WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE!! (Mainly the F Word.) Oh and alcohol abuse!!

Italics are Flashbacks.


"RUN, ICHIGO!"

"But-"

"I TOLD YOU TO RUN! JUST FUCKING RUN!"


In the Soul Society, in the (almost) secret-under-Sōkyoku-Hill training grounds,

"What the hell are ya doin'?"

"Waddya mean what am I doin'? I'd say it's pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain 'what the hell' I'm doin'!"

"Wha's tha suppose'ta mean?!"

"It means that you're an idiot if you can't figure it out!"

"Yer tha one that can' even answer a simple question!"

"What's that got to do with anything? Look, either shut up or leave me alone. I'm kinda busy here."

"Ya don' look tha' busy ta me."

"Well I am, so please, Abarai-fukutaicho, fuck off. Don't you have some paperwork or something you could be doing instead of bothering me?"

"Yer so cold, Ichigo"

"I'm sure I am, now, if you don't mind, I'm looking for something that you can't help me find."

"Ya won' find it at the bottom of tha' bottle, ya know."

"I know, but it's a good place to start looking."


"Let go of me! LET GO OF ME! I HAVE TO GO BACK TO HER!"

"I haven't finished healing you yet Kurosaki-kun! If you go out there you'll… you'll…"

"I DON'T CARE! YOU HAVE TO LET ME GO! I HAVE TO SAVE HER! LET ME GO INOUE!"

"It's not Inoue-san's fault you got hurt and I highly doubt that by screaming you're making the situation any better"

"WHO ASKED YOU?! SHE'S OUT THERE AND SHE'S GONNA DIE! SHE'S GOING TO FUCKING DIE, ISHIDA! TELL INOUE TO LET ME GO!"

"Kurosaki, if you go now, you will get us all killed, then her giving her life would be in vain. Wouldn't you want to save your friends like she's doing for us? You can't save everyone, Kurosaki. Nobody can."


Renji sat down beside Ichigo, choosing a spot where he could lean against one of the many rocks decorating the arid desert. He looked upwards, marvelling at the perfection of the artificial sky as even though it was well after midnight, the seemingly unending expanse of blue never changed, the shadows never moved. "Drinkin' on yer own ain't gonna get ya nowher'"

"If it's not gonna get me nowhere then surely it's gonna get me somewhere."

"Don' mock a guy who's jus' tryin' ta help"

"I don't need your help."

"Yeah ya do."

"I know." He stood, earning a, well-hidden, but worried glance from Renji, having only recently learned to interpret his more subtle facial expressions, the ones showing grief or despair, feelings unbecoming of a battle-hardened soldier. He returned the glance with a weak smile, heading towards his sake stash and grabbing an extra dish and filling both. He sat back down, handed Renji his dish, and said, "To Rukia."

"To Rukia."


"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!"

"It wasn't your fault, Kurosaki."

"I fucking ran! She told me to run, so I did! I RAN AWAY! I'm a fucking coward, Abarai, A FUCKING COWARD!"

"She told ya ta run 'cause she didn' wan' ya ta get hurt. Ya'd already had so many injuries… Ya would've died if ya tried goin' up agains' those Menos in tha state ya were in. Ya both would."

"But it's my fault she's dead! I should have DIED tryin' to protect her!"

"Ya think she would've let ya? She practically shoved ya offa the field."

"I should've fought to protect her, fought harder, better… I should have died, not her. She didn't deserve it."

"Nah, she didn' deserve it. But she would'n've had it any other way. She died savin' ya. She's a shinigami, it's her job."

"But I was supposeta protect her. I failed her, Renji. I failed her. I-"

"Ya let her fight. Ya didn' doubt her, not for one second, she knew she couldn' win, but she fought anyways. Ya let her make the decision herself. Ya let her save her friends. She died a shinigami's death."

"I know. Doesn't make it any easier though, does it?"

"Not yet it won't."


As the post-toast silence stretched in honour of their fallen comrade, Ichigo poured more sake into their now drained dishes. "Did ya love her?"

"Huh?" The suddenly broken silence pulled Ichigo out of his reminiscence and the nature of the question caught him off guard.

"Did ya love her?" The repetition of the question did little to prompt an answer but Ichigo soon came to a conclusion.

"No. Not how she loved me. Did you?"

"Did I love her? Once. When I say once, I mean for like, fifty years… but yeah, I loved her. I would've done anythin' for her, back in the day. Still would, if… ya know…" A stiff nod and a single tear alerted Renji to the fact that yes, Ichigo did know. "After she joined the Kuchiki's an' I was left on my own, it kinda faded away. It never really went away, she'll always have a place in my heart but I've loved since, an' I'll love again."

The two men drained their dishes and lay back on the ground.

"Fuck these dishes. I'm startin' from the bottle."

"Cheers ta tha'. Since when do ya drink anyways?"

"Since last week."


The funeral was beautiful. It took place in one of the many private gardens of the Kuchiki estate, just beside some cherry blossom trees, the petals adding a touch of colour to the melancholy of the pure white ceremony. Ukitake, a surprisingly sober Shunsui and Matsumoto came, Momo, accompanied by Hitsugaya sobbed quietly at the back, while Izuru, Renji, Hanatarō and Hisagi sat reminiscing. The 'humans' supported one another, Ishida and Chad comforting Orihime but Ichigo couldn't help but think that if it weren't for him, none of this would have happened. He left early and shunpo'ed to the Rukongai and found the nearest bar.


"When ya said ya didn' love her like she loved you, wha'd ya mean? Did ya love her at all?" Taking the bottle from Ichigo and giving it a swig, he continued, "Always thought ya'd be into her, everyone thought ya had a thing goin', there was a bettin' pool and everythin'…was kinda jealous fer a bit…"

"I wasn't in love with her, if that's what you mean. I loved her like a sister or a friend, but never really anymore than that. We were colleagues…shinigami."

"Yeh're not exactly a ladies' man then…"

"True tha'..." He took the sake bottle back and downed the rest.

"Hey! Take it slow, I-chi-go! Heh, tha' rhymed."

"Yeah, you're like a really rubbish, and kinda drunk poet. Speakin' of drunk, feelin' kinda dizzy…"

"Tha's 'cause yer not useta sake, unlike me! I am the ulti-hiccup-mate in alcohol tolerance!"

"The hiccup kinda ruined yer whole flow thing yeh had goin' on there. And the whole blush thing yeh have goin' on just proves yer drunkenness. Man, this stuff's strong..."

"'Tis. But I'm nah drunk yet," he said while stumbling over to look Ichigo in the face, "'Kay, maybe Imma 'lil drunk," he admitted, stumbling closer, "I've got tha best drunk-blush anyways. I'll have ya know tha' I've been told by lotsa ladiez tha' I look cute when I'm drunk."

"Yeh do."

"I wha?"

Ichigo passed out.


A/N

This is my first fan fiction so if it's a bit rubbish just say: Also I'm quite hung over and its 3 am so that might make it unintelligible. Anyways! I think I'm going to make this multi chapter... but I don't know when I'll be able to write it cas I'm a genius that decides to start a fan fiction 2 days before her A-Levels . PROCRASTINATION FTL. Sorry if anyone seems particularly OOC…