Chapter One: Final Moments, A Friendship Broken?

It has been three months since I went back to the Soul Society. Three months since I last saw Ichigo. It was getting to me apparently, since my new hobby was staring out my window wondering what life in the living world was like right now. I wondered if he was staring out his window wondering what it was like here. Maybe he shared the same mysterious depression that had been unraveling out of somewhere within my soul. I had not planned to head back there anytime soon, but my plans may have to be altered if my mood continues to drop as it had been. Today the world seemed to be at a standstill. Nothing was alive out there in the world; only my imagination seemed to bear any life. Only thoughts of him brought a color to this world, as well as a misery I couldn't seem to figure out.

"What're you doing in here looking depressed for?" His voice caught my attention, and I looked away from the window that seemed to contain my life in it. He stood there with a goofy grin on his face, his voice bearing the same edge of playfulness it always did. His deep red hair was pulled back as usual, and he wore a black headband to comply with his uniform. Renji, how could I live without him?

"I'm not depressed. What're you doing here?"

"Don't be stupid. I was looking for you, obviously." He leaned up against the wall, and continued to look me over as though I had some kind of hidden injury he was looking for. I returned his gawking with one of my "you're the stupid one" glances.

"I'm not stupid. What do you want?" My voice was whiney, high pitched. A voice that suggested a playful annoyance.

"Can't I stop by to say hi anymore? I don't want anything."

"Oh." I felt stupid, but tried to hide it as much as I possibly could.

"You haven't been acting right since we left the world of the living. Don't tell me you miss it already."

"Of course not." I glared at him with suspicious eyes. What was he getting at? He remained leaning against the wall, but now instead of looking at me, he was staring up at the ceiling, all signs of his regularly irritating self had disappeared. He was thinking about something, he wasn't here just to say hi, I knew it from the beginning.

"It's Ichigo, isn't it?" His voice almost sounded like he was masking some kind of sadness, I could barely hear the tone in his voice, but there was certainly sorrow within his voice.

"No. Even if it was, what's it to you," I still tried to keep my playful attentiveness towards the situation, but even that was slowly starting to slip away as the conversation deepened.

"I can tell you want to go back there. You're missing him… I'm just wondering where I fall in all of this."

What? What was he asking? Where was this sudden emotion coming from that was filling the room? I don't share emotions like these with Renji, we never have shared any kind of bond besides friendship… what was he trying to make this out to be? I never felt like this around him before, but his words seemed to touch something deep inside me. Some hidden feeling that I had long since hid from the world was suddenly emerging. I knew before that I had loved him, but I also knew I couldn't show it; that was weakness in my eyes.

"Are you serious Renji?"

"I'm trying to have a normal conversation here," he scowled at me, and suddenly his playful mood was returning, but only for a second, then I could feel tension again as he straightened himself up, shoving this attitude out the door.

"I wouldn't call this a normal conversation. What's with you today?"

"Not what's with me Rukia. You have been visibly depressed for the past three months; don't think you're hiding anything from anyone."

With that, he left the room without another word. I felt the urge to run after him and let my sorrow disappear. I wanted to find comfort in him, to look at him as something other than a friend. However, was this just so I could use him to save myself from this state of depression I was falling into? Or did his words somehow uncover this feeling of something deep between us. Love.

I couldn't love Renji, that wasn't right. Yet, somehow, I found myself on my feet walking towards the door to get him before he disappeared until another day. I didn't want to wait another day; I wanted to see him again now. I wanted to have comfort in something around this place to fill in for what I was wanting from the world of the living.

"Wait, Renji…" I called out uncharacteristically soft, quiet…desperately. He turned around and had a soft look to his eyes, one I had never seen before, or never bothered to notice. No, he wasn't soft. He was foolish, annoying Renji that I knew since I was a child. He was never soft. Ever. I was allowing my imagination to get the best of me.

"What…" he stopped once I was next to him, looking at him with desperate eyes, wanting eyes. The look he gave me in return was confused, but satisfied. He put one arm around me as though to test if I was going to allow it, before placing the other one around me as well. I took a deep breath, then relaxed in his arms. At first, he was struck with an uncertain shock, but he eventually relaxed as well. The moment was brief, but long deserved on his part. He had been there for me; I noticed this for once in my life at this moment. For this brief moment, my mind seemed to catch up on all the memories of him being there for me, the moments I hadn't noticed before. I had always been happy with him; he practically had been my life for a large part of the past.

"I've got to go for a meeting…" he paused after saying this before releasing me, and then he turned away from me and left without another word. I stood there and watched him walk away, wondering how we would endure through this one. Next time I saw him, I knew things wouldn't be the same between us. It seemed as though when he left, a piece of my heart went with him. That should have put more ties onto our relationship, but it felt to me as though it had somehow broken the connection we had known between each other for years. I remained standing there for a long while after he had left, my eyes still waiting to see him return. Longing to be in his arms again. This wasn't normal; I never longed for anything more than company out of him. Yet, I felt so secure in his arms. My whole life seemed to be complete during that small moment with him, like our lifetime friendship had finally been extended into something else, something we had both wanted to feel. The whole feeling was confusion; had I gained, or lost from this? I did not know, and wouldn't know until we met again. All these thoughts were simply accusations of what I thought the future had to hold for us.

When I returned to my room, I went back to my same position by the window. My violet eyes caught the reflection of the world outside, and somehow, this time it seemed even darker than the last. This feeling appeared to be mutual with someone else out there; I could feel a connection between us.

Ichigo. When will we meet again?

Yes, this is kind of an IchixRuki & RukixRenji-ish fic.I am a complete IchixRuki lover and would never want another pairing with either one of them… but it just seemed to fit xD I have to try something new, right? And this will be my first chapter fanfic for Bleach, so we'll see how it goes. Please give me critiques as well as comments if you have read this, it really does encourage me to do another chapter . And I must thank my friend for the title D