One More Time

Disclaimer: Bleach and all its related characters belong to Tite Kubo-sensei.

Summary: No matter how long it will take, I will find you. No matter how far I have to go, I will find you. No matter how many lives I have to live, I will find you. I will find you, just wait for me…

"Just wait for me…" the whispered words brought her back to reality and she find herself staring at her ceiling, clenching tight at her blankets. Sweat soaked through her clothes even when rain slowly falling to the ground just outside her windows.

"That dream again…" she said out loud, trying to shake off the empty feeling she felt every time she dreamt about it.

Funny as it sounded, she never could remember what the dream was about. All she remember was it was something really important for her. Something she cherished, while dreaded at the same time. Something she longed for, while afraid of knowing at the same time. Something that gave warmth to her heart, while shredding it at the same time.

Something that she should had remembered, but somehow forgotten.

"How silly is that," she laughed as she climbed down from her bed.

Dismissing the feeling, she walked to her bathroom. School was about to start soon.

---

"You don't look okay," Orihime chirped after her best friend sat on the chair.

"I'm okay. I just don't get much sleep last night," answered Rukia as she unwrap her lunch; a sandwich and a box of warm milk bought from the cafeteria.

"And you don't get enough nutrition if you kept eating like that. No wonder you're so skinny. You should be eating like me. See, I'm eating enough carb, protein, all kinds of vitamins and minerals," Orihime shoved her own lunch to Rukia's face, completely oblivious as Rukia's purple face.

"She's fine, Orihime. Not everyone has strong stomach like you," Tatsuki came to the rescue by taking the multicolor ingredients Orihime called as her lunch.

"What's wrong with my lunch," Orihime pouted while picking up what seemed to be one-thousand-year-old mushroom before putting it into her mouth.

"Nothing's wrong with your lunch, Hime. Tatsuki's just jealous cause she can't cook," Chizuru slithered her hands around Orihime's waist and pulled her closer.

"I am not, and get your hands off her, you perverted four-eyes," veins popped on Tatsuki's forehead while she dragged Chizuru a few feet away from Orihime.

"Aaaaah, can someone please tell me where I can have a quiet and peaceful lunch without being disturbed with weird foods, pervert gestures and violence?" the coolest among the group, Kunieda Ryou complained.

"Don't worry about them Ryou, they'll come to their senses soon enough," Mahana laughed.

"I think it's rather refreshing, especially in this cloudy day. Ne, Rukia-chan?" Michiru turned her head to Rukia only to find her friend's head rested on the table while her sandwich hung from her mouth.

"Ara… she's sleeping."

"My lady, we are surrounded," her servant informed her with trembling hands. Tears stained her face.

"How many soldiers are left?" she asked with a steady voice.

"Only…" the servant sobbed, "Only Tetsu and his men."

The servant fell to the ground and her tears rolled from her cheeks onto her kimono and the tatami. Only when she felt a pair of soft hands gripping her shoulders did she looked up to her master's violet eyes.

"I'm sorry to have dragged you to such a place. I only have one more favor to ask you before your freedom," she said, smiling to her most devoted servant.

She let her servant's shoulders go and reached for her own obi, pulling out a small knife. The servant gasped before howling into a louder cry.

"Masami…" the woman cupped the younger woman's cheek, "Please stop crying…"

"You can't do that! Our lord… our lord… he will definitely come here to save us! Save you!" Masami gripped her master's kimono tightly.

But her master simply smiled at her.

"He will. But it will be too late. They will get to me first. And I refuse to be used against my own husband. This… is all I can do as his wife."

"No…" Masami shook her head, still refusing to let go of her master's kimono.

"Please, Masami…" she pleaded when Masami refused to move from her spot on the ground, "They're getting closer."
Masami glanced to the paper door and heard what had made her master hurried. The clashing of swords and shouting were heard from the stairs.

"After I'm… gone. Cut some of my hair and take the secret passage. It'll lead you to the mountain. Whatever it takes, please give it to my husband and tell him not to come here. Tell him that… my body is nothing more than an empty shell so there is no use for him to retrieve it, for my soul will always be with him."

She gave her servant's arm one last squeeze before kneeling on the tatami and removing the sheath from her small knife.

"No, My lady. Please come with me. You can say anything you want to the Lord. But please don't do this. He… he will be waiting for you, my lady! He hasn't heard about the baby! He will be very happy if he knows…" Masami begged once again, hanging on her master's hand.

"Masami…" the lady whispered and patted her maid's head, "Thank you for all this years. You've done more than enough. But please… don't tell him about the baby."

That was when tears rolled down the young lady's cheeks as she caressed her stomach where she knew a life was forming and how cruel it was to end it even before it had the chance to see the world.

But a happy ending was something extravagant to have at such times.

Before her resolve started to tumble down, the young lady gripped her knife harder and smiled at her wide-eyed servant.

"Please tell him that… I love him," was what she said for the last time before thrusting the tip of her knife to her own throat.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!" Rukia screamed at the top her lung.

It took her several seconds to realize her surroundings.

She was sweating profusely, panting hard, in the middle of the class, where everyone's eyes were on her including her teacher's who was frozen in the middle what seemed to be an effort to wrote something on the blackboard.

"A…a… a… a… are you okay Kuchiki-san?" the teacher finally stuttered.

"Rukia, you okay?" Tatsuki, who sat next to her came and touched her cheeks, "God, you're burning. Sensei, I'm gonna take her to the infirmary."

"Ye… ye… yes, thank you Arisawa-san," the teacher stuttered again as Tatsuki passed in front of her with Rukia in tow.

"You sure you're okay?" Tatsuki frowned at Rukia on the bed after she succeeded to take her safely to the infirmary.

"I'm okay. You should go back to class," she gave Tatsuki her weak smile even when she did that another wave of nausea hit her, forcing her to keep her throat closed.

Tatsuki finally sighed in defeat, "Okay. You just rest here. I'll come get you after class."

And all Rukia could afford to offer as answer was a nod.

A few minutes after Tatsuki left, Rukia probed her throat.

The dream felt real. Real enough for her to felt the knife thrust into her throat.

"What is happening to me? Am I going crazy?" she whispered as she rested her hand on her forehead.

Her cold hands felt amazingly soothing against her heated head, and she began lulled back to sleep.

A set of strong and calloused fingers gripped her wrist softly before removing it from her forehead.

She frowned and slowly opened her eyes, feeling annoyed at the annoying intrusion on her silent nap. She was ready to spat at the perpetrator when she found she was staring into a pair of familiarly amber eyes. The eyes that had her captivated for the longest time.

"Have you been good while I was away?" he gave her his usual frown and a matching grin.

"And what makes you think I will behave other than good while you were away?" she crossed her arms on her chest even when all she wanted was wound those arms around her lover's waist.

"Well, I don't recall sleeping on a tree could be considered as how a lady should act," he laughed.

And she suddenly realized that she was indeed, lying on a rather big trunk while her kimono was wrinkled for being forced to served as a hakama rather forcefully.

"I… I… I was just…" she stuttered as blush began creeping to her cheeks.

"I don't mind, really. I just…" he traced his fingers on his wife's ankle, "…don't want anyone to see your exposed skin."

His amber eyes find her violet ones once again and they smiled at each other.

As breeze passed through the savannah, she couldn't help but feeling amazed at how much she loved when the wind played with her husband's ridiculously orange hair.

"Okaeri," she smiled at him, wider than ever.

"Tadaima."

"…maybe we should call her brother to pick her up," the whispers were finally started to be understandable to her and she slowly opened her eyes to see her friends had surrounded the bed with worried looks.

"Tatsuki, she's awake," Chizuru nudged Tatsuki with her elbow.

"Rukia, are you okay?" Ryou frowned, "Should I call your brother?"

Rukia shook her head and tried to sit. Several pairs of arms offered their help.

"I'm okay now. I'll just need to get my bag," she said with a hoarse voice.

"We got them," Orihime wave the bag in her hand.

"Here, let me take you home," Tatsuki helped her off the bed.

"Thanks, Tatsuki."

---

What did those dreams meant? She asked herself. When it all started, it was nothing but a vague dream, blurred images, and inaudible voices. Something she would immediately forget the minute she woke up. But those last dreams were as vivid as if… it was played on a projector in her head or as if… she experienced it herself.

After she got home last Friday, all she did was sleeping. It was weird in its own way, since she didn't want to see those dreams again but she couldn't fight the desire to see what the dreams might offer.

And with each dreams, the images were getting clearer. Especially images of a certain man whose eyes were the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen.

Rukia knew better than anyone that falling in love with someone who only existed in her dreams was laughable. But she couldn't lie to herself that that was exactly what she was experiencing no matter how hard she had tried to convince herself the other way.

Rukia clutched her bag tighter as she walked on the river banks path leading to her school. It was still halfway to her school so she let her mind wander to her last dream.

"Tetsu will take you to a safe place," he said while cupping her cheeks with both hands.

"Don't worry about me. Do what you have to do, and return safely to me," she leaned to his palms and closed her eyes.

"Just… wait for me, okay?" he whispered before pressing his lips to her forehead.

"You make it sounded like I'm going to the Kingdom of Ming," she laughed.

"If going to Ming keeps you safe, go," he said.

She meant it as a joke, but he took it seriously.

"If I go to Ming, it'll take you forever to come and take me home," she laughed again. Her husband's seriousness was started making her worried more.

"Listen to me," he brought his face level with hers even she was at least one head shorter that her, "No matter how long it will take, I will find you. No matter how far I have to go, I will find you. No matter how many lives I have to live, I will find you. Just promise me… that you will wait for me."

She gaped at him for a second as she tried to steady her heart when all of a sudden it started to beat faster. Then she smiled again and reached for his face. A soft and small thumb caressed the rough skin above his cheek bone.

"I promise," she assured him.

With that, he brought his lips to hers and gave her a soft kiss before reluctantly pulling away.

"I will see you again," he said for the last time before turning away from her.

When she saw his broad back slowly disappearing into the horizon, carried away by his pure black stallion, somehow she knew that that was the last time she was going to see her husband.

And she broke down to tears.

Rukia remembered she woke up with a start after that. With tears on her face. She didn't quite understand the reason why, but she spent the rest of the night crying.

It was easy to wipe out the tear stain on her face, but what was hard to hide were her puffy eyes.

"Rukia. What happened to your eyes?" Orihime was the first one to greet her in class.

"I… had a bad dream," she murmured.

"Does that involve mummies and wrestlers? I once had a nightmare that I was forced to see mummies wrestled on a K1 match," Orihime shuddered.

Rukia laughed softly. Her friend's imagination never failed to entertain her.

---

"I heard our neighbor class has a new transfer student," Mahana swallowed her rice.

"Another one? That's the… 3rd this year. How come we never had one?" asked Michiru.

"That's because our Ochi-sensei thinks that our class is crowded enough as it is," Ryou answered while still reading her book.

"Is it a boy or a girl?" Chizuru rubbed her palms together, eager for an answer.

"I heard it's a boy," Mahana, the forever gossip girl, answered.

Chizuru snorted in disgust, "We had enough boys already. What we need is more sexy gi… yeow!"

The last word was resulted from Tatsuki's precise aim. A shoe landed exactly in the middle of Chizuru's forehead.

"Pervert," was what Tatsuki murmured.

"Are you sure you're okay, Rukia-chan?" Orihime frowned after examining her friend.

Rukia's lunch left unopened on the grass, and she nodded at the busty girl before looked around at her surrounding. Her six best friends were gathering under a large tree on their school's yard, enjoying their own lunch.

After one week of non-stop rain, the sun was finally appeared on the sky. Somehow she felt better than before. Her heart beat faster as if anticipating something. And deep down inside, she felt something coming. Something she had waited for a long time.

"Ah, I guess that's the new transfer student?" Michiru peeked from behind the tree, and the rest of the group, minus Rukia, followed suit.

"Yikes. Another punk."

"I wonder why the principal would let him in with such hair."

"I think it's kinda cute. Makes me want to eat orange."

Rukia turned her head towards her friends.

Orange?

Ever so slowly, she crawled to join her friends and see for herself the subject of her curiosity.

The minute she laid eyes of the said transfer student, a strangled shout forced itself out of Rukia's mouth. And she stood in reflex.

Six pairs of her friends' eyes turned to watched her instead, and with an extra pair of brown eyes.

"Are you okay, Rukia?" Tatsuki tilted her head upon seeing her friend's eyes began forming tears.

"Oh, my god. Here he comes, here he comes," Mahana whispered while tugging her friends to return to their original positions.

She was almost succeeded when all of them sat back on the grass, except for one frozen Rukia.

"Ruki…" Mahana about to began when the boy came to her vision, and she pretended to play with her noodles.

Rukia tried her hardest to keep her wobbled feet steady as he came closer with each step. His familiar smile accompanied him all the way.

He stopped only a step away from where she stood.

"You…" she whispered, feeling something wet rolling on her cheeks.

She did nothing when he reached out and wiped the tears.

"I told you, didn't I?" He said, "No matter how long it will take, no matter how far I have to go, no matter how many lives I have to live, I will find you."

"And I promised you that I will wait," she choked.

His grin widened, "Have you been good while I was away?"

She laughed even with tears kept running down her face, "And what makes you think I will behave other than good while you were away?"

He laughed then leaned closer to her until he rested his forehead against hers.

"Okaeri," she breathed.

"Tadaima."

-fin-

A/N:Yeah, my one-shot!!! I know I should've been working on my other fics. But this fic was nagging me every where I go. So I think I'll give it a shot. I had fun writing this, and I wrote this in like half an hour. I'm not sure about the rating though. Nothing really disturbing in this fic except for the suicide scene. Oh, and sorry for the OOC-ness. Can't help it. As for the Japanese part, I'm pretty sure that 'okaeri' means welcome home and 'tadaima' means 'I'm home'. And the 'Ming kingdom' I refer to in this fic is China in ancient times (I think it was called Ming). Corrections are welcomed considering how fast I wrote this, so there must be lots of mistakes. Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this (confusing, OOC) one-shot.