Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any Bleach affiliates.
(A/N: Sniffle, sniffle… my god, I can't believe this story is over. It seems like only yesterday that I first began to type. Sniffle… and now my baby is all grown up! Okay, sentimentality over. Tell me what you think about the epilogue, is it cute or just plain cruel? Hehehee… maybe both?
I want to thank everyone who ever reviewed my fic. Thank you so much. I really appreciate every single word that is posted in response to a chapter. You really have no idea how much they mean to me. Thank you so much.
Also, sorry to those who reviewed for the last chapter but didn't get a response. I—once again—accidentally deleted them. I'm such a technophobe, seriously.
Anyway, here's the last chapter. PLEASE REVIEW!!
Ichigo's tongue slithered into Rukia's mouth and he delighted in the small moan that immediately came from her throat. She surged back into him just as forcefully and wrapped her tongue around his. They battled each other for a few moments before Ichigo's wandering hand reached up to cup her breast. Rukia's fingers tightened around his neck and she smiled into the kiss. She could feel herself growing heated as his skilled fingers toyed with her through her shirt and she instantly felt like fucking him.
There was a cough from the backseat. The couple broke their hot kiss and glared into the back of the car. "What?" Ichigo asked rudely, his thumb brushing the side of Rukia's face.
The thirty year old drug addict who was found living in his mother's basement blushed in the backseat. He rubbed his chubby and sweaty hands over each other and wiggled his chin. "A-Are you two a-allowed to do that?"
Ichigo's wife snarled at the man, "Of course we can, we're married." She turned back to her husband and kissed him chastely on the cheek. "And if we happen to arrest someone a bit earlier than expected…"
Ichigo snickered softly and kissed the sides of her face. "Are you thinking medical examiner's office at three?"
Rukia quirked up her eyebrow. "Of course, Orihime and Ishida have wedding plans to look over so they're a bit… distracted." She pecked at his lips once again before shifting back into his seat and rubbing her hand against his. She grinned slyly and Ichigo started the car.
"Oh, and by the way," Ichigo's voice boomed to the man sitting in the seat behind them. "You mention this to anyone…" he turned his head to glare threateningly at the fat bastard as they drove from the street; his amber eyes a wickedly dark shade. "And I will personally visit you in jail."
The man gulped and nodded jerkily, his fat head wobbled amusingly and Rukia had to bite back a laugh.
Ichigo's hand was steady on the wheel as he drove, occasionally shifting his eyes from the road to his wife sitting in the adjacent seat. His other hand was clasped around hers. Damn, he loved driving while she was beside him. Her hand was always inside of his, always reminding him or how much she loved him. Ichigo felt a familiar feeling of warmth bubble in his chest. Damn, he couldn't believe it was going to be three years in only a few months. Almost three whole years. Three years of arguments, make-up sex—lots and lots of fucking unbelievable make-up sex—passion, murder suspects, love, arresting people, violence, and everything else that comprised, well, marriage.
Not to mention they worked together everyday. Granted, it did go against police policy to have them working as partners when they were married, but then again, Zaraki Kenpachi wasn't exactly the most conventional of bosses.
Kenpachi pulled his chair back and growled softly. He was eyeing the two rumpled and satiated detectives before him. They had been gone for two weeks on some type of a honeymoon but Kenpachi didn't know where they had gone—hell, knowing them they probably didn't go anywhere and simply confined themselves to one of their apartments. He rolled his eye anyway and leaned back in the chair.
"Listen," he muttered, raising his hand and pointing a gnarled finger at the two of them, "I know that you two are… married and all," he spat the word with disgust. "But if you think that you can stop slacking off on the job you are sorely mistaken."
Kenpachi eyed Ichigo's hand as Rukia's slipped hers into it. He felt like puking on the inside. He glared at them again, "You know that the regulations state I need to get you new partners."
Both of their mouths opened immediately to protest but Kenpachi cut them off. "But!" They shut their mouths. "But… since Kuchiki decided—in a fit of feminist anger—to keep her last name, the paperwork won't really show that you two are married, well, to each other, at least."
Broad grins appeared on both of their faces and they shot each other gleeful looks.
Kenpachi knew he was going to throw up now. "Just make sure that if the police commissioner comes you two don't act as sickening as you usually do."
Rukia leaned on Ichigo and laughed softly, "Sure… we can do that."
Kenpachi knew he needed to get them out of there before he dove for his trashcan. "Also, don't forget that you two have to be professional on the job. I'm serious—one of you gets shot and the other needs to go after the perp, not for the wounded significant other."
Ichigo let out a small laugh—damn, Kenpachi thought, that was the first time I've heard him laugh out of, well… happiness—and nudged Rukia. "I swear Rukia, if you ever get shot or hurt in the field I'll kill you."
She looked up at him lovingly, "Same goes for you."
Kenpachi could feel the bile building up in his throat. "Okay, enough sentiment. Now get out."
They left and Kenpachi ran to the bathroom.
Ichigo's eyes flicked to her and he smiled again. So far neither of them had had to kill each other. Ichigo was always there to protect her and she was always there to watch his back. They worked well together and as a team had cleared hundreds of cases over the past couple of years. And while they were supposed to be keeping their marriage on the down low everyone who had half a brain knew about it. They were always kissing each other in the copy room or brushing their legs against one another under their conjoined desk—Rukia still had not gotten her own desk nor had she ever asked for one. Anyone could see that they loved each other more than anything else in the world. A couple of people had teased them about it for a couple of months but their quips went on deaf ears. Rukia and Ichigo were too absorbed in each other to notice anyone else.
Rukia sighed softly and lifted his hand to her mouth. She turned his palm over and pressed a tiny kiss to each callused fingertip. He could feel his body shuddering and heard the man in the backseat gagging. He grinned at his wife and nodded suggestively. "When we get off tonight… I swear to God you are going to be out of those clothes faster thank you can blink."
The man behind them wretched in the back of his throat and turned his head away.
Rukia glared at him, "Hey, just because you're not getting any doesn't mean the rest of us need to be abstinent."
The pale man puckered his lips in indignation and crossed his arms over his pudgy chest. "I've had sex before!" He huffed angrily.
Ichigo rolled his eyes and shook his head, "Yeah… and I'm the Virgin Mary."
"Well I have!" He repeated, his squeaky voice rising just a bit. "Just because I'm not married doesn't mean—"
The scratchy voice over the intercom interrupted the fat man in the back. Ichigo and Rukia's attention immediately went towards the radio: "Ten four, ten four, we have a hostage situation at a local nursery. All available units comply."
Ichigo's wife gave him terse look before picking up the radio, "Kuchiki here, what's your location?"
"Corner of Tamaji and Seika."
Rukia's brow furrowed as Ichigo turned the car around and went in the specified direction. "Alright," he heard her say. "Well be there in two."
She sighed softly and flipped on the siren. Ichigo pressed his foot harder on the gas and tightened his hand over his wife's. She squeezed his fingers reassuringly and smiled at him before turning to the man in the back, "Now just sit there and be nice and quiet. We're going to take a little detour." She turned back to the front seat and ignored the man's protests.
After a few moments of furious driving Ichigo pulled her hand up and kissed the back of it. "You get shot or die," he muttered darkly as he glanced at her, "I'll kill you."
She smirked at the ritualized threat and tightened her seatbelt a bit. "Same goes for you."
He nodded tersely and sped up again.
Tamaji Street and Seika Street were located in a relatively safe part of town. There had been no real malicious activity in those parts—other than a few loitering charges—so it was no surprise that the place was now a beehive for young, prospective parents and their children. Rukia and Ichigo stepped out of the car, careful to lock it behind them, and moved towards the bustle of cops in front of them.
"Hey," Ichigo came forward and walked directly into the fray. "What's going on?"
"Hostage situation," said a street cop nearest to them. "The woman inside, the owner of the nursery here, is holding a client's child hostage."
Rukia appeared near Ichigo's elbow. "Any reason why?"
The cop looked down at her and shrugged, "She's been saying that she's the kids' mother."
"What's her name?" Rukia asked.
"Rana Kishina." He sighed and shook his head. "We tried to talk her down but she's been in there for a while and won't seem to listen to us."
Rukia's brow furrowed and she glanced around the entire mêlée of cops. She turned back to the uniform and scowled, "That's because everyone here has testicles." She grumbled then wrinkled her nose. "Get me a bulletproof vest."
Ichigo's eyes widened significantly and he swiveled his head towards her, "No." He said shortly before looking back at the cop, "Don't get it."
Rukia jabbed her elbow into her husband's side, he grunted and she told the slightly scared cop to go and get her a vest.
"Rukia…" Ichigo wheezed, rubbing his side distastefully. "You're not going in there."
A bulletproof vest was tossed in her direction and she caught it before her husband could. He tried to grab it from her but she jumped nimbly out of his reach. She slipped her arms through it and had the Velcro attached before Ichigo could utter another word.
"Rukia…" he growled, coming towards her threateningly.
She stood her ground and took off her holster and gun. For a moment, her hands brushed overtop of her stomach, paused, and then tried to yank the vest down a bit further. Her eyes stayed there for a moment before looking up at her husband and scowling. "Come on Ichigo, no man here is going to know what that woman is going through." She tossed him her firearms and he caught them deftly.
"Well, you don't know what she's going through either." He shot back and tried to take off the vest. She slapped his hands away and kicked him in the shin.
"I might not know know what she's going through but at least I have a similar set of chromosomes. Your 'Y' allele makes it that much harder for her to talk to you."
A dumbfounded look crossed Ichigo's face and he scowled at his wife. "You are not going in there."
She defiantly stared him down. He still, after nearly three freaking years of marriage, had no idea how she could be so short yet look down on him as if he were some sort of peasant. "Watch me." She said defiantly before grabbing the collar of his shirt and yanking his head down into a quick kiss. She pushed him back after only a few seconds and barreled towards the building. "Watch it," she called, "Going into negotiate."
Ichigo cursed dirtily and followed her quickly. "Going in as backup." He snarled as he pushed past the uniforms to get to his wife.
She shot him a dirty look over her shoulder, "You will not be seen. You're hair is ostentatious enough that it might scare the poor woman even."
"Just don't get yourself shot." He sniped as they opened the door to the main building and walked quickly inside. The entire facility—about three stories high—was completely empty, well, except for the room currently occupied with hostages. They strode briskly to the room and stopped when they came before the door, a couple of uniforms had followed them to keep order but the detectives ignored them.
"Little Totters Daycare." Rukia read musingly. She turned to her husband and faked a small and nervous laugh. "What the hell is a totter?"
He shook his head but didn't say anything. His heart twisted painfully as he watched his wife draw in a deep, cleansing, breath and exhaled slowly. She smoothed her hands over her bulletproof vest and she once again tugged it down. Ichigo's chest twanged and he spontaneously bent to kiss her on the cheek. She smiled at him and then turned to knock on the door.
"GO AWAY!" The woman screamed. The two of them could hear children bawling on the inside. Ichigo drew in a raggedy breathe and immediately wished his wife was not going in there.
Rukia cleared her throat, "Rana? Rana, my name is Rukia Kuchiki and I'm a police officer. I'm going to come inside now, alright? I'm not armed. I just want to talk to you." She turned the knob just a bit and opened the door slightly. The woman inside shrieked at her to close it but Rukia didn't comply, she simply set her jaw and pushed the thing out further.
"Rana?" Rukia murmured softly, "Rana? I'm coming in, okay? I'm not armed."
Her body sidled through the rest of the door and Ichigo stood on the outside, his tense body hidden by the wall. The only thing he could do right now was listen.
Rukia didn't close the door behind her but kept it open far enough so Ichigo could hear. She knew that he would need some type of reassurance if he was going to sit outside and listen to her confront a woman holding the tiny hostages at gunpoint.
"Rana," she said quietly. She looked up and had to force herself not to swallow noisily.
The woman before her looked a bit older than she was, possibly in her mid to late thirties. She would have looked attractive if she didn't appear to be on the verge of a mental breakdown. Her hair was mussed completely, the blonde strands falling every which-way until they covered bits of her face. Mascara from her eyes was running in rivers of tears down her cheeks. Her face was red and splotchy. Her hands were shaking. Her clothes were rumpled… and she was holding what seemed to be a three year old little girl in her right arm. To Rukia's surprise, the child seemed to be resting quite peacefully; she at least seemed a bit content. Everything would have been fine had she not noticed the gun clasped tightly in Rana Kishina's hand—the hand supporting the little girl.
"Rana," Rukia murmured, coming forward just a bit, but not so far as to scare her off. The woman's fearful eyes were glued to hers. Her body was coiled tightly, as if at any moment she might fly completely off the handle. "Hi… my name is Rukia… I want to help you."
The woman's jaw quivered and her grip on the girl tightened. "No… no… you're not here to help me. No one's here to help me."
"That's not true, Rana, that's not true. You can trust me." Rukia said in the most soothing voice she could muster. Frightened children were peering at her from different corners of the room. She could see luminous eyes as they permeated the fabric of her clothing and seeped into her heart. Christ… something about seeing all of these kids…
"You're here to take her, aren't you?" Rana cried desperately, her arms tightened around the girl. "You're going to take her back to her parents, aren't you?" She spat the word 'parents' as if it were a curse.
Rukia shook her head, the queasy feeling in her stomach growing exponentially. She had to blink a few times to refocus on her target. "Rana, I thought that you were the child's mother." Rukia paused and inclined her head towards the little girl. "Is that her?"
Rana's head nodded jerkily. "Yes… yes… this is m-my… my Reikio. Mine."
Rukia nodded and took another slow step forward. "Then why are we here, Rana?"
The woman's bottom lip quivered. "This little girl… this, precious, baby girl…" she looked up at Rukia with tears shining in her eyes. "I was the one who carried her in my stomach for nine months. I kept her alive inside of me. I carried her and loved her all that time…"
The pieces of the puzzle began to click in Rukia's mind. "You were a surrogate mother. She isn't genetically yours."
"But she is mine!" Rana shrieked, causing the little girl to wince and cover her ears. The gun trembled in her fingers and was tilted just a bit so as to be in range of Rukia's legs and stomach. Fear shot through the female detective but she swallowed it desperately.
"R-Rana," Christ, she couldn't stutter at a time like this… "You were the one who loved this child the most… why, why are you risking hurting her if you love her so much?"
Relief washed over Rukia as the temperamental woman began to lower the firearm. "It wasn't me who is hurting her." She whispered. "Her parents send her to this day care because they know that I'll take care of her! That I'll love her like my own, and I do! I love her so much!"
Rukia nodded sympathetically and allowed her to continue. "But three weeks ago she came in with bruises." Rana's eyes took on a dark shade of anger and she clutched the girl tighter until she squeaked. "I've seen bruises like that before and I know what they mean! I know! They were hurting her and when I told them to stop they told me to shove it! That it was their child and I shouldn't be interfering in affairs that I didn't understand."
"Rana…" Rukia whispered. "I understand. I know what you're going through." She took another step forward and placed a hand over her heart.
"How could you possibly know?" Rana spat. "You look like you don't have any children. You're too busy or too tired or too professional to have them. No… you don't know anything!" The gun came up another couple of inches and Rukia's heart raced a bit faster.
"Rana," Rukia said clearly, her voice louder than it had been previously. "Rana, listen to me, I am going to go through exactly what you went through."
Rana's eyebrows furrowed and the gun came down a bit more. "W-What do you mean?"
Another step. "What I mean, Rana, is that I am eight weeks pregnant." Another step. "And you know what?" Rukia smiled softly even though her heart was racing with fear and her brows were furrowed in worry, "I haven't even told my husband yet."
"I mean, Rana, that I am eight weeks pregnant. And you know what? I haven't even told my husband yet." Her voice was soothing and calm but as the words entered Ichigo's brain he didn't notice anything about the tone. Only the content.
Ichigo's mind went blank. His eyes widened in total horror. His stomach shriveled into a pile of nothingness. His heart began to beat erratically. The cops standing beside him gave him strange looks but he didn't notice them.
"Oh. My. God…" He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't fucking breathe.
In that room.
With a crazed woman.
Holding a gun.
Ichigo could never have been more terrified than he was right now.
She came forward again and grasped her hand around Rana's wrist. Her voice was soft and sincere and she spoke with the type of feeling only a mother could use. "Rana, you love this child more than life itself. I know that with the help of some of my friends we could fight her case and get her released to you… within a reasonable amount of time. But please… I know and you know that these children, the one in your arms and the one growing inside of me, means more to us than anything in the world. You wouldn't want to do anything that would harm them in any way. Am I right?"
Rana was quiet for a minute, her hand was slack around the gun and Rukia pulled it effortlessly from her hand. Strangely enough, the firearm felt extremely light. Rukia glanced down at it momentarily and found out that it wasn't even loaded. Rana's breathing was becoming a bit more normal and Rukia smiled at her as she patted the woman on the shoulder and murmured, "Come on. I need to take you to the police station."
Rana's eyes went wide and she clutched Reikio tighter. "But… but… R-Reikio."
Rukia nodded, "I'll have someone I know from Child Services take care of her. She's very nice and will make her comfortable. She won't go back to her parents for now."
Rana's face relaxed and she nodded. Slowly, she slid the little girl from her arms and allowed her to grasp her hand. The woman sniffled and tried to smile at the tiny girl. "Come on sweetie, Auntie Rana has to go now, but I'll be back to take care of you soon."
The little girl gave her a toothy grin and nodded playfully. She popped her thumb in her mouth and grasped tightly to her "Auntie's" hand as Rukia led her out to the police. Rukia couldn't believe that the girl hadn't even been afraid while Rukia had tried to talk Rana out of doing something stupid.
Rukia opened the door to the nursery and led Rana and Reikio out quietly. She jerked her thumb to the inside and immediately a couple of uniforms went in to grab the rest of the frightened children. Rukia scoffed as they came out. Sure, those ones were scared… but the one who had actually been kidnapped didn't blink an eye.
She exhaled as Rana and Reikio were led away and gave specific instructions to the cop who took away the little girl; he nodded and gave her a thumbs up sign before asking Reikio if she wanted to play with the siren in his car.
Finally, the room filtered out and the only two people left were Rukia and Ichigo.
She still hadn't looked at him since she had gone inside. Damn, she felt all nervous again. She rarely ever felt nervous around Ichigo anymore, why did the damn butterflies have to start now?
He cleared his throat quietly and she gulped.
"So… when you had the flu a while ago and, um, you were throwing up all the time…?" He began in a whispering voice.
"Yeah." She admitted sullenly. "Yeah, back… then."
There was a small pause. He took another step forward. "When were you going to tell me?"
Rukia exhaled and started to take off the bulletproof vest. "I…" she began, trying to find the right words. "I'm… not sure actually." She shook her head and sighed again. "I guess when I got up the courage to."
Another step. "Rukia Kuchiki not having courage?" He laughed softly, his voice changing from a tone of uncertainty to one of warmth and love. "That's something I find hard to believe."
She looked up at him and a weak smile appeared on her lips. "You're not mad?" She whispered, her hand running down her stomach to feel the tiny bump resting there.
A choking sound came from Ichigo's throat and he snorted, "Mad? Of course I'm mad! Mad as hell!" He stepped forward and pulled his tiny wife into a fierce hug. She was about to push against him when she felt his entire body trembling. Uncertainty clouded over her mind as she soothed his back slowly. "Rukia…" he whispered into her hair. "Fuck, Rukia… you just went into a hostage situation where you could have been shot and you're pregnant. Pregnant! Damn it Rukia, I swear to God when you said what you said I thought I was going to have a heart attack." He laughed nervously and hugged her tighter. "Jesus… don't ever make me that scared again."
Rukia's throat bubbled over in a tiny laugh and she gripped her husband just as tight. "I promise." There was silence for a few moments. Husband and wife held each other tightly and simply breathed together.
Ichigo was rubbing Rukia's back and she sighed, "Ichigo… are we ready for this?"
He pulled away from her gradually; his hands seemed reluctant to leave her body. His wife looked up into his eyes and within those violet orbs he saw fear, uncertainty, and hope. Slowly, he unraveled the frown lines from his face and smiled warmly. He could see the relief that washed over Rukia's features the moment his face changed.
"Can I touch your stomach?" He murmured softly, bending forward to kiss his wife's head.
She choked a bit and nodded against his lips. For some reason, she seemed to be crying. Ichigo just smiled at her and wiped away her tears with his thumbs. "Hey… no crying, okay? I hate it when you do that."
She sniffed and nodded her head. Her eyes were on Ichigo as he slowly bent down so he was resting on his knees. Slowly, his hands moved overtop of Rukia's entire stomach, first up high and then down lower to where he could feel the slight bump resting beneath her clothing. He sucked in a breath and immediately felt the most intense sensation of love and devotion sweep over his entire being.
Rukia was watching him anxiously, her body taunt, waiting for some type of reply.
Ichigo simply stared at her stomach. This is ours. He thought incredulously. We made this… ours.
He looked up at Rukia and grinned. "Oh yeah. We're ready."
Her voice broke into a tiny laugh and Ichigo surged up. He grasped his wife in his arms and lifted her off of her feet, swirling her in the air in the process. "Oh, God Rukia… I'm so happy!" He laughed as he set her gently down.
"So am I, Ichigo," she turned to him and smiled with watery eyes.
His face went from smiling to frowning in less than an second as they started to walk towards the door. "But of course you won't be going in the field anymore."
She glared at him and continued walking. "I'm not a glass ornament that's going to break, Ichigo."
"And you're going to go on maternity leave."
"I am not!"
"And we'll have to pick a name."
"Buy a bigger house."
"What's wrong with ours now?"
"And we'll have to start a college fund."
"Getting a little ahead of ourselves are we?" Rukia snickered at him softly as she wrapped her hand in his. "Let's just get through these next couple of months." She looked up at her husband. "Because I swear, if you treat me like some sort of melting ice sculpture I'm going to make sure my hormones make you miserable. Okay?"
Ichigo grinned down at her and bent to kiss her lips. He lingered softly for a few moments before releasing her. She looked dizzy and happy and content as she walked beside him.
He squeezed her hand softly and nodded, "Okay."