Okay! Hehehe. So I got positive reviews for NEVER just minutes after posting it and it made me VERY happy. Unfortunately, Never was just a one-shot, it will NOT have another chapter. In fact, I didn't plan on even thinking about a sequel or side-story. Until I realized, I didn't show how Rukia stayed behind for Ichigo – if ever she really did.
Thus, the idea for Forever. How Rukia comes to the decision to leave everything after realizing that taming Ichigo's hollow would take more than a month or a year. Poor girl's been blinded by the only man she could trust; makes you wonder what'll happen first: Ichigo being found out or Rukia going completely mental?
Summary: Love was just as capable of causing pain. Rukia is determined to save Ichigo from her mistakes even at the cost of her sanity and soul. Unfortunately, the rescuer IS the one on need of rescuing. A companion fic to Never
Every time he was in pain, Rukia could feel anguish and agony wreck her body. With each time Ichigo waged a war within himself, Rukia could feel a part of her die a painful yet slow death.
His screams flaked her skin, cutting her, bleeding her dry. At night, when he lay there, twitching occasionally from of his inner war, Rukia could feel her nerves grate against each other, tension coiling tightly in her.
How much more would it take until she broke down completely?
Carefully, she wiped the sweat on his brow. Slowly, she focused on her reiatsu and allowed it to wash over him, letting its warmth seep into the coldness in his heart. From their position on Ichigo's bed, the moonlight washed over them in its silver beam, a moment of comfort for Rukia in this troubling night.
It came out again. Ichigo's hollow. The moment it manifested, Rukia's heart leapt in fear. Would it destroy and kill this time? Two nights ago, they were still on a lucky streak; Ichigo seemed to have substantial control to prevent the hollow from killing anyone – even hurting her and their friends who came out to assist.
As Rukia continued to calm Ichigo with her presence, her thoughts flew to what happened earlier.
Inoue stood behind her, crying silently as she gripped the sleeves of her dress.
Chad was busy pushing the debris away from the street, his movements controlled and tensed.
Mizuiro and Keigo stood gaping as they looked at the trembling form of Ichigo – HER Ichigo (he finally succeeded in pushing the hollow away after 3 hours of chasing her, brandishing Zangetsu menacingly; taunting her verbally on what he'd do to her when he catches her). They were unable to believe that Ichigo would dare hurt Rukia (It wasn't him, she shouted angrily. You idiots don't know the difference between a hollow and Ichigo? How dare you call yourselves his friends?).
Tatsuki was the one farthest, still unable to comprehend the monster that was threatening her oldest friend. She believed with her whole heart that Ichigo was strong, but the recent events made her wonder about how much she knew about him.
Rukia did not need to hear it, that Tatsuki was blaming her for Ichigo's pain. It was her fault after all.
But there was one person who she knew hated her the most.
The Quincy never said anything, not a crass word or complaint. He just stood there, his bow drawn and at the ready. An arrow pointing at Ichigo, set to destroy him the moment he was unable to contain the hollow successfully.
Ishida was forced to bring down his nakama should he be a threat to the town. It was a promise that Ichigo extracted from him three years ago, when he almost failed to suppress the hollow within that returned with a vengeance. He might have not acknowledged their friendship, but ultimately, he was the one Ichigo trusted the most to kill him, to spare Rukia from the pain of hurting the man she loved.
Yes, Ishida hates the shinigami, particularly a weak representative and a heartless shinigami bitch.
Rukia can never atone for her crimes, she knows this. Her cockiness and misplaced confidence in Ichigo's strength was the cause of his downfall. It was a mistake to focus too much on the future that she failed to be there for him in the present.
Foolish woman, she berates herself, you dream too much; see what those worthless imaginings cost Ichigo.
Beside her, Ichigo is stirring, bringing her out of her useless reverie. "Rukia." He whispers brokenly that she feels her whole being crumble at his defeat. "Did I hurt you?" Even now, he looks out for her, and what does she repay him with?
"I'm fine Ichigo, so were everyone." She says simply.
His hand comes up to touch her cheek in reverence. "I'm glad."
He loved her. He loves her. He will forever love her. She had been twisting the knife in his back all along.
Rukia smiles. "Inoue has already healed your wounds, my kidou finished treating your muscles; you'll feel fine in a moment."
Ichigo nods, but he has a faraway look in his eyes. Those eyes are sad and tired.
"I'm sorry." She mumbles heavily.
"For what?" he askes, confused.
"For this; for causing your –
Ichigo lifts both hands to hold the sides of her face. "No one, most especially me, blames you Rukia. I was simply weak."
Unbidden, tears fall from Rukia's eyes. It has been long, far too long since she cried and her throat feels raw and burning from all the unshed tears.
"Idiot." She murmurs, kissing Ichigo's palm.
He smiles. "Rukia. Please, if anything happens to you… maybe if you just returned –
"Fool!" she hisses angrily, her eyes burning with emotion. "Don't you dare push me aside!"
Ichigo opens his mouth as if to say something. But he closes it again and just nods.
Rukia wipes the tears from her eyes. She touches his face for a while. Then she draws back slightly.
She loved him. She loves him. She will forever love him. Rukia knows she would do anything for Ichigo, even if it costs her own soul.
"Rukia?" Ichigo asks worriedly.
"Lie still you idiot." She says softly. "You're too tense… let me…" Slowly she shrugs out of the coat she wears on her gigai. The soft material falls without a sound.
Ichigo looks at her as she stands up beside him. "Rukia."
Slowly, she unbuttons the front of her dress. "You need to relax you fool, or you won't control your reiatsu." She tells him, a hint of a smile gracing her lips.
The blue dress pools to the floor. This was soon followed by her undergarments.
"You're not… you're not leaving me after, are you?" Ichigo asks hesitantly.
Inwardly, Rukia winces. The last trick she used to get away from him ten years ago made him this worried about intimacy between them. Every time they indulged in their lovemaking, Ichigo would hold her tightly, short of binding her with kidou so she could not get away from him. For the past month, he would insist on trying to stay inside her for as long as he could, holding her tightly, and wrapping his legs and arms around her as he slept; all in fear that she would disappear when he opened his eyes again.
She had hurt him far too much.
Rukia straddles him and leans to touch her lips with his. "Ichigo, you fool." She says against his parted lips. "You have all of me. Take me now and don't let me go."
Finally, Ichigo's hands come to life, touching and caressing every inch of her that he can while she stayed like that, leaning over him, her hair falling like a curtain of black silk around his face. He lifts her hair to the side so he could look into her eyes, gauging the emotions in those dark pools that he would gladly drown into.
I am so sorry for hurting you, Ichigo she says silently as his hands trail a path of molten fire down her back.
I am sorry for leaving you, Ichigo she murmurs in her head as his fingers ghost over her face, down to her neck… her breasts.
She stifles a gasp as the first waves of pleasure flow and hit her.
As if testing a prosthetic limb, Ichigo uses his forearms to brace himself as he rose to meet his lips with hers.
I am sorry for trying to be too strong and noble she whimpers silently as he then nips at the sensitive part of her neck hesitantly, like this was the first time between them.
"I love you." She hears him moan over her skin.
I love you her heart sighs. "You have me, Ichigo." She says, letting him finally have the words he wants to hear. "I will love you forever. You will have me, own me, forever."
Ichigo's eyes snap open and he looks at her eyes directly.
Rukia sees the fire. The all-consuming, branding, and scorching flame that she always associates with Ichigo. For a moment, she feels that she would be eaten wholly by it; that he will burn her soul until she becomes nothing but a shell of her old self.
But this is Ichigo, she chides herself, there is nothing that she should feel threatened about.
This is Ichigo and he loves her.
This is Ichigo and he will always protect her, never hurt her.
This is Ichigo… and he has never been, never is, and never will be evil.
Rukia feels herself smile at him, her eyes shining. She will always be safe in his arms. "Forever, Ichigo."
Suddenly, she finds their positions reversed; she was now lying on her back and it is now him who looms over her.
His hands touch her face gently, as if she were a piece of china. "I will never let you go, Rukia." Ichigo promises heatedly, as he brings himself down to her.
Yes, Rukia muses distractedly as she reels from the pleasure of his intimate assault, the idea of forever could be a good thing.
Later, as Rukia goes afloat in the world of her dreams, she sleeps peacefully; unaware of how the light of triumph flares in Ichigo's eyes and his lips curves into a cruel parody of his hollow's sardonic smirk.
- The End.