Hey guys! Well, this fic has finally come to a close. I'm really happy that so many people read it! It feels good to know that people like the craziness that spews out of my head. :) Please take time to tell me what you thought of the story as a whole; I'd really appreciate it. Once again, thanks for reading and reviewing. The ride has been fun. Enjoy.
I don't own Bleach. If I did, it would never end; the story would continue through the rest of Ichigo's life and afterword. Or, if it did end, there would be some sort of reunion special.
They sat on Ichigo's bed, the baby in Rukia's arms. The sight in front of them was too weird for either to comprehend.
It was them. Older, but it was still them.
"What has Ichigo—my Ichigo—told you?" Future Rukia asked Rukia, sitting down in the office chair across from them.
Rukia cleared her throat, slightly embarrassed. "He just raved on about his moustache and shaving it and how I owe him sex."
Both Ichigos blushed. Future Rukia turned to Future Ichigo, malice in her eyes. "Why would you say that to me?!"
"She looks just like you," Future Ichigo retorted, averting his gaze. "I got confused, okay?"
"Confused?" Future Rukia spat. "How can you not notice that she was doing homework? You just scarred me for life!"
The two continued to argue. Ichigo and Rukia just sat there, not really sure what to do. Finally, Future Rukia kicked Future Ichigo in the shin and turned to the two. "I should probably explain to you what's going on," she said to them, ignoring Future Ichigo's howls of pain.
"That would be nice," Ichigo muttered under his breath. Both Rukias gave him a dirty look.
"As I told you before, Ichigo," Future Rukia started, "we are from the future. We are you, just ten years from now."
"Ten years," Rukia breathed, giving…herself a once-over. "I look pretty good."
"I know." Future Rukia looked smug, and the Ichigos rolled their eyes. "Anyway, we came back in time to reclaim our baby. Well, I guess he's yours too. Hmm, this is kind of confusing."
"How did you guys come back in the first place?" Ichigo asked suddenly.
"Urahara-san," Future Ichigo stated simply, and it seemed no further explanation was needed.
"How did your kid end up here?" Ichigo demanded.
The future couple shared a glance. "We sent him here," Future Rukia finally answered.
"Why would you send your child into the past by himself?" Rukia almost yelled. "What is wrong with you?! He was almost killed by a Hollow!"
"We know," Future Ichigo muttered, and Future Rukia cleared her throat uncomfortably.
Rukia felt disgusted with herself. "I am a bad mother," she whispered, holding a sleeping Ichiro closer to her.
Ichigo had a tortured look on his face. He tentatively placed his arm around her, and she unconsciously leaned into him.
Future Rukia smiled. "This is exactly why we did it," she said, looking up at Future Ichigo.
Ichigo glared at her. "What?" he snarled.
"This experience was what brought us together." While she looked only slightly embarrassed, Future Ichigo looked like he didn't even want to be in the room. He fidgeted, putting weight on one foot, then the other.
Rukia's eyes went wide and Ichigo slowly dropped his arm.
"It took unexpected parenthood and meeting my future self to make me realize that I loved Ichigo," Future Rukia said, waiting for her husband to chime in. When he didn't, she poked him in the side.
Future Ichigo sighed. "I already loved Rukia," he said reluctantly. "It just took this experience for me to admit it."
Rukia and Ichigo were silent, not looking at each other. Rukia instead looked down at the baby in her arms. "What's his name?" she asked, not looking up.
"Ichiro," Future Rukia answered, making Rukia look up in surprise. "That's what I named him when I first met him, so that's who he was when he was finally born."
There was silence once again. It seemed that Ichigo and Rukia had no more questions.
"Well, while we're here," Future Ichigo started, "I might as well give myself some advice."
"Let's start with not scaring the crap out of me," Future Rukia said icily.
"I said I was sorry, okay?!" he said, looking at Rukia apologetically. "I really am," he told her.
"It's okay," Rukia replied. "You almost lost a body part, though."
Future Ichigo winced. "You will want to grow a moustache," he told Ichigo. "Don't do it. Trust me."
"I refuse to kiss you like that," Future Rukia added pointedly to Ichigo, making him blush. "It feels like sandpaper. What else could I…oh! Inoue will try to get you to eat sardine wasabi ice cream," she told Rukia. "Don't. I was throwing up for a solid week."
"Inoue," Future Ichigo sighed. "Yeah, that whole situation was kind of…awkward. Just remember to let her down easy."
"Oh, and Nii-sama!" Future Rukia suddenly remembered. She looked meaningfully at Ichigo. "Don't worry about him. He doesn't really want to kill you."
"Says you!" scoffed Future Ichigo. He turned to his younger self. "Run. That's all I have to say."
"You're such an ass, Ichigo," Future Rukia hissed, causing the two to bicker once again. Anyone who didn't know better would wonder why the two married in the first place.
Finally, when it seemed that Future Rukia had won the argument again, Future Ichigo looked at his watch. "It's time to go," he told his wife, suddenly serious.
Future Rukia nodded, then looked at her past self. "We have to take him back now," she said, glancing at the sleeping baby. Ichiro could apparently sleep through anything.
Rukia nodded, but Ichigo noticed that she didn't release her secure hold on the child.
"Rukia," he said gently.
She looked at him in a surprised daze, as if she hadn't noticed he was sitting beside her. Then, running her fingers through her son's orange mop of hair, Rukia kissed Ichiro on the forehead and reluctantly handed him to Ichigo.
Ichigo held Ichiro in front of him, trying to memorize every detail. The violet eyes slowly opened and peered at him.
"Daddy," Ichiro sighed, smiling contentedly and closing his eyes again.
Ichigo hugged him, giving a rare smile. "Here," he said, his voice sounding strange. He placed Ichiro in Future Rukia's hands.
"Remember what we said," Future Rukia said, handing Ichiro to Future Ichigo. "This experience brought us together. If you don't send Ichiro back in time ten years from now, he could disappear entirely. If we never get together, he is never born."
"So the cycle never ends," Ichigo stated. "We time-travel for all of eternity."
Future Ichigo scratched his head. "I never thought of it that way."
Future Rukia rolled her eyes. "Baka, you just did."
Future Ichigo glared at her. "We don't have time for this, Rukia."
"You're right." She looked meaningfully at Ichigo and Rukia. "Remember what we said," she said, grabbing Future Ichigo's hand and leading him to the window. Then, they jumped into the night, taking Ichiro with them.
"I kind of like the look of a moustache," Ichigo murmured to himself.
Ichigo and Rukia walked down to breakfast the next morning looking extremely tired.
"You guys look like you didn't sleep at all," Yuzu said worredly.
"Helped with that paper, huh, Ichi-nii?" Karin smirked, chewing the food that Yuzu had already put in front of her.
Ichigo grunted and sat down next to Rukia. Yuzu served them both breakfast.
"Good morning, my loving family!" Isshin sang, bounding into the kitchen.
No one acknowledged his presence. Isshin frowned, debating whether or not he should make a big fuss complete with waterworks, but noticed one less person in the kitchen. "Where is our little bundle of joy?" he asked dramatically.
Karin looked around. "Yeah, now that you mention it…"
"His parents came to pick him up last night, Kurosaki-san," Rukia said matter-of-factly, delicately sipping her orange juice.
"Oh, what a tragedy! My first grandchild is gone!" Isshin said loudly, causing Ichigo to wince. "It's a good thing I have this picture of him."
All attention went to the picture in his hand. Ichiro was snuggled in bed—right in between Ichigo and Rukia, who faced each other. Ichigo's arm was slung over Rukia's waist and his mouth was open in a silent snore.
All of the color drained from Ichigo's face. "Where did you get that!?" he roared, lunging for the photo.
Isshin maneuvered away from his grasp easily. "I took it, of course. Don't worry, Daddy made lots of copies. You can each have one, if you want."
Ichigo continued to chase his father around the room. Rukia pretended that the photo didn't exist.
"I was thinking about blowing it up and hanging it next to Mommy," Isshin sniffed, plastering himself to the giant Masaki poster. "Oh, Masaki, our grandson is gone!"
While Ichigo gave his father a beat down, the girls finished their breakfast, ignoring the Isshin's cries. Finally, Rukia got up and pulled Ichigo off of his father by the collar of his shirt. "Time for school, Ichigo," she said merrily, dragging him through the front door.
She didn't let him go until they were a block away.
"I can't believe him!" Ichigo fumed, the tips of his ears still pink. "Crazy old man, taking pictures of people when they sleep."
Rukia didn't respond, just stared at him.
"Who knows how many copies he made! Shit, now I'll have to find every one of them and—"
"You love me, Kurosaki Ichigo?"
Her words stopped him dead in his tracks. He turned to her, a surprised look on his face. "What?"
She smiled smugly, her violet eyes dancing. "You do, don't you?"
Ichigo looked cornered. He fidgeted, staring at the ground and scratching his head. Finally, seeming to have found his resolve, he looked at her with a determined look on his face.
"I love you, Rukia," Ichigo said, his amber eyes burning into her soul.
Even though she knew, hearing him say it was completely different. Rukia ripped her eyes away from his penetrating ones. "I love you too, Ichigo," she replied nonchalantly, willing her heart to beat at a reasonable pace. She began walking again. "Come on, we're going to be late."
Neither of them was one for public displays of affection, but when their hands found each other, they figured that this one time wouldn't kill them.
"You do realize that we're going to have to tell Nii-sama," Rukia said, breaking the silence.
Ichigo balked. "Hell no!"
Rukia huffed. "Don't be a baby, Ichigo."
"Don't be a bitch, Rukia."
"What did you call me?!" she yelled, crushing his fingers in her grasp.
And thus, their story began.
Nothing changed. They put themselves in harm's way to help each other. Rukia drew (badly) and Ichigo made fun of her. Rukia hit Ichigo. They fought (a lot). More than ever, no one understood their relationship.
Well, maybe there was one difference. A hidden pocket in Ichigo's wallet held a picture of a sleeping boy and girl and a baby that would be born nine years later.
A/N: So, what did you think? Go on, press that pretty blue review button. Was there anything that you didn't particularly like? Something that I could improve? Go on, you know you want to!
By the way, you haven't seen the last of me. I'll post something new when inspiration strikes. Until then, read all of my fics and, if you liked them, recommend them to others. Thanks for your support!