Rukia awoke with a start; the covers around her messed around like someone had slept beside her. She sat up and looked to her side to find no one there. She raised a brow delicately. She remembered opening her eyes the slightest bit to find half of a fine, muscled chest in front of her. She went back to sleep after that, before remembering her older brother never tucked her into bed anymore. Especially at the age of 25.

She looked around once more and shrugged, shaking it off as one of her crazy imaginations. She ignored the warmth her body was starting to miss, and she was sure it was not from the bed covers. She opened the balcony glass doors and leaned against the railing with crossed arms.

She had yet to remember about the incident with Rangiku. The school photos.

She shrugged it off and remained calm, taking in a deep breath.

I'll just ignore the whole confusing school thing and get on with life. Besides, what could be so strange, that Rangiku-san was in the 1990 graduate section? Maybe it was just a typo.

Yeah…A stupid stupid typo.

She smiled to herself; satisfied with the white lie she had just produced.

The tug of her lips never reached her eyes.

She tried hard to forget the fact that she too, saw her own name in that section.

Kuchiki Rukia.

1972 graduate.


Sweat dripped down his face behind the cold Hollow mask.

That was too close, Ichigo murmured in his head. His stomach was still nervous from the very close moment Rukia may have seen him. Ichigo glanced down at the lower windows of the mansion from his tree and noticed Byakuya was glaring. He knew it was really close too.

**

The moment Byakuya left was the moment Ichigo let out his soft side. He slipped his mask off and looked down at her gently. He raised Rukia's small hand to his lips and slowly traced small kisses on it. He climbed over her small figure gently, so as to not wake her, and lay down beside her. He watched her chest heave up and down gently, a sign of breathing, her nose flaring gently. He closed his eyes for a moment, resting them.

"What would happen if I let go?"

"You will regret it."

Ichigo closed his eyes tighter, trying to ignore the pain that began to build up.

"What if… What if I hold on?"

Ichigo's eyes snapped open when Rukia suddenly shifted. He sighed in relief quietly when he found she was still asleep. She curled up to his figure, surprising him greatly. He hesitantly wrapped an arm around her slim shoulders, his other arm under his head, supporting it. She wrapped her arms around his torso and he leaned down and softly brushed his lips against her hair and forehead. His grip on her shoulder tightened.

"You will be hurt in the end."

Ichigo sighed, ignoring the stab at his heart. He placed a light peck on her lips and grabbed his mask on the bedside table beside her. Standing, he gazed down at her figure one last time, his gaze lasting for too long. She suddenly woke up, sitting up with lightning speed. Ichigo had to use shunpo at the last moment to escape her gaze. Byakuya felt the sudden reiatsu behaviours and walked to his window. More like shunpo. He glared at Ichigo in the tree

**


The street lamps were dim and gave little light to the shadow that stood so sullenly in the dark. Meh. Humans couldn't see him anyway.

Ichigo flipped the coin up and down with his right hand, his left stuffed in his hakama pocket. He didn't move an inch and continued to do the coin toss even as a Shinigami being used shunpo and appeared next to him.

"You really should stop parading around the place in your Hollow Bankai form you know, the Hollows will get attracted to you," a voice scolded lightly.

"Fuck them," Ichigo replied, exhaling a deep breath. "I can take the fuckers on any day."

Renji chuckled and leaned against the wall opposite to the pole Ichigo was leaning on. He observed the Hollow Captain before him and saddened. He remembered the time when Ichigo was a normal human being. And then a human Shinigami. Not a Hollow shell like this. He thought he had improved when that girl, Kuchiki Rukia, came into his life. He had more life in his eyes, more vigor in his voice. Renji noticed. All of soul society did.

Who couldn't?

The empty and dull captain was now talking more, growling more, interacting more, even becoming more social. He had improved greatly in the short time he knew Rukia. Hell, he said hello to the people in the hallway!

So what happened?

Renji sighed and gulped slightly when he felt the intensity of Ichigo's glare on him.

"What?" Renji questioned nervously. Ichigo just rolled his eyes and looked away. Renji glared at him when he wasn't looking and stuck his tongue out. Ichigo's head turned back towards Renji abruptly, said red head now whistling, looking at the sky above him. Ichigo chuckled, remembering when Rukia always did that. Stick her tongue out and then pretend she was innocent.

Renji gaped at Ichigo, his jaw wide open.

Did Kurosaki Ichigo just chuckle?!

Chuckle as in, a form of laughter?!

Whoa whoa woahh.

Call the Shinigami women's association news! Renji stared wide-eyed at Ichigo for moments longer until he snapped back at Renji.

"What!?"

Renji shook his head side to side, his mouth slightly agape. Ichigo rolled his eyes and continued to walk towards his own house. Renji stupidly followed until Ichigo turned around and yelled.

"What the FUCK do you want?!?" he screamed. Renji shouted in surprise and jumped back.

"Whoa! Where are you going is what I wanna know!" he was confused. Was he going back to Soul Society? Cause Renji needed to too.

"I'm going home you fucking stalker!" Ichigo growled. Renji had a slight red tint to his cheeks and saluted a goodbye. He gave one last glance at Ichigo and the used shunpo to carry off into the night.

Ichigo sighed and sat on the convenient street bench beside him. Why was life so hard without Kuchiki now?

Ichigo's eyes widened and he paused in his steps.

Wait, wait, and hold up.

What?

Was Kurosaki Ichigo actually falling in love with the midget? Ichigo grumbled to himself. Ok, yes he was, it was obvious like hell.

But what could he do?

Someone like him, something like him didn't deserve the love of the beautiful Kuchiki maiden. He trudged along and then realization hit him.

He was the only one who could erase her memories…

But he was also the only one who could bring it back.

He stood there, deathly still as he thought. He could get her. He could save her and then gain her memories back. If she just took one look at him, she would remember. He knew this. It's happened ever so often. But what was his reason? He was in love, so what? She wasn't allowed in Soul Society anymore. Ichigo's head bowed down when he remembered that fact.

Fuck them, he never listened to them anyway.


His bamboo-clad feet were pounding against the concrete of the calm streets, his steps quickening with each second. His heart pounded with his footsteps, his breathing ragged. His sprint to the Kuchiki mansion was becoming short as he found just who he wanted walking back from home.

Every time, Ichigo thought breathlessly. Every time I erase her memory, every time I see her again, he pushed himself farther.

She remembered again.

He stopped right in front of the confused beauty who held two plastic bags, one in each hand. He was keeling over in exhaustion, his hands on his knees; the speed of his shunpo was unbelievably faster than the flash goddess herself. He looked up, and shared eye contact with her. She stared down at him with an emotion he didn't care to decipher. He swallowed his pride and stood up.

"Rukia. I-"

Something told him not to go further.

Something told him to stop.

Something told him that he would kill himself emotionally if he continued.

Something told him this was wrong.

But he continued anyway.

He grabbed her plastic bags that seemed to hold grocery from her grasp and set them on the ground gently. He held her shoulders and stared deep into her eyes. Those pools of light he always lost himself inside. Those amethyst eyes that always made him succumb to her every whim.

"Rukia… I-I… I love you, okay?!" he practically shouted. Her eyes widened in surprise. "I-I… I love you, and I want you to come back to Soul Society with me. I don't care if they won't let you in, I'll sneak you in every day if I have to, just to keep you by my side. I want you there with me every day. I need you there with me. Without you, I'm nothing ok?" he embraced her, her hands lightly pressed against his chest, her nose taking in the scent of vanilla and cinnamon, the scent that wafted from Ichigo's clothes.

"Rukia, I love you."

Ichigo was truly actually much too young for the heartbreak to come.

A small voice murmured into his clothes as the gentle hands that were on his chest began to push him away lightly, but with force.

"Do I know you?"

Truly too young to die of heartbreak he was.


It's cold.

His body was damp beyond belief, his body soaked to the bone.

So cold.

His heartbeat was slow and painful, as each thump reminded him that he was still alive.

Rukia…

He finally opened his golden, black eyes and stared into the rain that began to burn his eyes. He blinked out the rain, (or was it tears?)and sat up from his cold, hard floor. Well… building. He looked over to his left, and for once, felt guilty and horrible at the disapproving glare Zangetsu was giving him. He too, was wet. Though there were many buildings in Ichigo's inner mind, they gave no shelter to the storm that blew throughout Ichigo. Ichigo looked straight ahead on the lopsided building and saw his hollow's hair flattened, his robes sticking to him like a second skin.

He too, gave a disapproving glare. Ichigo blocked out his ears and began to shake his head.

Don't give me that look.

How disappointing.

Disgusting is the appropriate word for him.

Truly a disgrace to the community.

Shut up.

He began to feel the pain he felt years ago, the looks he was given right now were the same as before.

The same as that day.

Killed his own mother.

She was pregnant with his own younger sibling!

Such a shame to the family, why do they not detest him?

Repulsive.

"Stop it," he whispered hoarsely, the bones in his hand clear to all who looked. He held his head tightly, trying to cease the headache that was forming. His hollow spat down at him.

"Stop what?!"

"Stop it," he Ichigo whispered louder this time, his voice cracking.

"Stop what Ichigo? We don't know what you speak of," Zangetsu said clearly through the hard downpour.

How ugly.

What a murderer.

A perfect psychopath.

The little bastard never deserved to live in the first place.

Stop it! A little voice wailed. The cries of a nine year old that was looked down upon.

"STOP!!!"

Zangetsu watched his partner with a look of great pity and his hollow stared with discontent in his face. Ichigo began to do what had happened often ever since meeting Rukia.

He began to cry.


"How is he going, Unohana-taichou?" Uryuu asked gravely as he stood by the bed. Retsu, who was standing at the end of the bed with charts in hand, looked at the papers and frowned slightly, her kind, motherly face distorted with frown lines.

"I'm afraid he has not improved at all. His condition looks to be worse actually."

"I see…" Uryuu said quietly. He watched in silent anger as he argued in his mind.

What are you doing to yourself… Ichigo.


"Haha, Rangiku-san, you are truly too much sometimes," Orihime giggled, seated comfortably on the floor with her sandwich on her lap in a bento box. Momo, who sat on Rangiku's left on the couch nodded.

"Honestly, it's no wonder Shiro-chan has white hair!"

"Momo…" Toshiro warned. The three girls giggled. They continued chatting without a care in the world until a timid knock at the door grasped their attention.

"Who is it? You may come in!" Rangiku called out.

The door opened to reveal Ise Nanao, standing by the door with some books in her hand. Rangiku gave a joking disapproving look.

"Nanao-chan, you should know better than to give us books to read during break time." Rangiku's smile dropped when Nanao's serious expression never wavered. "N-Nanao-chan..?"

"I think you three should see this," she said quietly, her voice wavering with nervousness. Toshiro himself raised a brow and lifted his head from his paperwork to eye the nervous 8th division lieutenant with interest. Nanao walked over to the three girls, and Orihime joined them on the couch. She held three books in her hand. One of them, Rangiku recognized, was the Shinigami academy record for students who attended. Nanao opened it and began to explain as she pointed to names here and there.

"See, in circa 2000, Rangiku-san and Momo-san, you two attended Shinigami academy. Orihime-san, you didn't need to attend, for your inhumane but useful Shun shun rikka did not require any learning. However, if we move back in time to way before either of us was born, or dead," Nanao said quietly, flipping the hardcover book over to the front. Even Toshiro himself put his calligraphy brush down and walked over to watch over their shoulders.

Momo gasped.

Rangiku's eyes widened.

Orihime covered her mouth with both hands.

Toshiro choked on the air he breathed.

Kuchiki Rukia.

1975 graduate.

"Can you explain what's happening… Rangiku-san?"

"What the hell is going on here…"


Byakuya watched his sister intently, noticing how her behaviour was not as it should have been. Her normally cheerful smiles and witty comments had become dull scowls and one-word conversations. She acted as if some part of her was missing. But how did she know?

Byakuya nearly jumped from his seat as his sister raised her head from her dinner and began to use more than 5 syllables a sentence.

"I met someone new today," she began in the quiet tone she used nowadays, ever since she came back from Rangiku's house. Byakuya raised a brow.

"Really now? Do tell, who was this new person?"

"Well, I think he was a secret admirer. Or a stalker. I prefer the first option," Rukia said lightly, shrugging her shoulders and scraping her fork against the plate of her dinner.

"I see… care to elaborate what happened?" Byakuya asked mildly. He could've sworn he had gotten rid of them ages ago back when Rukia was in high school.

"I was coming back from shopping, and then suddenly, this person wearing a bone-like mask and black robes just appeared out of no where, hugged me, told me he loved me, and he had the most ridiculous hair!"

Byakuya swallowed the rising bile that threatened to leave his throat and cleared his throat; sweat dripping down the side of his face.

"R-really now? H-how ridiculous sounding… what… colour was this hair of his?"

"Orange."

Byakuya could've fainted on the spot right there.


"Ichigo…" Zangetsu began. The limp, sitting, hunched figure of Ichigo grunted, signaling he was listening. They were next to each other, Zangetsu standing, Ichigo sitting, watching the dark stormy clouds ripen themselves for the oncoming storm. The were on top of the tallest building with the best view, but right now, that was not needed to be taken into account.

"I truly do believe you shouldn't give up yet." Ichigo glared up at Zangetsu in the corner of his eye, while Zangetsu did the same.

"And how do you suppose I do that, hm? She can't remember who I am, she won't remember who I am and I am stuck right now, in an unrequited love, which sucks cause she thought I was a fucking retard when I confessed my LOVE TO HER!" he screamed at the end. His hollow that possessed his eyes right now strode up to the two and kicked Ichigo in the back, making him lurch forward, dangerously close to the edge.

"Get lost you fucker!" Ichigo yelled as he swirled around. His hollow scoffed.

"Honestly, I was not born from a person like this. You are ridiculous!" his hollow said mockingly, no tone of playfulness what so ever.

"Well what can I do!?" he screamed back. He stood up from his spot and bared his teeth right in front of Zangetsu's face.

"That's not our decision Ichigo." At those last words, Zangetsu pushed Ichigo's chest off the building, listening to the surprised shout of Ichigo's shock.


Ichigo awoke with a start in the hospital bed in 4th division, his heart monitor beeping like crazy. Nurses and division members rushed in to help him but he shoved every single on of them off. Some lieutenants that were in the waiting room charged in and held Ichigo down as he began to thrash around.

His eyes were wild and searching as he looked for a certain raven-haired petite woman. His eyes rolled to the back of his head once Retsu had placed a gas mask over his mouth. His hollow mask lay on the side table beside him.

Everything was black once again.


So warm…Ichigo thought in his head. Ichigo's fingers twitched in the warm comfort he was receiving. His eyes began to flutter open and once he looked to the side of his bed, at who was holding his hand, he didn't hesitate to embrace that person.

"Rukia!!!"


Author's Note -

So.... It's me again... ^^;

I know, i know! I'm sorry, yes, i do realise how long it's been since i last updated, I'm sorry!

But I've become lazy, and found no inspiration to continue this but then, one day, it was like, BAM

*types for an hour*

And then, Voila! Finito!

I'm sorry, but I am going to start working on the next chapter of AFITG right NOW.

I can't make promises, but i can try to update this story more regularly. I'm sorry, hope you like this chapter

Ruki-Chan