I don't own Bleach.


The pieces of my heart are missing you
When you're gone
The face I came to know is missing too
When you're gone
The words I need to hear to always get me through the day and make it ok
I miss you


The bell that hung right above the door of a bookshop jingled as yet another customer walked inside; the fourth person in less than ten minutes. It was very busy today in the Shoten. Yet it was expected, it was near Christmas. Though it was just after Thanksgiving everyone seemed to want to buy their presents now. And it seemed everyone had that same idea.

It was a good thing because usually around Christmas time people were most likely to give tips to the hard workers at the Shoten. And no employee worked harder than the raven-haired, twenty-two year old, employee named Rukia Kuchiki.

She practically lived in the Shoten. She was there from eight in the morning to seven at night. And during the holidays, she stayed even longer to make sure that no one was left wondering why they couldn't get a book at eight, nine, or even ten at night. She didn't want to risk potentially good customers to another bookstore.

The woman bent over yet another box of books. Scanning the titles, she knew that the world was officially coming to an end. Three boxes of romance novels she had up on the shelves and there were ten more boxes of books (with what else but romance trash?) yet to be shelved. There were two aisles filled with romance junk already, soon Rukia would have to clear out more shelving space for yet another row.

Didn't people have anything better to do than just swoon away at the ridicules imagination of some old woman, stuck in a nursing home, writing about how life should be? Where men pulled out chairs, opened doors, and caressed women with beautiful words?

Wouldn't people rather read about action or tragedy? Wouldn't people rather read a mystery, or suspense…hell, even science – fiction?

No.

They wanted romance. And being a slave for the newest (and "hottest") books, Rukia had to put up with every blushing fourteen year old who walked into the store, wanting to buy the next trashiest romance novel. Shouldn't they be studying rather than reading about…things…that they shouldn't be dealing with until they were older?

All in all, Rukia was not a woman looking for a man. She was fine, living by herself, alone in her apartment, with nothing to do except write a book that would "Be a huge success!" and it would not include romance. Maybe here and there, but the main focus was on the action, the heroes; the shinigami.

Name: Rukia Kuchiki.

Age: Twenty-two

Occupation: Co-manager of the Shoten and writer

"Rukia," her friend, Orihime called a little after seven. "Shouldn't we be closing up? Its past closing time."

Rukia, standing at the counter helping the last of the Shoten's costumers, looked up, her violet eyes clearly tired. "No, I'm gonna stay here a while," she told the orange haired girl.

"Come on, Rukia," Orihime said, using a very sweet voice. "I'll buy you dinner. How does a cheeseburger sound?"

Heavenly.

Rukia politely declined, saying that she would close up and just head home. Orihime had nodded and went her way, probably to see Tatsuki. For the most part the woman had kept her promise. After finding a few old war books, she paid for them, closed up the shop, and started walking home.

She had on a knee length coat wrapped around her slim figure. It was freezing outside, only thirty or so degrees. She wore long jeans that went past her tennis shoes; they were wet and torn from walking on the wet concrete every morning.

Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, sweat still clinging to the little hairs on the back of her neck. It sure got stuffy in that little bookshop.

When she reached her apartment building, she unlocked her door and walked inside. Her apartment was tiny. She had one small couch and a TV in the living room. The kitchen which was attached to the living room, held a fridge, a stove, a dishwasher, four or so cabinets, and a microwave. She had one room that contained her bed, her dresser, a lamp for reading, and a desk with her computer on it. She had a bathroom directly beside her bedroom.

Her apartment was all white. It was very boring, like she felt her life was right now.

She grabbed a hunk of cheese out of her fridge and walked to her bedroom and her desk. She sat down a turned on her computer.

Going through the mail she had gotten before climbing up the three flights to her flat, she noticed something. There was a package. She never got packages…unless….

She immediately ripped through the golden folder, anxious to find out what was inside. Indeed, there it was her story.

The title page was completely clean reading the words:

BLEACH

The Karakura Arc

By: Rukia Kuchiki

Such a beautiful title page, Rukia thought proudly to herself. She turned the page and right away, she frowned. Red marks from numerous pens had taken over the paper, marking every little grammatical error, every spelling mistake, every awkward sentence.

She started reading them.

You see, Rukia wanted to become a famous author. She had been writing since the age of twelve, developing numerous stories all the way from women who didn't need a man in their life to be happy all the way to happy skipping rabbits in a strawberry patch.

Two years before, when she had been a sophomore in college, she had come up with the idea for a story called BLEACH. It was about a fifteen year old, high school student named Ichigo Kurosaki who went from the distant kid who could see spirits, to a powerful shinigami known and respected by everyone in a place called the Soul Society. It was a tale of friendship, determination, hard work, and even humor.

She gently turned the pages of the first arc. It was the first story of many; three or four parts at least. This one nearly three hundred pages of computer paper and two ink cartages. And from here, the stories would only get longer.

Rukia had been proud of her work. She had planned everything out. And in the end, she had received letter after letter, saying it just wasn't good enough.

"What could be wrong with it?" she asked herself.

She came to a part in the story when the character Rukia Kuchiki (her vocabulary of names wasn't very large so she had used people that she knew for all of her characters, Orihime, Ishida, and herself included), the Soul Reaper that had lent Ichigo her powers, had gone back to the Soul Society to receive the punishment she deserved; after all, she had broken many of the Soul Society's laws.

Rukia ignored the red markings and stood up. She held the story out from her face and read out loud:

"Wait, Rukia!! Stop, look at me!! Is this some kind of a joke!? HEY!!" He tried standing yet a voice stopped him.

"DON'T MOVE!" He heard Rukia yell, though she still wouldn't face him.

Ichigo gasped slightly, the pupils of his eyes widened a bit.

"Take even one step," she told him. "Or try to come after me…and I'll—I'll!! I will never ever forgive you!" She had turned around at that point and was now staring at him, her eyes brimming with tears; obvious guilt was there.

"You are going to die," she cried. "So why not stay put and live a few seconds longer?"

She turned away from him once again. His mouth was slightly agape.

"Alright," her brother said. "I will not inflict the final blow. With my two attacks against him, I have shattered his soul chain. There is no point in finishing him off. He should die in less than an hour."

Ichigo heard Rukia wince.

"Even if he does survive this attack, all his powers will be lost; both his special shinigami powers as well as his spiritual energy." He paused. "Renji?"

"Yes." Renji got up, his foot finally leaving Ichigo's back. He walked past Rukia and Rukia's brother and stuck his zanpakuto in the thin air. He turned it and Ichigo faintly heard something that sounded like a door unlocking and Renji yelling "Now, open!"

Ichigo saw something then. A bright light flashed before him and he saw a door.

Three hell butterflies flew out of the light.

Renji went in first.

And then Rukia's brother.

And last, Rukia.

Ichigo watched her go feeling a sense of shame. She had saved his life twice now, for what? Too go face some punishment? And he couldn't do anything.

It started raining then.

I can't speak, Ichigo thought wearily. I can't move!

Rukia reached the doors, Ichigo guessed went back to the Soul Society. The doors started closing. Just before they closed completely, Rukia glanced back. Ichigo saw her violet eyes, full of pain and regret.

And the doors closed and disappeared.

Ichigo lay there, cold and wet, crimson liquid spilling from the three wounds he had received.

And he only wished he could bring her back.

The rain continued to pour.

Rukia had tears filling her eyes. Though it was her own writing, the image crafted in her mind was so real that she could almost feel it. Like she could feel the rain and regret and sorrow filled her own eyes, just as they had filled Rukia's in her story.

And then something happened. The paper she held in her fingers became hot, like it was on fire. She dropped it on the ground and bent down curiously, seeing what was wrong.

The pages turned themselves to the page she was just at. Chapter Seventeen: when Rukia leaves Karakura town.

There was a bright flash of light and Rukia backed away from the book. Her thigh reached the couch and she nearly fell over backwards. Her violet eyes were wide as she felt fear run through her veins. What happened? What the hell was going on?

There were spirits, she could see them. They were huge, mask bearing spirits that looked like monsters. They flew out of the story and into her apartment. They seeped through the ceiling and the walls, going out into the night.

And then the light disappeared. Rukia was wide eyed. She looked around and saw someone, not a monster, a person in a black robe. He had a sword the length of his back and…orange hair

Rukia gasped. The fictional character, Ichigo, she had created by her own imagination. It was the only character in the whole book that she didn't base off a real person. And the man standing in front of her looked just like the Strawberry she had imagined.

Rukia felt herself shaking. She wasn't sure what to do.

The man that looked a lot like the man that Rukia had pictured was breathing deeply, his hands and knees pressed up against the ground. She noticed sweat on the back of his neck. He must be tired.

What had happened?

How did this happen?

One minute she was reading and the next…Ichigo or a man that looked a lot like him, came out of the book along with monsters that looked a lot like hollows.

The orange haired man finally started to stand; Rukia was still frozen up against the back of the couch. She couldn't seem to make herself move. She kept trying to tell herself, yet her legs didn't seem to be working.

He got up and studied his surroundings. He examined every detail of the room: her kitchen, couch, ceiling, floor, that damn scowl still evident on his face. Rukia's eyes widened when he looked at her.

And his eyes widened too.

"…Ru—Rukia?"


A/N: Alright, so here's my first attempt at an IchiRuki serious-romance-angsty story. Not much happens here in this first chapter, but please give my story a chance!!

That wasn't that bad was it? Please tell me!


Chapter Preview:

"Rukia!" the man said relief overcame his confusion. "Rukia, I thought Renji and your brother had taken you back to the Soul Society. I came to save you!"