Epilogue – Worth The Risk
Rukia Kuchiki looked up at the starry sky from her perch on the Kurosaki roof top. The stars seemed so far away...but at the same time she swore she could have touched them. She closed her violet eyes and breathed in the night air. It was so comforting...
"Hey," she opened her eyes and looked around as Ichigo Kurosaki climbed up onto the roof next to her. "Wondering where you went"
She looked back at the sky without answering. "It was on the news," Ichigo said after a moment of very awkward silence, "They didn't use your name, but they used his, so if anyone from school was watching, they'll probably make some assumptions"
It had been two nights since the attack. It felt like it had just happened though. "I'll deal with it," she said, "I can handle a few questions, it's no big deal. I've dealt with questions before. About a lot worse stuff. Like the two of us"
Ichigo laughed shortly. "Yeah, you got a point there"
He sat down next to her and looked up. "So what's so interesting about the sky?"
"The stars are just so pretty..."
Ichigo blinked, staring at her weirdly. "Rukia? Did you hit your head?"
She laughed, despite herself. "Very funny. I'm not allowed to be spacey every once and awhile?"
"Nah, that's Orihime's job"
Rukia shook her head. "So what are you hiding?"
"What do you mean?"
"I can tell you're hiding something," she looked over at him, "Spit it out"
Ichigo scowled. "Well, you see...it's about Yukio," her body stiffened involuntarily. "Nothing like that!" he added hastily, "It's just...apparently, you...you weren't the first girl he...hurt"
Her eyes widened in surprise. "He told the police," Ichigo continued in a low voice, "Gave 'em names and everything. And when they got in contact with the girls...he did some pretty nasty things to them Rukia. It's terrible to think about, but...well, if it makes you feel any better – not that it would – you weren't the first. Guess that's why it was so easy for him to get to you. He knew what he was doing"
"Probably 'cause he knew he was screwed anyways"
"No, why did he do it in the first place?"
Ichigo blinked in surprise. "I dunno, he's just a sick bastard, I suppose. Does it really matter? I mean, he hurt people, does it matter why?"
"Yeah, it does," Rukia's soft tone was even surprising her, "It matters. The girls he hurt...don't they deserve a reason?"
"Don't you deserve a reason?" Ichigo had noticed that she didn't seem to be including herself in the count.
"No, I have a reason already"
This definitely surprised Ichigo. "What?"
Rukia took a deep breath. What the hell, why not tell him now? He deserved to know. "Because...I was just using him"
"You were...what?" Ichigo didn't follow, "What do you mean?"
"Idiot," she scolded under her breath, "I mean I was just going with him to make you stop liking me. Not that he realized that, he thought I was using him to make you jealous"
Ichigo was lost now. "Make me...what?"
Rukia rolled her eyes. "After that damn party-" they were back to that again, "Everyone kept talking about, you know...us. And I didn't want you to get any ideas, because I know we can never be together because of the Soul Society, and who we are. So I just...used Yukio to help you realize that we could never be"
Ichigo looked at her for a second, his amber eyes wide with shock. Then he burst out laughing. "What?!" Rukia snapped, looking over at him.
"You...are...such...an...idiot..." he managed to say. Annoyed, she grabbed him by the back of the shirt and attempted to shove him off the roof. He grabbed the edge and held on. Barely. He pulled himself back up and glared daggers at the midget Soul Reaper, who smirked back. Once he had recovered he said, "You're an idiot, you know that right?"
"Oh shut up"
"Well you are!" he protested, "I mean, seriously...going out with a person just to make someone else stop liking you...you have no idea how the human mind really works, does it?"
"Not really interested in knowing"
"If you go out with another person, you're just going to make a person who likes you even more jealous!"
"So you admit you were jealous?"
"...Oh shut up"
Rukia just smirked again. "No, go on; you were jealous"
"I was not freakin' jealous!" Ichigo snapped, his face as red as Renji's hair, "Just shut up!"
"No, come on Ichigo, say it; you were jealous of Yukio," Rukia was almost laughing now.
"Like I'd ever be jealous of that no good pretty boy," Ichigo muttered, folding his arms and pouting. Rukia smiled, sincerely this time.
"Well, if it makes you feel any better, I really didn't have any interest in him," Ichigo perked up at this.
"Seriously. So you can put your jealousy to rest"
"Good," then, "I wasn't jealous!"
Rukia did laugh this time, then went back to her stargazing. After a minute she said, "These last few months have been pretty weird, huh?"
"I'll say," Ichigo muttered, running a hand through his hair, "I mean, waking up in bed together, listening to everyone at school saying we were kissing right before we left..."
"Did you ever, uh...remember anything else?"
"No," she could tell he was being honest, "Did you?"
"No," she sighed, "Too bad. A person should be able to remember their first kiss..."
"Yeah..." it took what a second for what she said to sink in, "Wait, what do you mean first kiss?"
"Have you ever kissed someone before?"
"Well, no. You mean you haven't either?"
She shrugged. "No. Never met anyone I cared enough for"
Ichigo was shocked. "But, how could...I mean, a girl like you..."
"A girl like me?" she looked around, amused. "What kind of girl am I, Ichigo?"
His face could now put Renji's hair to shame. "I uh...didn't mean it like that..."
"You started, now finish; what kind of girl am I, Ichigo?"
"Well, you, I mean...you're...any guy would be lucky to..." he sucked at trying to explain things, "you know, lucky to have you...I thought Yukio was," he finished in a mutter. Rukia's eyes lit up.
"You were jealous!"
"All right!" the orange-haired teen lost his patience. "All right, I was jealous! Happy?! I was freakin' jealous because you were going out with Yukio right after we, we..."
"Woke up in bed together?" she suggested, "Possibly made love? Ichigo, I already told you, those are the reasons I did what I did"
"Well I didn't know that," he snapped, "All I knew was you were making my life a total living hell"
The amused smile slid off her face, replaced by a look of pure sadness. "I'm sorry," she muttered, looking away, "I didn't mean to make your life hard"
Ichigo allowed himself to relax. Just a little. "I didn't mean it like that. Look, Rukia. These last few months...of pretending...I never thought I'd say this, but they've been hard"
She nodded. "I know. I didn't like it either. Still don't, as a matter of fact. But...I really want to stay here, Ichigo. And if the Soul Society ever thought we were more than just friends...I couldn't"
"I know," Ichigo sighed. "I know. We can't be together. I get that"
They stayed silent for a good five minutes, then spoke at the same time. "Rukia-"
They both blinked, and Ichigo said, "Go ahead"
"No, you," he sighed.
"I was just gonna say...would it be worth the risk?" she looked over at him, "I don't...want to go back to being just friends, or just partners. I...I dunno. I know you wanna stay here, and God, I want you to stay. But I don't think I can do the just friendship thing anymore. Would it be worth it...to at least try?"
A small smile played around Rukia's lips. "I was gonna say the exact same thing," she smiled and moved a little closer to Ichigo, "What the Soul Society doesn't know...won't hurt them, right?"
Ichigo was surprised at how close they were now. Ever since what had happened with Yukio, she hadn't cared very much to be touched. Not that Ichigo blamed her. Now though...she didn't seem to mind being close to him. "Yeah. What the Soul Society don't know won't hurt them"
Rukia smiled. "Ichigo?"
"Ever since the day after...that night. There's something I've wanted to do"
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
She tilted her head up, and he caught a devilish glow in her violet eyes, right before she pushed herself up, and her lips connected with his. And Ichigo was sure he'd died and gone to heaven. Or...the Soul Society. Whichever.
She pulled away after a few seconds. Ichigo could see that her cheeks had turned slightly red. "You know," he said conversationally, "We go to school tomorrow, people are going to be talking a lot about Yukio"
"We could give them something else to talk about if we walk in together"
"Yeah, we could," Rukia smirked, and slipped her hand into his. After a moment's hesitation he wrapped an arm around her slim shoulder, and she rested her head on his chest. "Ichigo?"
"These last few months have been hell, right?"
"And they're something we never want to go through again, right?"
"Good," a small smile spread across her face as she closed her eyes.
"Don't you dare fall asleep up here"
"Shut up. You're ruining the moment"
Author's Note: That seemed like the best way to end it XD That's as close of a confession of love as those two will get unless you want it to go totally OOC. Anyways, it's been quite a ride, I must say. I never thought when I posted this "one-shot" back in June, it would be such a big hit.
Before I wrap up for a good, I have a few things I would like to say. First off, this story has been one trip after another for me. From praise to death threats, I've loved each and every review you guys have given, and appreciate all the input more than you'll ever know. So I'd just like to thank everyone that took the time to review; you all rock, and I'll never be able to say how much I love you for it (though...not like that). I've written a lot in my time (I had another account here, but I ended up deleting it because I wasn't into the shows I had written about anymore, and I wanted to start over), but this story is easily, no contest, the most popular thing I've written. And it's thanks to you guys – the readers who took the time to review – that it's gotten to be so popular. You inspired me a lot (the death threats gave me motivation to write, lmao XD). Anyways, before I start to sound like a complete moron, I'll wrap up this sentimental part; thank you everyone, for sticking through to the end of this. You all rock
Now for the fun part: should I publish the sequel? If you want more IchiRuki, you're probably going to say yes. If you don't care...you don't care, it's no big. All right then. That's that. Review with your thoughts on the story and whether or not I should publish the sequel. If I don't end up publishing that, there's still always "All In Your Head". But anyways...that's all I've got
Sequel Information: Here are things to know about the sequel, which I will most likely publish:
Title: Worth the Risk
Summary: Rukia and Ichigo decided five years ago that they would take a chance and be together. But now the stakes are higher, and the world they've come to love is about to crash down around them
Adios peeps! Sequel, if published, will be up in about a week's time. Lots of love - Sam