A/N: Just to help you guys understand, present time is when Inoue is healing Rukia after Grimmjow nearly kills her and the other moments are part of Inoue's thoughts. Also, the beautiful YuyuKawai had taken the time to translate this to Spanish. If ya want, go to her profile and read there!

Disclaimer: I don't own!

Hope you guys enjoy it! I really doubt you will though... might be depressing and crappy. BUT DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT!

Ahh, just read!

"--" Transition from present time to thoughts about past.

--

Kuchiki-san is so severely hurt. Her robes are drenched in so much blood that I'm so close to throwing up and fainting. The gaping hole that went through her didn't help relieve my stomach at all.

I was so tired from healing the others; Hitsugaya-kun took a lot out of me, yet when I saw Rangiku-san running madly towards me with Kurosaki-kun hot on her trail, my energy boosted up again. 'Kurosaki-kun's hurt, and I can fix it,' was all I thought.

I am so selfish.

I didn't even notice Kuchiki-san until I heard the rash boy muttering, "Rukia. I couldn't protect Rukia. Oh God, she's gunna die..."

Suddenly, I wasn't so pumped up anymore.

--

I've crushed on Kurosaki-kun for the longest time. I wished endlessly for him to notice me, talk to me and acknowledge me for more than just a classmate. After years of rehearsing how to approach the orange haired teen, my wish was finally granted. He actually looks at me now. He greets me and I know we're friends. But that doesn't satisfy me anymore.

I love how he gets riled up to protect his friends. How he gets riled up to protect me, but I know that this level of security isn't enough. By the time we reached Soul Society, broke into Seretei and met again after his fight with Kuchiki-san's brother, I had developed a new wish: Mean more to Kurosaki-kun.

When our group arrived home (Kuchiki-san not present), the truth struck me.

I love him.

A while after that revelation, I created a to-do-list for strengthening our nearly non-existent bond. Eventually that list became a life plan for us. Every day, I would add on a new event.

"Have Kurosaki-kun carry me home when I eat too much bean paste ramen and can't walk".

"Have a picnic with Kurosaki-kun".

Somehow even, "Marry Kurosaki-kun".

When I actually stopped and looked at my list, it was too late. I was obsessed with him, and it was obvious. I ended up crying at my pathetic behavior and spending the night curled up in a ball in front of my brother's shrine. That night, I dreamed of Kurosaki-kun. I couldn't get him out of my head, or my heart.

Fortunately, I woke up the next morning feeling that since we were now friends, my chances with him weren't so far off after all. The hope felt good.

The attack from the two arrancars later that day made my heart jump even more. But quickly, that joy turned into guilt. Kurosaki-kun was hurting on account of me, and as flattered and flustered as I felt, it hurt to see him in pain. He looked so helpless that it brought tears to my eyes just by looking at him.

I refused his apologies, not wanting to take in more from his broken state.

--

Oh, look. Kurosaki-kun is broken again. But this time, in the account of Kuchiki Rukia. I try to focus on healing her, but I can't help notice the look in his eyes. His shadowed eyes were shining with guilt, care and fear of loss. His eyes made it evident that this affected him more than anything.

Affected him more than when I was in Kuchiki Rukia's situation.

He loves her.

--

When I was capable enough to attend school again, the defeated look in his eyes were still there. I plastered my usual cheery face over my crying heart. Why couldn't I be strong and protect myself? Why couldn't I protect Sado-kun and Tatsuki-chan? Why couldn't I protect him?

Then he said my name. I always get giddy whenever he does, yet when I turned around, the happiness turned into sadness. I knew Kurosaki-kun was going to apologize again and I ran out before he had a chance to.

His voice was still broken.

My feet lead me outside. When I stopped running, my eyelashes were wet and my legs shook along with my feelings. I leaned on the railing by me and my mind drifted off to him again. And from him, my thoughts led to Kuchiki-san.

I clenched the railing and shut my eyes. I know that Kuchiki-san was just about as noble as Kurosaki-kun. I know that if I were to get hurt, she'd act so motherly that I'd feel like I was not the orphan I really was. What made me cry, however, was the fact that while we see each other as friends, I also look to her as a rival. A rival for Kurosaki-kun's heart, and she's winning.

We had no idea if we'd ever see her again, or if we would even receive some sort of word from her, yet she still managed to keep his heart in her hand.

I may be naive, but I'm not blind. I remember the way Kurosaki-kun would look at her with longing. How he said her name with deep tenderness. His tone would always shield it, but when you're as in love as I am, you could hear beyond that.

Their comfort when near the other was undeniable. I can recall the many times Rukia would leap onto Kurosaki-kun's back or he would lean down for her to climb on. My heart would wrench in jealousy every time.

Another aspect that breaks my heart is that they understand the each other more than they get themselves.

I observe Kurosaki-kun to an extreme. His different frowns were embedded in my brain along with so many other little details about him. I can point out his feelings, so I guess I have some sort understanding towards him.

But not as much as Kuchiki-san.

--

"Thank you, Inoue."

My heart fluttered wildly, enough to lift it up a bit from my depression, but not enough for me to escape. Kurosaki-kun didn't even look at me. He just kept looking at the fallen shinigami, fighting unshed tears.

He would cry for her.

Funny, how Tatsuki-chan said to me that the last time he cried was for his mother. Imagine that. Not crying for so many years, but to come so close as to now.

Kuchiki-san really means a lot to him.

--

I didn't spend that much time spaced out in my thoughts on that railing, but it felt like years.

"It's raining," was the last in depth topic Tatsuki-chan had with him.

Ever since she spoke to me about how Kurosaki-kun's heart was in rain, the first check-off on my list was moved down. In its place was written:

Become Kurosaki-kun's umbrella"Inoue!"

I was shoved out of my trance when I heard that voice. Kuchiki-san's voice.

"OI! RUKIA! WHAT THE HELL, THAT HURTS -OOF- BITCH!"

And Kurosaki-kun's!

I almost lit up. Almost. Kurosaki-kun's old self was back. But it wasn't me that caused him such happiness. He was practically smiling.

I've never seen him smile close-up. Not even now. I've seen him smile maybe twice, but it was always from a distance. And it was always pointed towards 'Rukia.'

He calls her by her first name. She calls him by his first name too. That's big when considering the opposing sex.

As far as I know, the only female he calls by their first name and suffix-free was Tatsuki-chan. He's known her for practically half his life. I've known him for about a third or a quarter. I say his surname with '-kun', a sign of some sort of closeness. He just calls me "Inoue". It's rough and it gives me no feedback on whether or not he cares for me in the way I want him to.

Kuchiki-san, however, has known him for only two- three months. It seems as if they just went on to first name base right when they met, though. They probably did.

I am so jealous.

Kurosaki-kun apologized again, this time the fallen look in his eyes was replaced with determination. My heart was swollen in mirth. I thanked him for his concern. I also thanked Kuchiki-san. I was reluctant about it, with my envy and all, but I still managed a "Thank you."

I excused myself to the bathroom after that. I knew that seeing him happy with another woman wouldn't be too good on my part.

She loved him back.

--

Kurosaki-kun picked Kuchiki-san up all of a sudden. She just managed to stand after I healed her and there he goes, scooping her up potato sack style. He bids us goodbye and walks away with a girl kicking and screaming on his shoulder. Kurosaki-kun had that uneasy smile on his face again.

Rangiku-san and Hitsugaya-kun were off at the Urahara Shoten for a brief meeting and insisted for me to go home and get some sleep. I didn't argue. I am so worn out.

I could almost see my home, and I feel kind of triumphant that the tears in my eyes had yet to fall. Then I heard muffled yells. I crept behind a pole and looked towards the voices' direction. It was Kurosaki-kun and Kuchiki-san. However, the girl did not rest on his shoulders anymore. He carried her in his arms; the way newlyweds did.

That was the image I always dreamed of, only I was replaced by someone with an actual chance. I choked down my sobs and listened to their conversation.

"Fool! Our house is on the other direction!"

The words 'our house' rang through my head.

"Shut up..."

"I know that the arrancar knocked your dignity out, but did your brains leave with it?!"

"Midget, I said 'Shut up'!"

"What is wrong with you, Ichigo?!"

"LEAVE IT, RUKIA!"

This didn't seem like their regular bickering antics. This was the real thing...

"Ichigo," she sighed. "Tell me."

He looked her in the eye for the longest time. Finally he spoke. "I-I almost lost you. Again. I can't lose you, Rukia!"

"You were fine without me befo-"

I couldn't contain my gasp. They didn't notice it anyway. They were too busy. Kurosaki-kun's kissing her, and she's kissing back. My world crumbled right before my very eyes.

They pulled apart.

"Rukia," Kurosaki-kun panted. "Don't you ever do that again."

Kuchiki-san licked her lips and placed her forehead on his. "You mean insult your sense of direction?"

"No. I mean, don't ever get so close to death like that or deny that I don't need you. Promise me, Rukia." He leaned closer. His breath must be fanning her cheeks.

Her lips were nearly brushing his now. "Y-yes, Ichigo."

"I lov-"

I couldn't take it anymore. I ran home and wailed in my bed. Under my pillow was the list. I took it out and scribbled off number one.

I didn't have a chance. Never did. I should have realized that early enough to brace myself for a heart break. I tried to become his umbrella, but what was the use? The rain already stopped.

My goal was to shield him from the rain, but I couldn't even do that. Kuchiki-san could. Heck, she stopped the whole downpour!

I tore the paper up, knowing that if number one was a failure, the whole list would be.

I hope to be someone's... no, Ichigo's umbrella, but seeing that I have no chance with him whatsoever, it seems that I'm going to need my own.

--

A/N: Crap, that was... crap. Hope it isn't really and it's just me being self conscious...
REVIEW PLEASE!! It builds self-esteem :-)

-U69