Spoilers: For current manga developments
Pairing: IchixRuki of course
Written because Syneim asked how we wanted for Ichigo and Rukia to unite and I chose this route. Why? Not because I love angst but because I want to torture Ichigo a little.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or anything that has to do with Bleach.
The echoes bounced off the block walls as they ran down corridor after corridor. They were close to where Rukia's reiatsu had been and nothing or no one was going to stop him now. Orihime and Nell ran behind Ichigo, the former praying her legs would not give out, while the latter wished she was riding on Strawberry instead.
Thrusting open the oversized double doors he froze. His eyes adjusted quickly in the darkened room, the crater sized hole in the ceiling proving the only light in the rather plain barely furnished space. The glow of the moon illuminating a petite figure in black with the white beam hitting her like a spotlight would a fallen hero in a Shakespearean play.
His breath hitched and he began to run forward towards her when he spotted the other figure on the floor beside her.
Ichigo would like to believe that this was his only moment to falter, to pause, to have a thousand emotions run through him yet push them all away because it did not matter. The man whose trident zanpakto was clutched loosely in his hand who wore HIS face did not matter. Rukia mattered.
But when he was three steps away from her form he paused again, this time so brief, so minutely that it was lost on one of his two companions. But Nell was observant and saw his posture change immediately. She watched as the hurt in his eyes became so visible that her own began to tear up as well.
One step closer and he saw the streaks of blood from where she had fallen and where she had dragged herself in the direction of the door. He dropped to his knees and rolled her over in one fluid motion pulling her into his arms as he did. "Rukia!" he called to her but received no response so he shook her the next time he called her. Wiping the blood from her face, he checked for other signs of injury and found it too difficult to know, to know how badly she'd been injured without him there to help her. To protect her.
Her body was cold, much colder against his body than any other time she had been this close and it worried him more sending his heart pounding harder. He was not too late. He had made it his mind chanted. He would not admit anything else.
When he heard her groan softly he felt brief satisfaction in knowing that she was not dead yet, Inoue would heal her and she would be okay. But when she opened her mouth his name was not on her lips, "Kaien-dono."
For reasons unknown he felt as if he was Grimmjow had just pierced him with his sword, particularly near the chest because that was where it hurt the most. He felt winded.
"Rukia its okay, I'm here, you're going to be fine. Stop talking and save your strength," he told her quickly pulling her more into his lap.
She pursed her lips together again, the blood that had been there before had stained her ivory skin he noted, but she recaptured his attention when she spoke again, "I'm sorry."
He opened his mouth to reassure her that it was okay, that she was fine and that everything would be okay but failed to speak as she whispered HIS name again.
That familiar jab was there again with a vengeance. Only this time it felt as if the sword was higher, towards his heart, and the person holding it was twisting it.
"No! Rukia! It's me Ichigo." He didn't know why he yelled so desperately at her that it was him. He couldn't explain why at that very moment nothing was more important that her knowing it was him holding her and not the person named Kaien, the person who even near death was haunting her, earning an apology from her. "Ichigo," he repeated, more softly this time.
Her eyes moved from beneath her lids before opening slowly. He stopped breathing completely when he saw her eyes, her eyes that always had a beautiful hue of indigo and would sparkle when she was doing something mischievous, were now only a pale shade of the vibrancy they once held. But what struck him the worst was that they appeared lifeless.
Yes. Yes it's me, he thought, you're going to make it. He pulled her head towards his chest no longer able to see the effect the moon's rays did to the eyes he so vividly remembered. Her right arm moved slowly towards him before her hand clutched his robes tightly, or as tightly as she could manage.
He pulled her tighter, as tight as he could physically be next to her without causing her more pain. She was an idiot, he thought, thanking him at a time like this, when apologies, thank-yous and greetings did not matter. Nothing mattered but her. He wanted to yell at her, carry her away, shake her, and hug her and never let her go, all at the same time, but he knew it was not the time. Things were complicated enough. There had been enough torrent of emotion running through him to complicate things. It would all get said or done later….when they were gone from Hueco Mundo. When she was safe again. When she was better. When he felt whole again.
Her whispered voice did not escape his ears, "for not letting me die alone."
At a later time be damned, he was going to tell her to stop talking nonsense right then and there, but then his eyes widened when he felt her grip slacken and saw her hand fall away, her pale thin arm hanging to the ground below her.
The girl still breathing hard quickly shortened the distance between her and the couple on the floor. Nell bounced off her but did not approach Ichigo. His reiatsu and voice spoke volumes to her. She wiped her tears off on her sleeves and watched as Orihime produced a shield to begin healing.
The more Ichigo continued to hold her, the more he felt her slipping away, only this time more quickly. Her body colder almost soulless sent him into a panic. "Hurry! She's fading!" He shouted to his schoolmate not noticing the tears pouring down her face or her shaky hands above the barrier.
Orihime continued to hold the barrier above her friend, but knew that immediately when she had begun Kuchiki-san was no longer living. Kuchiki-san was dead. She looked up to see Kurosaki-kun's eyes and she bit back a sob when she saw silent tears running down his face that he probably did not even know he was shedding. He didn't spare her a glance only continued to watch attentively the girl he clutched like a life line.
She knew what she was about to do was wrong. She didn't know the repercussions of her actions or if the Kuchiki-san she brought back would even be the same person that had been her friend. But she knew that if she didn't bring her back from the dead, Kurosaki-kun was going to break in a way no one would be able to heal him.
Closing her eyes, she began to concentrate. She would do this….for him AND for Kuchiki-san.
Notes: Yes I do know that when Kaien died his face was no longer the one he wore but use your imagination : )