A/N: I had this idea while I was still in middle school though an official plot still hasn't gotten there. Though from the looks of it, it may be over twenty chapters. I can't promise anything but it might eighteen at the least. I changed it somewhat from the previous story because it was kinda corny. One other reason I decided to do an arranged marriage type of fic is because I read a really great one a few months back which I recommend to anyone who hasn't read it yet. It's called Falling Together. I really liked the idea that Ichigo and Rukia would have to be forced into holy matrimony. While this is pretty common in fanfiction, I think this type of AU fits perfectly for Ichigo and Rukia. It's a simple yet complicated way for them to begin trusting eachother and much later share a special bond that no one can break.

I Do, Stranger

Chapter 1: The Rest of Ours Lives

Run. Run away. That was exactly what she thought she should do at this moment...but she couldn't will her legs to move forward. Instead, Rukia stood frozen to the spot, peering up at her reflection in the full length mirror. Wedding, huh? It would be the perfect day if only she were the least bit interested. Fact was she had no idea what her groom even looked like. It's not as though she could back out.

Byakuya had made it thoroughly clear to her that if she even opened her mouth in objection, he would vow to make her life a living hell everytime he visited Rukia and her husband. She couldn't give the Kuchiki clan a bad name. It was her duty and obligation to make this marriage work. Another very important reason was because Hisana had spent a great deal of time making Rukia look presentable for this wedding.

'At least I look the part,' she thought sullenly. She pushed the veil of cloth higher onto her head since it kept getting into her eyes.

Her hair had been pulled back with a silver butterfly comb, leaving a long strand of hair cradled against her face. A string of white pearls hung loosely around her thin neck. The kimono she had been presented with was a pure, silky white with blue and purple monarchs fluttering over her skirts while her obi was a soft lavender.

Rukia's sister had indeed gone through pains to get Rukia looking the way she was. She had even used the traditional japanese powder and paints on her. Rukia couldn''t even recognize herself anymore...she didn't like that. Not one bit.

'Even when I become this man's wife, I won't be submissive. We're two complete strangers. The last thing I want is to get to know a stranger.'

"Father! Father! Ichigo has gone missing...again!" cried Yuzu, sliding the shoji screen door aside.

Isshin looked up from his praying at his wife's memorial alter he carried everywhere with him. He bowed his head at her portrait and clapped his hands twice before kneeling in front Yuzu. He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Before his own wedding...What a disgraceful son I have raised! I'm ashamed to call him family!"

He pressed his arm into his eyes and began hyperventalating uncontrollably. Yuzu smiled pleasantly at her father, a small sweatdrop appearing behind her head. She touched her father's arm, indulging in his silly behavior. "There, there. Don't be like that, daddy. I'm sure Ichigo must just be having pre-wedding jitters, "she said kindly.

"Doubt it."

Yuzu looked up to see her sister leaning against the doorway, a piece of straw hanging from the side of her mouth.

"Why is that, Karin?"

"I just saw him running down the hall a few seconds ago. Fastest I ever saw him run."

"What?!" shouted Isshin.

"Don't worry so much, pop. Ichigo's got the brains of a goldfish. He's got the worst sense of direction. The fool is still going to his own wedding! " she cackled malliciously.

"Oh, I wonder what his bride-to-be will look like! I'm so excited for big bro!"

"You have enough excitement for the both of you."

"Alright girls, let's go meet your brother. But first...come give your dad a hug!"

He lunged forward, arms outstretched. Karin intercepted him from Yuzu and implanted her foot in her father's face.

"You're such an embarassment! Come on, Yuzu, let's go watch Ichigo mess up his wedding."

"Crap! How the hell did I wind I up here?!!"

Ichigo glanced around from the platform where he sat at, shifting uncomfortably on his throw-pillow. He crossed his arms over his black hakama peevishly. His father watched his son from the sidelines, making exaggerated gestures for him to smile. Karin rolled her eyes at her father and Yuzu gave Ichigo an encouraging smile. Ichigo turned away from his family, scowl in place. He had already told his father that getting married was a waste of time but his father would hear nothing of it.

Isshin went into this his speech about honor and how the men must always protect their women. He even went as far as retelling Ichigo 'where' babies come from and reminded him that one day he would have to bear a Kurosaki heir. By this point, Ichigo had already tuned him out and agreed to the so-called marriage just to shut his father up.

Ichigo drummed his fingers against the wooden platform. "Damn...where the hell is she? Making me wait like this, that-

A shoji screen slid aside and revealed his future wife in her elegant wedding attire. She had her head bowed as she daintily glided over to him. Rukia sat as gracefully as she could opposite of him. Her eyes remained on the ground, aware of Byakuya's cold stare penetrating her back from within the crowd. She bowed lowly, forehead and palms touching the floor.

Byakyuya and Hisana had always constantly reminded her to show respect to her husband at the wedding ceremony. She suddenly felt her future husband grab her arm rather roughly and hauled her up to face him. She blinked up at him , aghast at his forwardness. He leaned forward and briskly whispered into her ear.

"Don't do that. It's embarassing."

She glared up at him fiercly and pulled her arm back.

"I'm embarassing?! You-you carrot top!" she sputtered.

He cocked an eyebrow at her, a smug grin playing at his features. "Carrot top? Is that the best you can do?"

"Shut up!" she muttered, blushing.

"Crap, I had no idea my wife would turn out to be so ugly. Imagine what our Frankenstein-like children will turn out to look like."

Rukia's eyes bugged out of her skull at that remark and she felt herself steam in outrage.

"Children! Hah! I'd drown myself or fall on a rusty nail before I bear your children! Who'd want more carrot tops screwing up the scenery!" she screeched.

Ichigo opened his mouth to retort but his father hit him upside the head with a stone. He turned around to glare at his father and saw him mouthing some nonsense about grabbing his future wife's hand. Isshin then tried to use Karin as an example to kiss her hand. She smacked him.

"I ain't doin' that! You can forget about it!"

An even larger rock came crashing down onto his humongous ego. He yowled out and stood up to give his father a piece of his mind. Ichigo found himself eating boulder and fell back onto his throw pillow.

"Alright, already! You old fart! ...You can put the ammo away now, dad."

Isshin shrugged and pushed the wheelbarrow of rocks aside while his daughters stared at him strangely. Ichigo bit his lip in frustration as he grabbed her hand in his. Rukia stared up at him, her face scrunching up in pure annoyance. Her eyes widened when she saw him take out a hankerchief and begin wiping her hand as if it was full of germs. He grinned evilly as he did this. He tossed the hankerchief aside and placed his lips on Rukia's hand, all the while watching her reaction. He seemed very much pleased with the anger he saw in her violet orbs.

"Idiot!! I'll slap you so hard, it'll send you back to the China province!"

Ichigo's eyes glittered with amusement at this. "So what's stopping you?"

Rukia watched her brother out of the corner of her eye who sent her a look so sharp, she felt the coldness of his reiatsu radiating from within him. She straightened up and turned away from Ichigo.

"Let's just get on with this wedding."

Ichigo seemed surprised that she would give up so easily and tried to inquire about it but the priest who had been sitting before them all along, finally spoke.

"If you are both done quarreling, let us proceed with the ceremony."

The 'happy' couple nodded and shifted so they had their sole attention on the priest. He began reciting from the book of Budha, going to pages marked by both the Kurosaki and the Kuchiki clan that they thought suited Ichigo and Rukia best. He then began pouring the sacred rice whine into gold goblets. He handed each cup to them and gestured for them to drink up.

He brought out a long black box and took out the ceremonial sash of unity. He wound it around their wrists and tied the tall cups together.

"Now. Please exchange drinks with your future partner in wedlock."

Ichigo wound his arm under Rukia's and held his drink out to her. She stared down into her rippling reflection in the goblet.

'So this is it, huh? Is this where it all ends? I didn't even get to tell Renji goodbye.'

A tightening on her forearm forced her to come back to reality. Ichigo scowled down at her as he gripped her tighter.

"If I have to do this, so do you, you shrimpy brat!"

"Go choke on a raisin!"

None-the-less, she took a sip out of his goblet and in turn, Rukia raised her own to Ichigo's lips. He kept sipping...and sipping...and sipping, making rude slurping sounds. He finally finished and licked his lips in satisfaction. The priest looked down at him sternly, his jaw set tight.

"If you are now finished, for the love of Budha, please let us continue."

Rukia rolled her eyes at Ichigo's idiocy and pulled her arm back. She rubbed at it, trying to shake it from the numbness it held from Ichigo's iron grip on her.

"You may now exchange vows. Who would like to do the honor?"

Ichigo and Rukia silently seethed at eachother, their reiatsu flared up around them dangerously. The old priest ignored this, however, and prodded Ichigo in the back to begin first.

Ichigo scratched the back of his neck in annoyance. "Uh...well what can I say? I'll cherish her and...uh respect her and all that crap." He put his fingers up in quotations for emphasis on cherish.

"I promise I'll take good care of her and make sure she doesn't croak or anything," he added

The priest 'ahemed' and cleared his throat at his childish behavior. Rukia glared up at him, her fingers twitching to slap him. The old priest frowned at Ichigo in disapproval and motioned for him to continue.

"Um...I'm proud to be married to a lovely woman like Kuchiki-san. It's our first meeting and yet I already feel so... (snaps fingers) so connected to her."

He smiled when he found the right word and nodded vigorously. Rukia rolled her eyes at him but didn't say a word.

"I think love is as fragile as glass and needs to be tended to the right way. I'm sure Kuchiki-san and I will grow to be very fond of eachother. I am very glad I was blessed with someone as precious as this woman."

He turned to smile sweetly at Rukia before turning back to the priest, scowl in place.

'Faker,' she thought, her cheeks flushing a little.

The priest smiled, pleased with what Ichigo had said. Several awes were echoed throughout the tavern.

'Are you serious?! Damn...he's good. I'll give him that much."

"Kuchiki-san, you may now exchange your vows for your husband-to-be."

Rukia nodded absentmindedly and faced Ichigo. She was more than a little annoyed to find that cocky smirk on that ugly mug of his.


She saw her sister smile at her in encouragement while Byakuya narrowed his eyes at her, as if daring her to say something ridiculous.

"I...I vow to be faithful to thy husband. I will start a life with him with no lies or trickery. I shall support him in the best way that I can. I don't now or will ever believe in love at first sight but I will be devoted to him. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my husband. I would put both my heart and life on the line for him no matter the great risk. If he will have me, I vow to break through his rough exterior and show him true tenderness and compassion."

Ichigo gawked at her. 'Whata load of crap!...I almost believed it! This brood has skills!' he thought incredulously.

He could hear the crowds of guests gushing over her vows like a bunch of idiots. The priest smiled pleasantly at Rukia, nodding his head at her.

"You have both vowed on your very souls to be true to one another. You have sworn unconditional love to your partner."

"That's not exactly what I said," muttered Ichigo.

"Shut up!" Rukia hissed at him. "Neither did I," she whispered

"I can hear everything you both are saying."

The couple quieted down and let him continue, silently seething at eachother.

"Alright then. Kurosaki Ichigo, do you take Rukia-san as your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, through sickness and in health, 'till death do you part?"

"As if I had a choice," he mumbled.

The priest looked back at him sternly. Ichigo sighed irritably, rolling his eyes at him.

"I do," he grumbled.

The priest inclined his head at him in acknowledgement and awaited Rukia's answer. "Do you Kuchiki Rukia take Ichigo-san as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold through sickness and in health, 'till death do you part?"

Rukia felt her throat swell up and start burning. She bowed her head in shame as she couldn't will her lips to move in answer. She had already accepted this fate so why did she feel so weak all of a sudden? Maybe she just didn't fully understand what being married was all about.

She felt tears emerge from the corners of her eyes, hidden beneath the shadow of her bangs. She placed a hand at her throat as she suddenly felt she was choking.


She suddenly became hyperaware of everyone, including Ichigo's eyes on her. She opened her mouth to speak but was cut short as the doors to the tavern slammed open. The audience turned to look back, whispering.

Rukia stood up next to her throw pillow in shock at who she saw. "R-renji?"


"Who the hell is that?" grumbled Ichigo.

Rukia ignored him and watched her friend approach the platform. "Renji...what're you doing here? Brother warned you not to come. Please, don't do anything stupid."

"For how long?"

"Renji, please! I don't want you to lose your job just because you're trying to help me get out of this."

"That doesn't even matter anymore. I don't want you marrying some guy who's just gonna treat you like crap. What kind of friend would I be if I let you do that? Exactly."

Rukia smiled at him in a way that unnerved Ichigo to an extreme measure. He scowled at Renji in annoyance and rose up from his seat as well.

"Friends, eh? Then what's that you've got in your hand?"

Renji turned as red as his hair and quickly stuffed the box into his hakama. "Shut up!"

Ichigo stood up and placed himself in between Rukia and Renji, hand on the hilt of his bankai. "If you were wise you'd leave now."

"Pfft! I ain't leavin' without her."

While Ichigo didn't want the wedding to begin with, he knew he couldn't let Renji take her.

"Not like I care about her either way but I've got this whole duty thing I have to. You're in the way, you bastard. Leave before I do something, you're gonna regret."

"Don't talk to him like that! He's just trying to stop me from making the biggest mistake of my brother's life! " yelled Rukia before she had realized what she had said.

She stepped out from behind him and turned her head to face Renji. "I hate to admit it but he's right. Renji leave this place now. I'm ready for my new life, a life I wish you were still apart of."

Renji gawked at her as he stood stiffly in place. He felt like he'd just gotten slapped in the face.


She turned away, not able to bear it any longer. 'Why does he have to make things so difficult?'

Ichigo crossed his arms in satisfaction. "You heard her. Guards remove his bankai and roll him up like a sushi roll and throw him in the nearest river."

He pointed at Renji in a regal manner and a swarm of guards jumped on Renji. They dragged him away despite his struggles against them.

"Rukia! I'm not giving up on you! I won't leave you alone with that Kurosaki creten!"

The doors to the tavern closed as the death gods exited out with Renji. Rukia frowned at Ichigo but didn't say anything. She exhaled and inhaled, trying to calm herself until she finally faced the priest.

"I do, already. Are we married yet? Can we leave now?" she asked impatiently.


"Yeah, let's blow this joint. I'm hungry," Ichigo said as though forgetting what had just occured two minutes ago.

"No, it's not over yet. You may now kiss the bride."

Ichigo's right eye twitched. "Come again?"

The priest looked baffled at this and cleared his throat before answering. "It's apart of the ceremony. Everyone knows that."

"Nuh-uh! You got me to kiss her hand, but I ain't doin' that!"

"Yes you are!" shouted Isshin.

He grabbed both Ichigo and Rukia's heads and tried to force their faces together. They growled at eachother as they were pushed together, each trying to get out of Isshin's grip. Ichigo slugged his father in the gut and turned to yell at him.

Leave me the hell alone! I'm not, I repeat, NOT kissing her!!!"

His words echoed throughout the now quiet tavern and he looked over his shoulder, fearing the worst. Rukia's face was scrunched up in annoyance, maybe even a little hurt.

"You're no prince either, Ichigo. I'd rather have my tongue sliced off then to ever have my lips touch yours!"

Ichigo looked taken aback for a moment before a smirk began playing at his lips. "Oh, really?" he asked mockingly.

"Yes, really! "


Rukia rolled her eyes at him. "What's so interesting? Enlighten me, Kurosaki-san."

"It's just that I never knew that self-denial looked so pathetic up close," he grinned wickedly.

Rukia gawked at him, mouth wide open. "You...you... She had been too preoccupied with finding a comeback to throw back at him that she didn't notice how close he was now.


"Exactly." He grabbed the back of her head and did the deed.

She was still trying to think of a bad name for him that it took her a moment to fully register what he had done. She raised her hands up onto the front of his black hakama, gripping the material tightly. Rukia suddenly found it very hard to breath as she became very aware of not only Ichigo's lips on her but every single person's eyes in the room were now trained on her and Ichigo.

She blushed deeply as the crowds began cheering for the married couple's jubilant future together. Ichigo pulled away momentarily, pressing his forehead against hers. A rye smirk reached his dark brown eyes. He traced his finger on her shaking lips and leaned in to whisper in her ear.

"How'd ya like me now?"

Rukia bowed her head, her bangs shadowing her eyes as her reiatsu blazed around her dangerously. "You...you bastard," she muttered out, glad she had found the right word to describe him.

"It didn't seem like you were complaining too much. You hardly put up a struggle."

"Could you deflate your ego for just a minute, Kurosaki!" She grabbed his hair by the roots and yanked him down to her level.

"I was simply caught off guard! You haven't even earned the right to kiss me!"

"Who says I want it?!"

"Listen you---The image of him kissing her kept rewinding in her head and soon she felt her stomach churn at the thought. Rukia covered her mouth before throwing herself at the edge of the platform and puked on the front row of people.

Karin snickered from the sidelines. "This is the best wedding I've ever gone to!"

"What? We had to go through all that nonsence and we can't even stay for the food?!" grumbled an outraged Ichigo.

"We can't let you stay after that fiasco both of you both performed on stage!" exclaimed Isshin.

"He's right. The sooner you're the settled, the better. I feel too ashamed to even look at you right now, Rukia." Byakuya turned away from her and walked away with long strides into the bustling crowds.

Rukia bit her lip as she watched him go. She reached a hand out as if to stop him but her hand faltered and finally came to rest at her side. Hisana came up from behind her and put her hands on Rukia's shoulders. She smiled at her reasuringly, tucking away stray hairs behind Rukia's ear.

"Don't worry about him. He'll get over it. It's not like he's gonna hold this over your head."

Rukia turned around to face her sister just as she wound her arms around her as if she were a small child. She smoothed her hair down lovingly and swayed with Rukia, still in her arms.

"Your husband seems like an interesting character. I'm sure you'll both grow to like eachother very much."

"Have you ever actually heard of an arranged marriage working out?"

"Well as a matter of fact I do.


"None other than Byakuya," she smiled knowingly.

"Him?! Brother?! Our brother?!"

Rukia's sister laughed softly. "Yes, him. It was I who worked my way into Byakuya's heart and melted the chains around it. He has a cold demeanor on the outside but he's just a softie underneath, just like every other man."

"..." Rukia thought about this for a moment considering what her sister was telling her.

"I don't want you to worry about your marital life. In the Kurosaki castle, you must hold your head up high. Even when things go dark, you'll always find the light at the end of the tunnel. Let your heart guide you, only then will your true strength awaken."

Rukia nodded her head into her sister's shoulder, closing her eyes. Their tender moment was cut short because of Isshin and Ichigo's inhuman yelling.

"Why do I have to do all this shit for her?!"

"That's what the men are supposed to do for their brides! Now do it!"

"Look at her! She probably weighs a frickin' ton!"

Rukia broke away from her sister at that statement, balling her hands into fists.

"If you don't do it, you know who gets the 'snip, snip' treatment." Isshin made a scissors motion in the air.

"Leave my manhood out of this! I'll do it, okay?! Leave me the hell alone now! You're such a pain!"

Karin tossed the piece of straw aside. "I've been telling him that for years but, he just doesn't get it."

"Um...brother? I was practicing my caligraphy and...um..." She showed him the glass picture frame and blushed faintly.

"Hmm...this is pretty good, Yuzu. 'When traveling, one wants a companion. In life, one wants compassion.' "

Ichigo smiled softly at Yuzu and squeezed her shoulder gently. Karin went up to Ichigo hesitantly, keeping some distance between them.

"F-for one thing, I'm glad you're finally moving...Teenagers are such pains in the ass. All they do is complain about their lives were never good enough and all that crap. T-the house will be quiet for a change...with the exception of dad of course." She dragged her slipper against the wooden floor, absent-mindedly.

Ichigo stared down at Karin for a moment. "I'm gonna miss you too, brat."

He touseled her hair, ruining her bun. She frowned up at him and turned away with her arms crossed together stubbornly. Ichigo sighed as he went up to Rukia. Before she could even blink, Ichigo hoisted her up onto his shoulder and was making his way through the crowd and outside towards the carriage.

"Hey put me down, you- you- You!"

"Exactly. Now pipe down."

He shoved her into the carriage, not caring where she fell and slid in next to her. Rukia glared up at him from her spot on the floor. She stood up, only to be jerked roughly into her seat as the horses began trotting off. She waved out the window at her sister until she could no longer see her.

Ichigo sat slouching, lips drawn in a thin line. He stared straight ahead in nothingness as if to avoid Rukia's presense in the carriage. It was hard to figure our what he was really thinking though.

"Hey...When do we get to your castle, Kurosaki-san?"

He raised an eyebrow at her. "We're married now, whether we like it or not. Just call me Ichigo, I don't care."

"Alright. So when're we getting there?"

"It's about a two-day journey from here. I better not hear you whine, brat."

Rukia felt her right eye twitch. She didn't want him to know how much he really got to her.

"I travel all the time. This is nothing for me."

"Good, then we'll have no trouble."

For a while, they rode in complete silence, both trying to ignore eachother's existness. Rukia had never felt more bored. Her games were in the back with her other belongings which left her with nothing at the moment. What was there to do? She looked around the carriage, not certain what she was looking for.

She saw a piece of paper sticking out from under her seat. She pulled it out only to find it was a scroll. Curious enough, she unrolled it to read it's contents. Oh. What was this? A love letter, perhaps?

There are no words to describe what I am feeling for you, my beloved. It's real. I believe that our time apart will only make my love for you grow even stronger. I don't know what to do anymore for I fear that I might ruin our budding friendship. I have to be honest, my dearest, it isn't enough. I can't touch you in the same way watching the first sun rise could and it pains me to know the truth. I've never written a love song before but I think this is more-or-less how it would go. You used to tell me how sweet my voice sounded. For an instant, I would get to see that smile hiding behind those eyes so full of sorrow and regret. I bid you, say it again. I hope we meet again, when the moon is at its highest. Only then will I show you who I really am.

This kiss is for you (lipstick print)

Yours truly, The one who admires you most

Rukia felt her ears burn at reading something so private. Not only that, but it was pretty hard to believe that there was any girl who could tolerate Ichigo, much less have romantic feelings for him.


She looked up to find Ichigo, reading over her shoulder. She awkwardly handed the scroll which he swiped out her hand. He tucked it into the folds of his dark hakama before turning to glare at her. Rukia shrank in shame, feeling pink tint her pale cheeks.

"So...? Do you always look at other people's private belongings?"

"S-sorry. I was gonna use the paper for origami, really." Rukia placed her hands up in defense.

"So you were gonna make a paper crane out of my letter?" he asked through gritted teeth.

"You're twisting my words!" she protested.

"Whatever, not like it really would've mattered anyway."

"Huh? But this girl really cares about you. How can you be so heartless?"

"That's her problem and besides I have better things I'd rather think about and it doesn't involve any girl."

"You're only fifteen, surely you must've had a crush before."

He gave her a questioning look and was quiet for a moment. "Why do you care anyway?"

Rukia gave him a bitter sweet smile and placed her hand on his arm. "Because you are my husband and I should know everything about you."

For a moment, it looked like Ichigo would brush her off. His eyes held her for a young eternity.

"Once. Tiny. No big deal."

"But from the looks of this letter, she's pretty serious about you."

"I don't even know who she is."

"She seems familiar with you."

"I'm married. What part of that doesn't she understand? Only an idiot would write me this before my wedding. What about you? You seem kind of eager to get rid of me and we've only been married a few hours."

"I'm only being encouraging. You shouldn't have to be tied down to me if your heart is somewhere else."

"No." Rukia looked up at the sudden dark tone in his voice. The coldness in it was definete and radiating in her direction. Ichigo's head was bowed, his orange bangs shadowing his eyes.

"What you don't understand is that you and I are both bound together by marriage."

Ichigo grabbed Rukia by the front of her kimono. "Got it? I don't want this anymore than you do...Oh. I see..."

"See what?" She didn't like the sudden change of tone. Rukia was now certain that she liked the previous Ichigo instead.

She slapped his hand away and sat away from at a certain distance. "You're mooning over that tomatoe-haired freak, aren't you?"

Rukia sucked in a gasp. "W-what?"

"You don't have to pretend anymore. Though I do got to say you have bad taste in men. You could do so much better than that."

"How dare you say that about Renji?! He would make a great husband for any woman!"

"So you admit it. You and that lovesick puppy are together."

"How can you say that? Renji's my oldest friend!!"

"That's not what it looked like to me." Ichigo stared blankly at her, his left eye twitching in annoyance.

"That's because you're an imbecile! Stop the carriage!" she screeched.

The whole carriage jerked to a standstill. Rukia slammed the door shut behind her, marching her way past the perplexed driver. Ichigo stuck his head out the window, getting seriously ticked off with every move she made.

"Hey! Where do you think you're goin'?!" he yelled.

"I'll make it to the castle on my own!"

"Are you stupid of something?! Are you trying to walk into an early grave?! There are death gods on higher levels than you. Not to mention hollows crawling all over this region. You know what you are to them? Nothing!"

"Quit underestimating my abilities!"

"If you insist on leaving, then I'm coming with you."

"What?! Then there wouldn't be any point in leaving you!"

Before she turned away, she said, "By the way, you kiss like a dog! Wet and slimy!"

Ichigo felt angry marks appearing on the side of his head at hearing this. She ran ahead, kicking off her slippers as she went. She tucked them into her obi without turning back to look at Ichigo. He sighed in exasperation as he ran his large hand through his spiky orange hair. Ichigo turned his attention to the driver who had been listening with mild interest.

"You go on ahead, okay? I'll catch up."

"Are you sure that's such a good idea, my lord?"

Ichigo quirked an eyebrow at him. "Just who do you think I am? This is nothing for me."

He headed to the back of carriage where the compartment carried all their belongings and unloaded his bandaged weapon. With quick prosision, he strapped it over his shoulder and secured it. He glanced once more at the driver before walking off.

"We'll meet you at the next inn before nightfall. Don't send any word of this to my father and I'll triple whatever you get paid."

A/N: Somehow I'm not quite satisfied with the way this chapter turned out. I feel like I failed! (slumps into depression) Well I could really use a second opinion from everyone. In the next chapter, a familiar character will show up but you might not be aware of it. It's up to you to figure out who he/she is and when he/she appears. Don't worry, Ichigo and Rukia's seperation won't be for long. If you liked my fic, then please don't forget to review for me! I would much appreciate it!