Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach ;D

Author's Note: I've kept the Japanese attacks in this fic rather than translate them to English, mostly because I've watched Bleach in Japanese. Also, I kept Kon's use of "nee-san" to refer to Rukia, because I'm not a fan of him calling her "big sister"/"sister". Other than that, there is no rampant, badly translated Japanese.


"Dawn," Rukia read aloud. "One. The first appearance of daylight in the morning. Two. The beginning or rise of anything; advent." She scrunched her brow confusedly for a second or two before closing the book she had balanced in her lap. Carefully, she put it down beside her, mindful that it didn't slide down the slant of Ichigo's roof, where she was currently sitting. When Ichigo had first told her about dictionaries, about how they were books of words defining other words, she hadn't entirely grasped the concept. Now, after looking through one in the glow of a dim streetlamp, she still wasn't sure she understood the point of it. Surely everyone knew the meaning of dawn?

She let out a deep breath and instead turned her attention to the slowly awakening city, concentrating on the appearance of little pinpricks of light in the downtown windows. Sighing, she drew her leg up to her chest; she figured she had about half-an-hour to sneak back into Ichigo's room through the window and get into his closet so he could "wake" her up for school. He had no idea that she hadn't been sleeping through the night for the past ten days, and she wasn't about to tell him about her business. It was stupid of her, anyways, not being able to sleep after…dreams, premonitions, whatever it was that startled her so much that she would awaken as if someone had tried to strangle her in the oppressive dark of the closet.

At first, she chalked it up to her subconscious and then later, to the unnerving calmness that had settled over Karakura Town like a warm blanket. Ichigo liked to pretend that he was relieved that Hollows were now very few and far between, but Rukia suspected that he was as wary as she was at the sudden lull in the action. An inexplicable knot of dread had formed in her stomach a week and a half ago, and whether it was from her disturbing dreams or anticipation about the non-state of things, Shinigami-wise, she couldn't say. As the sun burst over the horizon, bathing nearby rooftops with a sickly shade of red, Rukia inexplicably thought, "Tonight." She narrowed her eyes, muttering, "Tonight what?" before she tucked the dictionary under one arm and swung herself silently back into Ichigo's room.


"But what does it mean?" Rukia leaned over Ichigo's shoulder and scrutinized the funny looking symbols. She thought she could see the hiragana for "no" twisted on its side but the rest clustered together like little pictures.

"I already told you, idiot."

"Well, you're obviously wrong. That made no sense."

"It's English," Ichigo said, exasperatedly. "It doesn't translate well. Anyways, aren't you going to do it too? This homework's due tomorrow."

"I have no use for—what is it? Engrish?"

Ichigo let out an exasperated noise and turned a page in his text; at the same time, Rukia collapsed onto his bed, causing Kon to fall to the floor."

"Nee-san," Kon wailed, "that hurt!" He gave her a wounded look before squeezing himself under Ichigo's bed. Two seconds later, he shuffled out, pulling a magazine with him. Giving Rukia a final glare, he sat up and opened it. Rukia was about to ask him where he'd managed to find a magazine that was full of—were those naked girls?—when she heard it. Her phone rang three quick times in succession before she could get to it.

"Where is it this time?" Ichigo asked wearily.

"Not too far," Rukia answered. "About a quarter kilometer away."

"This better not take all night," Ichigo grumbled as he pulled out his substitute Shinigami badge. Grabbing Kon up by his ear, Rukia fished around in his mouth for the mod soul. "If I fall asleep in class again—"

"This is more important," Rukia responded shortly as she threw the little green candy to Ichigo. She turned to open the window so they could leave.

"You'd better not do anything about that porn with my body!" Ichigo said to Kon, and then they were on their way, dashing down the darkened road.


It didn't take very long for them to come up on the Hollow. One last turn around the corner and there it was, looming over a group of terrified teenagers, its white death mask a beacon in the moonless twilight. It already had two humans in its hand, grinning vacantly at them, and Ichigo cursed and unsheathed his zanpaktou, charging at the Hollow's hulking back.

"Ichigo!" Rukia cried as something twisted in her stomach, but he paid her no heed and swung Zangetsu into the Hollow.

Nothing happened.

Rukia's mouth went dry as she saw Ichigo fly backwards, and the feeling—the one she'd been experiencing for almost a fortnight—was stronger than ever. She felt like she was back at the base of the sokyouku, waiting to be hoisted in the air to die. The Hollow seemed to neither notice nor care that someone had attempted to skewer him; instead, he raised the howling teenagers above his gaping mouth.

"Bastard!" Ichigo shouted. "Don't you dare!" He pulled himself back into attack position and ran the Hollow. Again, Ichigo was thrust backwards by some inexplicable shield, and again the Hollow didn't react to his attack other than letting one struggling teenager fall into his mouth. The other one, a young girl, let out a terrified scream that jarred Rukia from her inaction, and she put her arm out.

"Bakudo san zyuu ichi shakkahou!" she cried, careful to aim the fire away from the Hollow's arm in order to reduce the danger to its prey. "Ichigo," she cried! "The girl!"

The Hollow took more notice to Rukia's attack than it had to Ichigo's. It bent slightly to survey the smoking, singed gash in its body, before turning its attention back to its hand. Ichigo went at the Hollow a third time, and it seemed that he finally got its attention—at any rate, the Hollow used its unoccupied arm to swat Ichigo out of the way. As Ichigo flew through the air into a gated fence, the Hollow let go of the girl, swallowing her quickly. Rukia could only watch, horrified, as the girl fell between the blocks of the Hollow's teeth; behind her, she heard Ichigo's distressed, "Dammit."

"Bakudo san zyuu ichi shakkahou!" she tried again, but the Hollow, more nimbly than she would have expected, lumbered out of its way. Meanwhile, Ichigo had pulled himself out of the twisted metal of the fence and was standing behind her.

"Get the kids out of here," he said. "I'll take care of it."

"Be careful, you idiot," she said. "Don't get yourself killed."

"Worry about yourself," he replied, "and get them out of here. I'm not watching that bastard eat another one."

She ran over to the group of quivering teenagers, two or three of whom were hysterical. One seized her arm.

"Where did Kyoko-san go?" he asked her desperately. "Something had her—and now she's gone! Where did she go?"

"You've got to get out of here," she said. "Go home. Don't come back."

"Just tell us where she is!" another begged.

"Get out of here," Rukia snapped, and when they didn't move, she seized the arms of the two nearest to her and began to pull. They seemed to snap out of their trance, and in no time, she was able to get them out of the sight of the Hollow, who was still looking for more food.

"Getsuga tenshou!"

Rukia felt the hair on the back of her head lift as Ichigo's reiatsu attack connected with the Hollow. Making sure the last teenager was far enough away, she whipped around, only to see that although the attack had hit the Hollow head-on, it was still there, not talking, not damaged.

"Why isn't this working?" Ichigo yelled frustratedly. "Getsuga tenshou!"

Rukia watched the scene unfold like a badly formed story. She heard Ichigo yell, "Bankai!", and disconnectedly saw him try to attack the Hollow. She watched him as he flew backwards into the mangled twist of metal he'd already been parried into, and all she could think about was how she had seen Kaien die on her zanpaktou. Like then, she didn't know what they were up against. She had no strategy to beat it, and although she was trying to organize her thoughts, trying to analyze it for weaknesses, every sound seemed to melt into a hum. Things bled together, and her stomach flooded with pure fear. She wasn't going to lose him. She'd rather die.

A third time, she formed the position for her shakkatou. That, she reasoned, had almost gotten the Hollow's attention before.

"Over here," she yelled, as the Hollow reached down for Ichigo. "Bakudo san zyuu ichi shakkahou!" The fire blast hit it in the arm, and the Hollow turned around, looking at her inquisitively. All of a sudden, it abandoned its attempt to get at Ichigo and instead concentrated on her. It said nothing and simply came towards her. Instead of moving, Rukia saw the damage that her shakkahou had caused in the Hollow's body and stood stock still.

The Hollow stood over her, cocked its head, and then swept its arm down and grabbed her. Rukia didn't let herself hear Ichigo screaming her name, and she certainly didn't allow her terror to overwhelm her—if this plan was going to work, it was going to take all of her concentration. The Hollow didn't hesitate. With one quick move, it let go of her, and Rukia felt herself tumble into its mouth.

Being eaten by a Hollow, Rukia decided, was a strange sensation. She wasn't yet dead—at least, she didn't think she was—but she could feel something unraveling within herself. Her mind was quickly blanking, and with the last vestiges of consciousness, she forced her arm back into position. There was almost no air in her lungs, but she managed to choke it out. "Bankudo….san…zyuu…ichi…sha…kka…hou." She felt the fire burst free of her palm, and felt the heat as it combusted around her. She hadn't any time for a last thought before she fell victim to unconsciousness, but there was a flash of brown, of bright orange, someone saying her name like he'd never see her again.


The pull back to consciousness was like swimming through something very thick, and Rukia might've given up if someone wasn't shaking her in an extremely irritating way.

"You idiot," she heard. "If you're dead, I swear to God I'll find you so I can kill you again. Wake up, goddammit. Wake up."

"Stop that," she muttered, swatting at someone's hand. Slowly, she opened her eyes and yelped as she met Ichigo's murderous gaze. Half of his hollow mask was clinging to his face, and he looked like he was about to use her as a blade sharpener for his zanpaktou. She could feel his hands gripping her shoulders—hard—and she winced as she sat up. "Let go," she said. "I'm fine." And she really was, even though she didn't understand how exactly she'd managed to stay alive. "Is it dead?"

"Of course it's dead," Ichigo hissed, and Rukia could see a flash of yellow in his eyes, a glimpse of unprecedented rage. "You exploded it from the inside out. What the fuck were you thinking?"

She narrowed her eyes at him and gingerly stood up. "No matter now. I had a plan, and it worked. The Hollow's dead. Let's just go back home." Turning her back to him, she began the walk back to Ichigo's house. He didn't say anything the entire trip, but she could feel his presence, strong, angry, unyielding, behind her. When they got to the dark windows of the Kurosaki Clinic, she propelled herself into Ichigo's window, and stepped into the room. Kon, still in Ichigo's body, was asleep on the bed, his magazine upturned beside him.

Ichigo followed her inside, still silent, and she walked over to the closet, listening to him fish around for the mod soul. He came up behind her, thrusting the candy into Kon's mouth, and chucked him into the closet. Rukia heard Kon say, "What the—Ichigo! You bastard!" before Ichigo slammed the closet door, wedging it shut with a strategy he'd perfected in the prior year to lock Kon up when he was being annoying.

Rukia turned and looked at him. "Don't tell me you're going to pout that I didn't tell you what I was going to do," she said crossly. "It's not that big of a deal."

"I can't believe," Ichigo ground out, "that you were so stupid. You let a Hollow—a Hollow—eat you."

Rukia glared back at him. "You can't tell me what to do. You don't own me. It was eating people, and it would've kept going. I just as allowed as you are to take risks." Ichigo's eyes lightened to a pale yellow for a smidgen of a second before he snarled and pushed her onto the bed. Instantly, he was above her, pinning her wrists over her head, his knees on either side of her hips.

"Never do that again," he snarled

"Let go of me," she yelped, twisting under him. If anything, he tightened his grasp. "Why are you so angry? You don't own me." Ichigo's eyes were still glinting in a way that was different from normal, amber in the darkness.

"Maybe I want to," he said, and she had a millisecond to try and comprehend what he had just said before his mouth was on hers.

Rukia's lips, which had been parted in preparation for her retort, melded to his, and she felt an electric current ripple through her body. Any protest she might've used, any resolve she might've had to get him off of her, was gone as soon as his tongue touched hers. Instead of pushing him away from her, she arched into him. He grabbed her leg and pulled it around his waist, so every part of her was in contact with some part of him.

The kiss wasn't gentle, but dominant, fierce. His teeth nipped at the curve of her lower lip, his hand roughly cupped her breast through the fabric of her shirt. She was neither affronted nor insulted as his presumption; she felt as though she had been waiting for something like this with him for a very long time. Hooking her leg around his knee, she pulled herself into him, against him, kissing him as strongly as he was kissing her. She could feel the swell of his erection against her belly, and she fought against the grip he had on her wrists. She wanted to touch him like he was touching her, and as soon as he let go, she let her arms fall around his neck, over his back. His lips lefts hers and traveled down the curve of her chin to her neck, alternating between soft, open-mouthed pecks to sharp nips. Rukia gasped sharply when he reached a sensitive spot on her collarbone, and he moved his head so it was level with hers.

"I'm going to fuck you," he said into her ear, and maybe it was a little less Ichigo and a little more Hollow than she would've expected, but his mouth was touching the rim of her ear and his breath was hot, and there was this coiling heat deep in her belly, and she couldn't help but nod against him.

"Okay," she said. "Okay."

Ichigo wasted no time, and his fingers found the hem of her dress, which had fallen around her waist. With one quick motion, it was over her head and somewhere on the floor. Ichigo had sat back when he had removed her dress, and now he used this new position to survey her, his eyes roving down her body and back up. Rukia blushed lightly—she hadn't been wearing a bra—but instead of lying still, waiting for him, she worked her hands under his shirt. He helped her get it over his head. His gaze was myopic, and something about it made her tremble slightly. He removed his pants with little help from her, and then he was on top of her again, kissing her, pulling moans out of her mouth. His fingers rolled lightly over her right nipple and it puckered. His mouth trailed off of her mouth and down her torso, closing over her left nipple.

His fingers moved down her torso to her hips, skimming little trails of heat on her skin. "Please," she whimpered, and she would've been almost embarrassed by the tone of her voice if Ichigo hadn't taken it seriously. He took her panties off, and his underwear as well, and as soon as that was done, Rukia wrapped her legs around his waist.

"Please," she said again, and then he was inside of her. The sudden intrusion hurt at first, but it didn't take long for Rukia to adjust, and then he was moving. He was kissing her, and with every thrust, she felt something inside of her building towards a peak. Faster, faster he moved, and it didn't take very long for something to explode inside of her. She thought she might've shouted, and she was clenching him in waves, and she heard him moan her name before he was gone as well, spilling inside of her with a warm wetness.

Later, when he had settled on top of her, she said, "I think I love you." Right after saying it, she knew that it was something she'd been thinking, unconsciously, for almost as long as he knew her.

His eyes met her, and they were the normal brown again, heavy-lidded and intense. "That's good," he responded. "Because you're mine now."

"Idiot," she murmured. "It works both ways." He laughed, and moved to his side, cradling her against him.


The sun burst, warm and friendly, over the horizon, waking Rukia from the first real sleep she'd had in a while. Ichigo was still wrapped around her, and she looked up at his sleep-relaxed face. "Dawn," she whispered, smiling into his shoulder.


So, um, yeah, this was for my friend, Pawls-chan, mostly because she made me watch Bleach and she ships Ichigo/Rukia like none other. Any rampant out-of-characterizations are my fault.