He was running

My fav bleach characters again! I just love these two hotties and another story popped in my head having read so many on here about Ichigo being captured, not many went on about his recovery or time back home. So this little tale came to mind.

Please ignore spellings – I'm English – so don't expect American spelling. This is also my creative juices and therefore my right to adapt things to suit my story. The original Bleach is obviously not mine (DUH!), but that doesn't mean I cannot add my own tit-bits where I see fit!

I thrive on reviews, so feel free to tell me any idea's you have or things you want to see happen and I can see what I can do. I also want to know how graphic you want Ichigo's memories to be, as I don't really want to offend or upset anyone. I have rated this as an M for future chapters just in case!

He was running. That was unusual enough for anyone who saw him.

He was running so hard that the sweat was pouring off him as he thundered through the streets of Seireitei. His shunpo skills in full use and view of those with quick enough eyes to see it.

In his arms was wrapped something, no someone, in his captains cloak. His dark hair flew behind him, his expensive kenseikan scarf was beginning to change red as the liquid of life seeped from the unconscious figure in his arms. That same scarf had been tied as tight as he could make it in his shocked condition to stop the flow of blood in the hope that it would save a tragic death.

His footsteps flew noisily into the fourth division, shouting with desperation and swiping the figure from anyone else who dared to attempt to help him.

"Unohana!" He repeated frantically just running onwards towards the quiet captains office.

"Byakuya!" she was startled by his outburst and looked surprised at the flash of orange hair sprouting from his captains cloak. "Kurosaki?" She questioned. "How?"

"I don't know." He began to pant from his exertion and she took his arm and lead him to the closest emergency room.

-- ByakuyaXIchigo --

The group of Captains muttered amongst themselves it was usual and understandable for Unohana to be late to a captains meeting due to the nature of her role, but not Byakuya. If the man could, he would drag his dying body to these meetings.

The mutterings were only sharing rumors they had heard, but a sudden change in personality as they were hearing, did seem very unusual.

"Well it seems we must begin without all you present." Shigekuni Yamamoto announced with the crack of his elaborate stick onto the polished wooden floor. "We have seen an unprecedented rise in activity on all Hollow levels. The fact that we have been unable to locate Kurosaki Ichigo is unusual. His timing of disappearance seems to be coincide with the attack of two Arrancar's three weeks ago. Now is the time to consider all possibilities."

"It seems as if the boy has been found." Unohana Retsu's calm voice entered with her graceful flow across the room. "Kuchiki Taichō arrived at my office with an unconscious Kurosaki Ichigo just a few hours ago."

"We heard rumors he was running through Seireitei. But you know its Byakuya it seemed farfetched." Soifon spoke.

"What is the boy's condition Unohana Taicho?"

"It seems that he has suffered considerable torment. The exact extent seems to be unclear at this stage. I do not feel that it would be appropriate to detail them in full. I will prepare a report for you Sōtaichō. Kuchiki Taicho's actions probably saved his life." The commander trusted her judgment.

"And our 6th division captain, he is not still at your offices?"

"The appearance and nature of the injuries have left the captain … a little shocked. I advised him to rest." Another murmur ran through the captains. Byakuya shocked to the point it was a medical matter seemed again highly unusual.

"Shocked? Then maybe we need a little more information hey Retus?" Shunsui Kyōraku spoke with the concern that the others were feeling. "Where was Kurosaki found? What happened to him? I was not aware that Byakuya was away on a mission to retrieve the boy?"

"From what I can gather, the captain found him quite by chance within his own grounds. There was a heavy Arrancar retsui residue which Captain Kuchiki sensed. When he searched for its source, he found the boy, and using his own words, just standing there bleeding to death. He made no sound, no movement, no evidence he was aware of anything. Indeed when I looked at the gaping wound in his chest, it was impossible to believe that Kurosaki would be standing at all."

"So its safe to assume that he was taken to Hueco Mundo against his will?"

"I am sure that no human would intentionally let themselves suffer the list of injuries I have logged. I can see no gain from what has happened to him from either point of view. All that I can surmise is that he will not be ready for the war when it comes. Aizen could not turn him and so we are left with a once powerful man who will be unable to fight."

"We will have to rethink our plans for the war."

"Then we should not have planned to so much on the shoulders of one child. And after all that's all he is, a child." Ukitake said sadly. Others around him nodded.

-- ByakuyaXIchigo --

Byakuya was glad of the chance to rest at his home. He sat on his futon and laid back lazily closing his eyes and wishing he could shut out what he had witnessed today. A hand covered his eyes and his stomach growled with the impending release of his breakfast.

"Nii-sama?" Rukia was passing her brothers sleeping quarters when she heard the unmistakable sound of retching. She walked with some trepidation into the room, her eye passed over the discarded kenseikan and cloak, gasping at the sight of blood on them. "Nii-sama!" she said alarmed and ran towards the sound of more retching from the bathroom.

"Rukia." Byakuya panted clearly uncomfortable that he had been found when this shaken.

"Shall I call someone for you?"

"No." He shook his head and made his way to the jug and bowl of water and freshened his face. "No … I just…" Since when was he ever lost for words. He let out a sigh and looked at her with an expression he had never seen on his face. Utter disgust and despair, all combined into one pained and sorrowful face. "I cannot believe the depths that Aizen would stoop to. We must win this war."

"What has happened?" He approached her and held her shoulders.

"Promise me you will never attempt to go to Hueco Mundo again."


"Its important Rukia. Promise me, I don't care, even if it is me you wish to find, just promise me." Her eyes opened startled with his begging tone.

"I promise." He seemed to relax some what and released her. She watched him walk to his futon and sit on the side, running his hands through his hair and letting out another sigh of despair. He gestured for her to sit and she knelt before him, again startled as he took her hand and held it on his lap. "I found Kurosaki Ichigo this morning." Her eyes peeled even wider and he she pleaded silently for him to tell her everything. Was this the cause of his state? "He had been hurt badly Rukia…I have never seen anything so vile in all my life… It sickened me when I saw him…" His head dropped down he couldn't bare the look of worry in her eyes nor the memory of earlier.

"Is he dying?"

"Not now I think… Rukia…I don't know if he'll get over this." When her brother had made no sounds before that he so much as tolerated the substitute shingigami it seemed a little melodramatic to witness this display of trauma. "Physically yes maybe, emotionally… I think not… I would not wish anyone to suffer like that."

"Like what?"

"He was torn apart… literally… They must have abused him so many times…" His voice was quiet and horrified at the telling. His elbows moved to his knees and he buried his hands into his face. "Scars, bruises everywhere. I could not feel any spiritual energy in him at all…his eyes…were like blank lifeless orbs. He didn't seem to hear me, see me or feel me when I approached him…He was just a bleeding, mound of flesh. There was nothing there Rukia of the person we knew. Nothing. One flesh wound in his chest was fresher and worse than most. I think that was what made him collapse in the end; there was so much blood around his feet." He paused gathering his composure again. "I did what I could, trying to stop the blood flow and wrapped him in my cloak. When I picked him up, there was nothing of him."

"Nii-sama?" Rukia spoke softly worried for Ichigo and seeing her usual hard faced brother so shattered and open. She moved to sit on the bed beside him and felt a rush of wonderment and surprise as he leant into her and laid his head on her shoulder.

"If it's the last thing I do Rukia. I am going to be the man I wished I had been." Looking into her eyes he could tell she didn't understand him. "Instead of harsh, I should have been honest. Instead of pushing him away, I should have shown my interest. Instead of pretending arrogance I should have shown compassion. But I'll show my compassion now. I'll show him that I'll do everything to make this okay again…everything that is possible."

"Byakuya…" Rukia used his name in surprise; so unaware of his real feelings. "You care for Ichigo?"

"So much it hurts." He whispered. "I'm sorry."

-- ByakuyaXIchigo --