Author's Note: Please enjoy this short epilogue, and thank you for reading Passion.
Disclaimer: Bleach, and all related characters, plot ideas, locations, abilities, (ect.) are the property Tite Kubo and affiliates. I claim no rights to any copyrighted works. I certify that my ideas are all original. Any similarity to actual people, locations, events, books, anime, manga, movies, other works of fanfiction (ect.) are entirely coincidental.
Several years later
"If there are any who object to this union, speak now, or forever hold your peace."
Ichigo scanned the crowd at the first of his two weddings. They would have another in a few days, back in the real world, where his family and friends could attend. The attendees at their first wedding were mostly Shinigami, along with Sado, Uryū, and Orihime. But there was one face in particular that Ichigo sought.
Byakuya Kuchiki was seated in the front, and when Ichigo found him, his face was impassive. He did not smile, but he did not frown. He merely met Ichigo's gaze and nodded.
I still have his blessing. I will not abuse it. I will protect his sister to my dying day.
Yamamoto, who was conducting the ceremony, finished scanning the crowd for any objections. "If none object… Do you, Ichigo Kurosaki, accept this woman as your wife? Do you vow to protect her and love her for all time? Do you pledge your life and your Zanpakutō to Rukia Kuchiki?"
Ichigo met Rukia's eyes, saw the fire in them and was enthralled as if it were his first time seeing the woman he had grown to love more than life itself. There was no question in his heart or mind about whether he loved her.
"And do you, Rukia Kuchiki, accept this man as your husband? Do you vow to protect and love him for all time? Do you pledge your life and your Zanpakutō to Ichigo Kurosaki?"
Ichigo could see her love for him. Despite all the arguments and all the fights, despite everything that threatened to tear them apart, Rukia had stood beside him through it all.
"Then by the authority of the Gotei 13, I now pronounce you man and wife." Yamamoto turned to Ichigo. "You may kiss the bride."
Ichigo didn't need to be told twice. The woman that he loved was now his wife, at least as far as the Soul Society was concerned. Rukia Kurosaki. He liked the sound of that.
Ichigo stood apart from the crowd, watching as Rukia mingled with her closest friends. His solitude was short-lived as a figure advanced. This man was once his enemy. Now, his brother-in-law. Byakuya Kuchiki stood beside Ichigo, looking out at Rukia as well. For several minutes there was a calm silence between them, but Byakuya had approached with a purpose.
"You love her, Kurosaki." It was not a question. Ichigo simply nodded. "And she has a fire inside her that burns only for you. I think it has always been this way. Ever since the night I came to bring her back to Soul Society, and perhaps longer." Another moment of silence. "I entrust her to you. Keep her safe." And Byakuya was gone.
"You seem to have a certain fondness for my legs, Ichigo."
His hand trailed up and down her soft, smooth thigh. "Are you just now figuring that out?"
"No," Rukia purred, cuddling up against her husband. "It's just the first time it occurred to me to point it out." She playfully bit at his ear.
"They are kind of responsible for all this." Rukia gave Ichigo a quizzical look. "Remember, that night when I walked in on you shaving your legs."
"Our first kiss." Rukia smiled at the memory. "Of course, you still should have knocked before you barged in."
"Well you should have closed the—"
Rukia silenced her husband with her lips. Why fight when there were other, much more fun, outlets for their passion?
Author's Note: The end, for real this time. That makes me kind of sad… but I'm glad that I was able to share this with all of you, and I hope many more readers will be able to enjoy it in the future. Take care, and best of luck with all of your future fanfiction endeavors.