Title: Far Away
Rating: T (For language and sexual references)
Genres: Adventure/Drama/Angst/Romance
Pairings: Ichigo/Rukia
Summary: -AU- Young Kuchiki Rukia met Ichigo in the streets of Rukongai. He was rude and annoying. She was determined to change him, but falling in love with him was never part of the deal.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, the characters, or the song Far Away by Nickelback.

This time, This place,
Misused, Mistakes.
Too long, Too late,
Who was I to make you wait?

Far Away — Prologue

December 25th, 1999 — Soul Society, Rukongai

"I like girls who have bigger boobs..."

The orange haired boy, who couldn't have been older than thirteen, trailed off as he stared intently at the chest of the young, blushing girl. Her violet eyes shone with anger as she, in one swift motion, hit the boy over the head, knocked his feet out from under him, and sat on top of him.

"I have boobs! You just can't see them through this dress!"

"Well, then why don't you take it off for me?" the boy whispered, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. His amber eyes shone with amusement as the girl, not liking this idea, slammed her knee into his back, effectively knocking all of the air out of him. Said amusement left his surprised eyes as he gagged and coughed.

"Get off of me, you ugly shrimp!"

"Ooooh!" she sputtered, her eyes aflame with anger as she stood up and began to stomp around. "I have never met anyone so ruuude! You're ... you're..."

The boy cocked his head to the side as he watched the short, raven haired girl stomp in a circle around him as she muttered words that even he was proud of. He was surprised that she even knew such words, and she even seemed to know a few that he wasn't acquainted with.

"Wow, you have an impressive vocabulary," he praised, grinning widely.

She stopped stomping and yelled, "I hate you!"

"Well then, I hate you, too!"

They glared at each other for a second, and the young girl blinked in surprise as the boy suddenly stuck his hand out in front of her.


"Huh? You have food?" she asked excitedly. "Strawberries?"

"No, that's my name," he huffed, frowning and looking away.

"Oh... whatever then. I'm Rukia," she said, staring at his hand in deep concentration and wondering exactly where it'd been in the last few days. When, after a few more seconds, she refused to shake it, he drew it back and ran his fingers through his hair.

"So... "

"Do you... know anywhere that I could stay for the night?" Rukia asked, cutting in. She bit her lip and reached up to hold her hair in place as the wind blew softly around her small form. Her white, sleeveless dress flowed around her thin body, and it was the first time that Ichigo realized how weak she really looked. Her skin was deathly pale and her ribs showed when she took each small, gentle breath in.

"How long have you been alone?" he asked, frowning as he shrugged off his coat and wrapped it around her shoulders. She blinked in surprise at the soft material.

"Ever since I was small. I learned to live alone, without any help from anyone. I don't need this," she said, taking the coat off and handing it back to him with thin, pale fingers. As he took it in his hand, he gripped her wrist and was only slightly surprised to find that his fingers wrapped around easily, with plenty of room to spare.

"Yes, you do need it," he said, pushing it back in her face, his grip on her arm not loosening.

"No, I don't!" she yelled, trying to move from his grasp. "I've been fine for eleven years, and that's not going to change now!"

"You're gonna die if you don't accept help from someone!"

Rukia found herself unable to utter another word as she stared into the deep, amber eyes of the boy in front of her. His cocky, annoying attitude seemed to have changed in only seconds as he held the coat out to her again.

"You're weak, pale and I know you feel hunger, unlike most people. You're hungry, I can tell, and it's the middle of December. You're wearing a sleeveless dress for God's sake! Just put the damn coat on!" he roared, his gaze making her shiver. She reached out a shaking hand and took the coat, holding it against her chest as she stared at the ground.

"All right... but I'm not weak."

"Yes, you are, Miss Shrimp. You're weak and thin and... and pale."

"And yet I was able to beat you to the ground," she said, smirking as she began to walk off. Ichigo, not willing to leave their conversation on such an embarrassing note, ran and fell into step beside her.

"That was only because I let you," he argued, his chest puffed out as he tried to hold onto some of his pride. His attitude seemed to change so quickly—first from annoying to mad, and now back to annoying—that she wondered if he had multiple personalities. "I could beat ya any day!"

"Wanna bet?"

"Sure! Here, if you win, you can sleep in my bed tonight and I'll take the floor. You asked for a place to stay, right? My place isn't very impressive, but nothing in this town is, ya know? It being the seventy-eighth district and all. But it's fairly warm, I have a blanket and it's soft... kinda. How 'bout it? If I win, though, you have to prove to me that you do have a chest."

She glared at him, but after a second or two of thought, she nodded.

"Whatever. I have nothing to worry about. I could beat a strawberry boy any day!"

"Don't call me that!"

"Strawberry boy, strawberry boy, strawberries!" she chirped in a sing-song voice, her violet eyes twinkling as she skipped along. Ichigo rolled his own eyes and whined loudly.


It was amazing how quickly you could make a friend, but when someone smiled at you and was kind, you tried to hold onto them, because most people hated you. But as he whined, she just grinned wider as he slumped in defeat. His hands were stuffed into the pockets of his worn, ripped jeans and his bare feet shuffled on the ground with each step he took.

"Aren't your feet cold?" she asked, blinking at his mud covered toes as she noticed his lack of shoes for the first time. Her eyes ventured to her own shoes, which were a light brown and worn and ripped, but they were better than nothing.

"Yeah, duh. But I gave my shoes to some new, little kid. He's been here only about a week, and doesn't know what the hell he's doin', so I thought I'd help him out a bit."

"How do you have any clothes on, at all? You keep giving them away," she said, motioning to the coat she was wearing. Ichigo shrugged as he turned around a corner randomly. Rukia, who'd already walked a few steps ahead in the wrong direction, hurried to catch up to him.

"I get new stuff. I stole that coat from some old geezer who was sellin' them this morning. It's practically new!"

Rukia nodded slowly. "Oooh. I see. Well, if you can steal clothing, can you steal food, too? I'll help, but..."

Ichigo shook his head.

"Nah. I got enough back at home. Hurry and follow me, and I'll give ya some. It's dry and doesn't taste too good, but it's something. Oh, and about our challenge..."

Rukia smirked and swung out with her foot, catching Ichigo off guard. He fell to the ground with an "Oomph" and Rukia once again sat on top of him.

"No fair! You cheated!"

"You didn't set up rules! So, I'm not technically cheating, stupid."

"I didn't have time, you midget! You freaking kicked my feet out from under me and sat on me! Off!"

"What if I don't wanna?"

"I won't give you food."

She was up in less than three seconds, and even offered a sweet smile and her hand to help him up. Ignoring said hand, he stood to his feet and glared before walking off. She followed, her hands clasped behind her as he shuffled madly through the dirt.

"That didn't count for the record. You have to actually beat me before I'll let you sleep on my bed."

"Depending on how it smells, I might not want it," she said, sticking her tongue out as they walked on. He paid her no more attention until he reached a small, brown shed surrounded by trees and tall, brown grass. He pushed open a small trapdoor on the side of the building and crawled inside. Rukia followed, careful not to snag her dress on the nails and pieces of wood that were sticking out. Once inside, she looked around the barely-lit room and smiled. It was cozy, and a little warm, too. But...

"It's a mess."

"Thank you for pointing out the obvious," Ichigo said, rolling his eyes as he slammed the trapdoor shut. "Now shut up and sit."

He motioned to the floor and she plopped down gracefully as he walked over to the other side of the shed.

"So... we're all alone?" she asked, curling her legs under her white dress in attempt to warm them. She could hear the wind outside, and even though it couldn't get in, it was like she could almost feel it.

"Yup," he answered shortly, not turning around.

"No one else here at all?"

"There used to be..."

"Sorry," Rukia said, looking down at her hands as he shuffled through a ripped, brown box. He frowned at a few pieces of fruit and soggy bread before putting them back in and shuffling around more. Rukia cocked her head to the side in confusion as he did this. Finally, he gripped something in his hands and began walking over to her.

"So... how do I know you're not gonna try and rape me in the night or something...?"

Amber eyes wide in surprised, Ichigo tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground, the apple in his hands falling to the floor and rolling over to her. She picked it up and bit into it happily as she stared into Ichigo's blushing face.

"You've never had sex before, have you?"

"So what?" he sputtered, picking up the bread and walking the rest of the way over. He made sure to sit a few feet away.

"So nothing, I guess."

"Betcha you haven't, either!" he challenged, biting hastily into one half of the bread before he pushed the other half toward the painfully straightforward girl sitting beside him.

"Nope. But I'm only eleven."

"Well, I'm only twelve!"



"Just shut up and eat..." he grumbled, shoving half of the remaining bread in his mouth. It was difficult to chew so much, but at least that way he didn't have to talk with insane midgets who enjoyed both hurting him and making him cringe.

"So... wanna try it?"

"Try what?" he asked, his eyes suspicious as he inched away a little more.


" 'The hell?" he yelled, beginning to choke on his food as he shook his head hastily.

Rukia snickered, then giggled, then fell to the floor laughing. "Oh, God, that was rich! I was joking, you idiot! But your reaction was worth it! Oh, you should have seen youself..."

She couldn't manage to say anymore because she was laughing far too hard. Ichigo, who'd managed to dislodge the soggy bread from his throat, glared at her before stomping to his feet and dropping down right in front of her. He crossed his arms over his chest and continued to glare at her until she sat up and stopped laughing, all the while wiping tears of laughter from her twinkling, violet eyes.

"That wasn't funny," Ichigo said, pouting,

"Oh, yeah, it sure as hell was," Rukia said, letting loose a little giggle as she fought back a smile.

"... go die."

She shook her head, then stuffed the remainder of the bread in her mouth.

"So, since I won, I'm taking the bed tonight," she said happily, her eyes smiling as she looked at the thick, but torn, quilt on the single, brown mattress.

"Hey, but you cheat—"

Ichigo cut himself off when he caught sight of her smile, however. She'd probably never slept in a bed in her life, so he might as well let her. Sighing, he started to stand when she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"Thanks for your help today!"

Leaving a blushing, surprised Ichigo on the floor, she bounced over to the bed and climbed into it, diving under the thick quilt as the wind rattled the windows. She sighed happily and pushed her head under the pillow to warm her nose as she listened to the trees hitting against the roof and the quiet soft, almost silent fall of snow that had started only minutes before.

Ichigo, finally shaking his head and standing up, rubbed the spot on his cheek where she had kissed. After changing sleeping positions on the floor several times—since he couldn't get comfortable and the roof kept dripping on him as the snow melted through—he stood, annoyed, to his feet, and stomped over to the bed.

"Move over."


Rukia looked up at him sleepily as he pulled the blanket back and poked her stomach. When he'd first found his mattress of a bed, he'd placed it under the only spot in the shed that didn't drip, and he didn't plan on waking up soaking wet, thank you very much.

"I said move over. I'm cold, tired, and I don't want to be dripped on," he grumbled, sitting down and nudging her small body with his feet.

"Mmm... g'night," she slurred, turning over to sleep again when he'd gotten comfortable. He curled his bare feet in the bottom of the blanket to keep his toes warm and closed his eyes.

But it seemed that, as soon as he'd closed his eyes, he was waking up again. The sun was shining in through the windows, the snow had stopped, and he was sleeping very comfortably. He didn't know why he was so comfortable on his hard mattress until he turned over and found that his head had somehow landed on Rukia's stomach the night before.

But after turning over, his face was now buried in her chest.

And, having turned over, he'd woken her up.

She blinked down at him in surprise as he grinned widely.

"Oh, wow! You do have boobs! Uwaaa!"

As Rukia jumped out of bed and began chasing him around with one of the pans he used to catch drips, he began to scream and desperately try to find the trapdoor that would lead to his freedom. Finally letting the latch loose, he squirmed outside, Rukia right behind him. But what neither of them expected to be right outside the door was a fallen tree limb, so as soon as Ichigo stepped out, he fell face forward into the snow, which was piled about a foot high.

Rukia, of course, followed him only seconds later, and as they began to fling the wet, soft snow at each other, Ichigo laughed. The look in his twelve-year-old eyes was happiness, and it was a feeling that he hadn't felt for a long time.


Ichigo pinned both of Rukia's arms above her head and grinned happily down at her as snow dripped off of his hair and to the ground below.

"Lemme go, Strawberry!"

"Nope. You're mine now," he said, laughing as she struggled to free herself. He thought she looked rather funny, actually, with her cheeks and nose bright pink while she pouted.



He quickly found that he liked it when she bit her lip and blushed. Her violet eyes were shining happily and her chest rose and fell quickly with each breath she took.


As she opened her mouth to say something, he leaned down before he could stop himself and pressed his lips to hers. As quickly as they were there, they were gone and he had developed a blush as well.

"You just looked too cute, and..."

She hit him over the head as she squirmed her way out from under him.

"That was my first kiss, you idiot! And... and... and!"

"Oh, just shut up."

They both sat there, blushing slightly, until Rukia decided to break the tenstin by hurling a huge, wet, sticky snowball at the orange-hared boy. When it conected with the side of his head and knocked him off balance, he jumped to his feet, his grin back in place as Rukia stumbled to her feet and ran off, screeching loudly.

"I hope you know this means war."


Hmm... so, whatcha think? I like it lots, but I don't know if I want it to be a one-shot or a multi-chapter story. I might stop it or I might continue. But I probably will, so for now, I'll list this as in-progress.

P.S. This is just the prologue. I will skip forward in time to when they're a little older starting in chapter one.
P.S.2. Updates will not be quick. I started college this year, and everything's a mess On the bright side, my little bro/sis is gonna be born in a month! I'm taking a trip home to stay with me mom for a week or so to help when he/she is born.

Please Review!