AN: Hmm...this story is well, created upon the request of my cousin and friend who loves the pair. So, err...I really have nothing to say yet...To be honest, I don't have the time to create another story given the fact that I have some other stories left unfinished but then again, since I have not gathered my ideas on how to continue with my other stories, I decided to actually indulge my cousin and friend a little. Hehehehe.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

Unknown to him, he had been followed by a group as they watched a certain orange head walk down the streets with his head bend down so low. They watched with sympathy as it was the only thing they could offer him and nothing more.

They could not understand why…he was supposed to be protecting her…heck he is the one who wanted to protect her as much as two others wanted to…he went as far as battle anyone who wanted to harm her…

Only…for him to harm her in the end…

"You can't kill him. I won't allow you," the blond merchant said sternly at one man who stood beside him with his hands ready to draw his sword. He looked as dangerous than he already is…his imposing aura more sinister now for the one who was hurt was none other than hi s little sister who had been stationed as the resident Shinigami for the town.

"Give me one reason why I won't kill him," he said so slowly…so softly and so calmly that Urahara and his apprentice, Yoruichi and some others who were there watching the poor kid, actually flinched at the threat underlying the tone. Words are not necessary to say that this man is actually menacingly angry now despite the stoic façade he used.

"Have a heart Byakuya…he is broken, can't you tell that by yourself? Besides, if she were here, she would not have allowed it. Heck your sister is in love with the boy."

That made him angrier than he already is. Damn this guy…ever since she met him, trouble had always been her companion. If it were not for him, she would not have been almost executed although Byakuya grudgingly thanked the kid for coming there to save her. However that does not change the fact that she had been completely changed from the time she met the human and the noble is far from amused about the idea of it.

He clenched his fist before finally turning to his heels.

"Where are you going Byakuya?" Urahara asked in curiosity.

"That's not your business. I do not wish to hear about him anymore."

In a flash, he already left leaving Yoruichi slightly amused. At least they were able to stop him before he goes out after Ichigo.

He stared at the gravestone as his hands were slid in the pocket. It had already been almost a month since his blade was stained with her blood. He does not know why but he woke up just to see her lying frigid on the floor with the pool of her own blood.

Shocked, horrified…he does not know but just the sight of her there with his soul slayer just a few inches beside her made him tremble in deathly agony.

He had hurt the only person he vowed to protect and save…he had hurt the person who was so close to him…

Hey King.

Ichigo pretended not to have heard the voice of his counterpart as he stood there…damn…he was the one who brought her demise….he was so sure he was killing an enemy…but why did it end up with Rukia?

The memories of that one night when the enemy appeared came rushing back. Peace had started to take over Soul Society and Karakura Town as Aizen's men were obliterated except for the Aizen himself who retreated when faced with a great number of captains.

That happened six months ago.

Then Rukia and him were out patrolling that night when they felt a Hollow's presence and to their shock…it was an Arrancar…Aizen had created another army to continue with his foiled plan.

And he would grudgingly admit that the Arrancar has enough strength to be part of Aizen's 10 Espada. Rukia and him were having a little difficulty until he resorted to his bankai. He was very sure that it was the enemy he was attacking…but…his eyes widened when the black sword pierced through Rukia's body…

He could remember the look of horror on her eyes as she stared at him…not believing he really did kill her…

King, listen to me damn it!

What is it you want? He asked his counterpart in a very detached manner.

That freaking Arrancar did something back there! We could not have killed our Rukia-chan! Do you hear me?

Ichigo could hear the desperation in the Hollow's voice as he tried to seek an assurance that it was not him who really killed the woman he vowed to protect with his own life….

Odd how he and the Hollow inside him felt the need to protect her…ever since he had learned to suppress the Hollow, the latter had submitted to him and although he had threatened Ichigo that he would take over if given the chance, the Hollow had learned to really submit to Ichigo.

I swear –

"Kurosaki-kun?"

The one sided conversation was interrupted by the appearance of the buxom lady who looked at him worriedly. Ichigo just looked at her and looked away again. He does not need anyone to pity him as he is now…he does not need anyone except Rukia…

"It is going to start raining soon. Let's go home now," she urged gently as Ichigo stared heavenwards waiting for the teasing rain to come taunt him for taking the second woman in his life next to his mother.

Rain…odd but it is starting to rain inside him again. In fact he could hear his Hollow muttering some unprintable oath. But nothing registered on his mind except the scene that unfolded him when he woke up and found her dead…as she started to turn into spirit particles.

"Kurosaki-kun?"

This time he turned to look at her and muttered an apology before walking away. Inoue Orihime watched in sadness as her eyes focused on the retreating form o f the man she loves so much.

"He needed you now Orihime. He needed someone. Rukia is gone," Urahara said as he fanned his face.

Orihime stared at the merchant hesitantly not sure if she's really prepared for it but then as long as it concerned Kurosaki Ichigo…she would give her all to help him…

She looked at the sky as tears brimmed her eyes. Why is it that no one was able to sense the Arrancar? Why is it that no one felt the strong pressure?

Kurosaki-kun…tell me what to do to help.

"What the hell is happening with Ichigo? It had been almost three months," Ishida said to Orihime as he adjusted his glasses. They stared at the two vacant seats…one which was supposedly occupied by Rukia and the other was by Ichigo…he had been absenting himself lately.

"Kurosaki-kun needed someone to help him gather his resolve," Orihime answered. "I will help him in whatever way I can."

Resolve…Ishida shook his head…

Ever since her death, Ichigo lost his resolve to fight…he never turned into a Shinigami once.

"I know…I can't be as much help like Kuchiki-san…but I will do my best," Orihime continued as Ishida and Chad listened to her, noting the uncertainty in her voice. Of course they know she is trying everything but they also knew that no one can really take the place of Kuchiki Rukia.

She is the only one capable of bringing the old Ichigo back.

"Inoue – "

"He just needed time Ishida-kun. He needed them then slowly, he would pick himself up."

Hope so, Ishida said to himself not wanting to discourage the lady who seemed to have fallen hard for the orange-head.

*****************

Please review on this one. I appreciate those who would leave some reviews.