A/N: Just wanted to drop a thank-you shout out to Nina, CJ, ashidofan, Carolina, sam-champloo, and cindy for the lovely, warm reviews and to all of you who are reading my first Bleach fic!
Here's the second and last chapter. I did feel a bit nervous trying to write this, and I only hope that it lives up to your expectations.
Let's Not Get Married
Ichigo and Renji finished off what was left of Rukia's meal before Ichigo went off to go find his girlfriend.
He first tried Kuchiki Manor, being the most logical place for him to find his girlfriend after an argument.
Rukia would storm off after either slapping him or calling him and idiot, and Ichigo would end up finding her at her family home under the protection of her older brother and servants who were too willing to say that she was out when he came over to make-up. Ichigo would be able to gage the weight and seriousness of the fight depending on who showed him to the door: servant meant she was mildly pissed but expected him to come, Byakuya meant that she was ready to ice his ass and would come apologize when she was ready.
On this occasion, Ichigo fully expected to see the man before him.
Byakuya Kuchiki stood in front of him, face nobly stoic and impassive. He didn't say it, but Ichigo could hear the question. "What are you doing here?"
"Is Rukia here Byakuya?" Ichigo asked. He wasn't that scared. He came often enough to be able to speak to her older brother. Often annoying the great Kuchiki by calling him by his first name.
A crease appeared between the noble's brows. "No," he said, annoyed, then suspiciously, "Why would she be here?" There was a lot implied on that last question, and Ichigo chose to ignore it.
Ichigo shrugged noncommittally.
The trees rustled right outside.
A clock ticked nearby.
The servants moved quietly around the house.
Finally, Ichigo looked up to meet Byakuya's stern gaze. "Are you sure?" The words slipped out before he could even filter them.
Byakuya's brow furrowed deeper. His words always came out after a beat of silence as to make the most impact. "Are you questioning my authority?"
Ichigo shook his head. "No. It's just that—"
Byakuya cut him off with a deadly look. Ichigo's eyes widened. The damn man possessed optical zankpakutos! Byakuya turned away without an apology. "I do not know where my sister is," he said simply, beginning to exit the room. "But I cannot say that I am surprised." He added, leaving Ichigo standing there, a little more bewildered than before.
A servant came up to him, Ichigo knew him to be the one who would throw candy outside every time Yachiru came to visit. "She really isn't here," he said quietly, apparently taking pity on him, handing him a candy.
Ichigo thanked him, took the candy, and shunpo-ed out without a clue as where to go next.
Ichigo wasn't getting much help from the rest of the Soul Society, and it was, in laymen's terms, getting him pretty pissed off. The only similarity in all the responses, Ichigo found, was the fact that none of them were very helpful:
"I'm sorry Kurosaki," Captain Ukitake said. "But Rukia hasn't been here since she left around lunch. She told me she went out to see you actually."
"I'm sorry Ichigo," Hanataro said apologetically. "I haven't seen Rukia all day. Is everything okay though?"
"What do you mean that you can't find Rukia? Are you two having a little lover's quarrel?" Rangiku asked animatedly.
"So you still haven't found her, eh?" Renji asked, holding his soul pager to his ear. He closed it after listening for a few minutes. "Sorry. She's not picking up. Why don't you get your own instead of wasting my soul pager's minutes?"
"So she finally dumped you," Ganju said magnanimously. "It really was only a matter of time. Ow— fuck Kūkaku!" He rubbed his head where his sister just slapped him.
"Matsumoto told me what happened at our Shinigami Woman's Association meeting, Ichi!" Yachiru yelled as Ichigo was running away. "But we're still voting over who we're siding with!"
"You're not going to let a tiny noble ruin your reputation are you?" Kenpachi growled. "I'm starting to think that your wimpy ass could use a beat down right about now—where the hell are you running off to?"
"It's Captain Hitsugaya," Toshiro corrected. "And no I haven't seen her, but you might want to have a talk with Rangiku. She's telling everyone that you two are in a serious quarrel."
"Ichigo you idiot! You're still looking for her?" Yoruichi asked, incredulous. "Kūkaku told me you were at her house earlier this afternoon. What the hell did you do?"
"So Ikkaku tells me that the great Ichigo Kurosaki was brought down by a certain petite shinigami," Yumichika said laughingly. "And you still can't find her?"
"Well, she is pretty small," Hisagi reasoned. "I can't blame you for losing her."
"Dammit to hell Kurosaki!" Ikkaku rubbed the red spot on his head where Ichigo just kicked him. "It's your own damn fault. How the hell would I know where she is anyway?"
He was getting damn annoyed right now. Because of stupid Rukia and her high and mighty nature, the entire Gotei 13 thought that they were broken up and that Ichigo was jilted. He also mentally cursed himself for using the word "jilted" in his thoughts. Yet another influence from Rukia, who loved to share anything from her romance novels.
After searching through the entire Soul Society, or so it felt like, Ichigo decided to walk back toward the Eleventh Division to find Ikkaku and beat the living shit out of him—if only to relieve his anger over not being able to find his own girlfriend.
By the time he gave up the search, the sun was beginning to set. It was funny really. It took years for him and Rukia to actually become an item, and he was able to ruin it within at least twenty-four hours.
He arrived at the Eleventh Headquarters and was surprised to find Rukia right where this mess started. She was sitting right on the roof of the building, right in sight-line of where they were sitting before, which to Ichigo meant that:
First, Rukia wasn't that mad at him. At least not mad enough to try to find the farthest, most remote place in the entire Soul Society where he couldn't find her.
And second, she saw him and Renji eat all of her food before he went out to look for her.
Then, he mentally slapped himself for not looking here in the first place. He jumped up to talk to her.
"You know you're a really hard to find person," Ichigo informed her, taking a few tentative steps toward where she was sitting, facing the setting sun. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his shinigami uniform, his shoulders slumping into bad posture.
She didn't reply, not even a turn of the head. Her Kuchiki mode was on, which was never a good sign.
"I tried Byakuya's, the Thirteenth Division, the Shibas, I even asked Hanataro." He reeled off, looking upwards as he recalled by memory. "Do you know how embarrassing it is not to be able to find your girlfriend? I swear Byakuya was about to petal-slice my ass." He turned to her to gage a reaction.
She gave him the briefest of glances before turning back to face the rest of the Soul Society and the darkening sky before her.
So that was how it was going to be, he thought. He almost missed this afternoon's Rukia who wasn't angry and who didn't want to marry him. Almost.
"Nice view," he tried again, following her gaze toward the red and orange sky.
"Yeah" Rukia shifted her position on her knees. "I was enjoying it until now."
Ichigo looked around. "I'm assuming that I should be hurt by that."
She smiled, lifting an inquisitive eyebrow. "Well that or I could just punch you?"
He took up the space behind her. Sarcasm was always a safe sign. "That won't be necessary." He assured her, spreading his legs far out in front of him. "And unfair seeing as we are on a roof."
"I was here first!" she pointed out. "You followed me."
"Maybe because I like being near you so much?" he rationalized, slowly wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her toward his him.
"Or maybe it's because you like a challenge?" she told him over her shoulder, allowing him to pull her close against his chest. Her back leaning against him as both their bodies faced the same direction.
Ichigo stopped mid-kiss and looked thoughtful for a moment. "That might be it," he agreed, bending down to peck her on the cheek. That accomplished, he went to move in on her mouth—
Rukia chuckled, turning away in time for him to catch her hair. She pulled his arms from around her waist and settled them with her own in her lap. "Well, in that case. Let's cut to the point shall we?"
"Okay," He pulled her closer, she was practically in his lap now. "So why exactly have we decided to not get married?"
She looked over her shoulder and kissed him on the cheek. "You never asked," she said simply.
It took him a second to even think about this. "Didn't I?"
She shook her head in the negative. "But it's fine that you haven't Ichigo," she told him with a meaningful look. "Because I never gave it much thought before."
"Well," Ichigo scratched his head. "I guess it's because we have such a good thing going for us."
"And why ruin it?" She asked, smilingly.
"Exactly…" He began to dip his head in for another kiss—
She pecked him on the lips instead, which Ichigo didn't have in mind. "I was thinking the same thing."
"Yeah those Squad Eleven shinigami are romantics," Ichigo went on, intertwining his hands within her own.
Rukia settled into his arms, nodding in agreement. They sat there silently, allowing a few minutes to tick by before Ichigo broke the silence.
He tightened his arms around her. "Rukia?" he asked close to her ear.
"Did you really mean what you said about not marrying me even if I were the last shinigami alive?"
She sighed, settling her head onto his shoulder. "Out of anger I did."
"Really?" Ichigo asked nonplused.
She felt him hug her tighter. "Because you see, I am the most recent shinigami alive," he pointed out. "Which technically makes me the last one."
"Oh?" She asked, sitting up a little straighter. He loosened his hold somewhat, and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Yeah," he went on, watching as their hands twined with one another. "And I see that as acquiescence…"
"You would." She lightly laughed.
"Which means that you really would if I'd ask you," he stated matter-of-factly, taking the opportunity to slowly swoop in for another kiss—
"Ichigo Kurosaki," she got out of his arms and turned to face him, breaking any contact they just had. Kiss denied. "Do you want to marry me?"
Ichigo felt his face heat. "That's my line."
"And that's not an answer."
Ichigo bowed his head and played with her hands, stalling.
"Aww Ichigo. I think you're blushing."
"No. No I'm not." He looked down, face burning hot.
"You are!" She pointed out, loudly.
He playfully shoved her, which Rukia wasn't ready to counter. She began to slip off of the roof, but was caught in time by Ichigo almost as if by reflex.
"Thanks." She said, seating herself across from him again.
"You're welcome." He looked up at her suddenly. "You know?" he asked, the idea just coming to mind. "I save you a lot."
"So it would seem."
"And I only think it fair that you repay your debt."
She looked up. "Debt?"
"Yeah," Ichigo was on a roll now. "As far as I can tell, I've saved your life plenty of times…"
"I've saved your life plenty of times too," she pointed out defensively.
"Yeah," he agreed carelessly, "but we're not even."
"Oh really?" she asked gamely.
"Yeah. In fact, I'd even say that you're here today because of me."
She rolled her eyes. "I highly doubt that."
"Really? Because last time I checked," he eyed her up and down, "you're still breathing."
"What of it?"
"Well, every exhale, inhale, sigh, whatever are thanks to me really. I should get royalties or something."
"Royalties?" She raised her eyebrows: Enlighten me.
"I only find it fair to say that you belong to me."
Rukia nodded in understanding, her mouth pinched with suspicion. "So you own me?"
Ichigo shrugged. "I guess you could say that."
"In what sense would you say then Ichigo?" He smirked, enjoying her annoyance.
"Well, with the dozen or so rescues that I've done for you, you're here today thanks to my selfless acts."
"Selfless! You're just too stubborn to let a fight go!"
"Just admit it!" He waved off her comments. "I own you Rukia Kuchiki. You're living today because of me."
"Whatever." She rolled her eyes again. "Because I highly doubt that."
"Believe what you want to Rukia, but the evidence stands," he looked at her significantly. "You are here, and you are still alive."
"Get to the point Kurosaki."
"It's only proper for you take my name and all," He said. "You're life's mine after all."
"Is that how this process works? I'm in your debt and you exploit me?"
He shook his head. "Exploitation is such a harsh word Rukia."
"I don't see how being my owner is any different."
"Not like materially," he went on. "That's rather shallow."
"Oh of course," Rukia replied automatically.
"But more in a symbiotic sense," he explained.
"Symbiotic?" she questioned.
"Equally belonging to each other," he went on. "I only find that fair seeing as you've come to be handy at saving my ass in return as you so adeptly pointed out."
"So…we owe each other our lives." She stated, her mouth began to slowly grow into a smirk.
"Yeah," Ichigo agreed, thoroughly pleased with himself. "So really this is our fault because now we're stuck with each other."
"As long as you know who has your life in her hands Kurosaki," she kissed him on the cheek.
"And to show my possession, I think a ring would do just fine." He said, circling a specific digit (the finger between the middle and the pinky on the left hand to be exact) with his own hands.
"And a ceremony. Something to send the message out to everyone."
"That does make it more official," Rukia agreed solemnly.
"Formal," Ichigo said. "You could wear a dress. I always did think white looked good on you."
"And," he leaned down. Their faces nearly touching. "We'd have to seal it with a kiss…"
Rukia smiled. "I see."
"It's only logical Rukia," he reasoned, pulling his face back.
"And I do owe you." She pointed out, playing with his chin, pulling it closer toward her.
"Yeah. Who else will protect your ass?"
She pulled back again. "Well, Renji, Byakuya, Ukitake," she reeled of. "Just to name a few."
"Yeah but they're busy being part of the Gotei. See, I have no prior engagements up until then," he explained reasonably.
"I see. So you're calling this an engagement?"
"A longstanding one," he added. "Your debt is rather large."
"Yeah. I think I'll have to add your first born child to my list."
"My mental list of things you owe me from now on," he stated as if he explained this before.
"Oh really? What else is on there?"
"The usual. Company, happiness, a few arguments where I win…"
"That's never going to happen."
"We'll have to see about that," He countered, gently tugging her arm to bring her closer.
"No." she moved toward him unconsciously. "I can promise you that that will never happen. In fact, I can foresee that that will never happen. Ever."
"Fine." he pulled her back to rest against his chest. "Moot point. But I still expect you to give me a child. Probably a few more, so he won't be lonely."
"He?" She turned to look at him over her shoulder. "What if it's a girl?"
"Then I wouldn't be calling it a he now would I?" He asked annoyed.
"You're being impossible."
"No, just practical," he continued. "We can argue about that later."
"Much, much later. I'd even estimate years really."
"Years?" she huffed. "Of this?"
"You can't complain! You've already promised."
"I'm guessing that there will be no take backs?" She asked sweetly.
Ichigo shook his head. "It's probably a bit late for that already. We've already settled the score."
Rukia laughed lightly, turning around to peck him on the cheek before facing the landscape. "I'm glad we decided not to get married," she sighed.
"Yeah," Ichigo agreed, swooping in for a real kiss. "That would've ruined it entirely."
Well, that's the end for you! Again, I hope it does live up to everyone's expectations. I really enjoyed writing this and hope you guys enjoyed reading it.
P.S. Per suggestion of CJ I'm adding this little snippet
Ichigo scowled. "No."
"Oh come on Ichigo!" Rukia pleaded. "Byakuya's already added a tremendous amount of pomp into this thing. Wouldn't it just be better to go do it ourselves?"
"Believe me," he said. "I'd rather do that, but I also want to be able to live until then instead of getting myself chopped up by millions of pink tinted foliage."
"I've read it before," Rukia dug through her backpack for one of her romance novels. "Here!" she pointed at the back of one of them. "It's called an eeee—loapuh—mint." She read. "Elopement. It's so romantic…"
"That's it," Ichigo snatched the paperback from her hands, barely looking at the cheesy cover. "We're not copying any of your ideas that come from this book."
She pouted as he placed the book far out of her reach. Seeing her scowl, he bent down and kissed her on the nose.
"But you can put the strawberry and black haired chappies on top of the cake if you want," he compromised.
Rukia's eyes brightened, leaning up so she could kiss him full on the lips, her arms intertwining around his neck. He was only too willing to continue and return with equal enthusiasm. It was pretty much worth putting two bunny-look-alikes onto their cake.
"Ichigo?" She whispered against his mouth.
She leaned back to break their contact, "What kind of speech is your father planning?"
Ichigo looked perplexed. "I don't know. Why do you ask?"
"Because he keeps asking me if there're any words that rhyme with 'Nantucket' to describe our relationship and if I have any baby photos."
Ichigo groaned and set his fiancé back onto her feet. "Fine." he said. He looked around them. "Where's that book?"
Okay, that's it! Thanks for reading!