane. Nice to meet you."

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RomanceAddiction: That scene where Retasu said that she thought the Blue Knight looked different somehow...it really happened. I read it in the manga and she said that just before Zakuro said, "That's some boyfriend you've got there, Ichigo." When I read it this story suddenly popped into my head. Sorry it took me so long to write "hehe" I'll be putting up some piccies from some scenes in this fanfic as well. And I will also be redoing the piccies from my previous story: Ryou's Heart. So please look out for it in my profile :)