Epilogue ! Oh my gawd, can you guys believe it ? I'll be honest right now, I'm actually typing this chapter up BEFORE I even finish chapter …. 24 is it ? I forgot, but it's the one after "I'm in love with you"

I was just so excited with this idea that I HAD to write it down and get it over with ! I truly have a good idea for this one , and you guys are going to hate me for it , but I really like this idea ;D

EDIT: Grrr , I decided to go with the HAPPY ending … so uhm , you guys aren't going to hate me after all(:

ANOTHER EDIT: Haha ! Welcome back to hating me ;D I'm so sorry ! But I just really liked how my first epilogue turned out and I had already written it and it was pretty good in my opinion and it would KILL me not to post it … so I managed to combine the two(:

AWH CRAP ANOTHER EDIT: Fine ! You greedy mongrels freaking win ! Happy ending ! There ! Are you satisfied !

Please so enjoy this little bugger !

For those of you who don't know (because I know for a long time I didn't know) an Epilogue is the last chapter in a book where it pretty much sums up everything that has happened over a long period of time (doesn't necessarily have to be a long period of time , but that's how it usually goes .)

So the time period for this story ? It's been 6 years . Well , let's look at where Ichigo and Rukia are now; 6 years later .

By the way, I know Ishida is the last name, but the first name is so hard to write ! So I'm just going to pretend Ishida is the first name(:

Summary: Rukia stopped believing in love after a traumatic accident killed her lover, Kaien. But after years of avoiding human contact, a certain orange headed kid comes into her life and changes her view on this thing called love.

Warning: You may either want to stab me or throw your arms around me and give me the biggest hug possible.

Disclaimer: Damn, we're finally done, and I still don't own Bleach!

Rukia wiped the sweat forming on her forehead with the back of her hand, sighing exasperatedly once she noticed how the small action had caused her to smear blue paint onto her face. With a tired grunt, she reached over for the (dry) paint stained towel and used it to clean off the smear from her skin. She sighed and set down the paint brush in her other hand. She admired her work, letting a grin find its way to her face as she pulled a strand of ebony hair behind her ear and out of her face. Her artwork had definitely approved over time and she held no shame in admitting that she was proud to be such an accomplished artist.

Her paintings had made their way to the public in the last few years at such an astounding rate, it felt like just yesterday the journalist was shoving a mic in her face and asking her how she had become so talented. At first, she didn't really think she could ever pull off something like her own business of selling her own art online and at the convenience of her home, but as time progressed, so did her handiwork. She was very much skilled when it came to creating masterpieces nowadays. It started with small garage sales, and before she knew it, her work was out in museums for the world to see. It really astonished her how far she had come from working in the basement of her sister and brother in-law's basement –to owning her very own studio in the city. She was the rare, successful artist she had always dreamed of being. She had even taken up sculpting, which wasn't exactly her strong suit, but the oddly shaped and distorted pottery work strangely sold fairly well.

Rukia beamed at her painted and momentarily closed her eyes, imagining everything she had gone through to get to this point in her life; everything she had given up, sacrificed, fought, and worked for. Rukia sighed and opened her eyes, letting herself vision that moment when her first painting sold, when the reporter came up to her and called her "The next Leonardo Da Vinci!" That was when she truly decided she was going to take her talent and show it to the world –no matter if it were online, at her studio, or from the luxurious placate of her home.

Rukia grinned and grabbed her cup of warm coffee from the table near her canvas, feeling her liquid sapphire eyes grow heavy with exhaust. She had been up all night working on this piece for a client that requested a beautiful portrait of her and her husband on their wedding day, and it was due tomorrow. She had completely forgotten about the assignment until said bride called her up on her business phone –yes, she had a business phone now- and asked how the project was coming along. Dumbstruck and sputtering out her hot tea, Rukia stumbled over herself as she lied and said it was coming along just fine and that it would be done by tonight. She had become quite the busybody over the past few weeks –more like months, maybe years- and it just totally slipped her mind.

She completed a wonderful piece of work in one night and she felt tired and exhausted, as well as overly joyful and proud. Rukia sipped at her coffee, approving the painting with hawk like eyes, looking for every and any mistake she may have made –although she doubted that considering she slaved over this one until the bags under her eyes weighed more than her entire body. But she had to be sure, just in case in her sleepy state, she missed something.

Her coffee slid easily down her throat, warming up her entire body as it did so and she sighed in content. All she needed to do now was sign her name at the bottom and she'd be done, officially.

In the last 6 years –yes, it had been 6 whole years since she went to college and really started her life- everything had changed so much for her, for everybody.

She went to college, majored in art, met some nice people, made new friends, and graduated the top of her class –naturally. And in between all of that, the most amazing thing happened to her; something she never dreamed of herself ever getting the privilege to experience. Kuchiki Rukia was engaged, and of course she had gotten married no later than a few months after graduating her senior year of Karakura University.

Rukia sipped at her coffee and smiled merrily at the memory of Ichigo –who else- getting down on one knee, opening the little black box, and slipping the shiniest diamond embezzled ring onto her slender finger. Perfect fit.

Everyone had always said that college would be the happiest years of her life, and they were. Ichigo purposing had just made it ten times better and she couldn't remember a time when she had been happier. Those 4 years of her life were blissful to say the least. It was everything she dreamed of and more.

When the two had graduated, they moved in with each other into a nice little home in the city. They got married shortly after, and to this day, Rukia still can't imagine herself ever crying so many happy tears as much as she cried them that day.

Rukia took another sip of the warm beverage, feeling it slide down her throat with ease and sighed. She set down the mug and hopped off of the wooden stool, her high heel boots clacking as she landed soundly on the concrete floor.

Her wardrobe had also changed over the years because frankly a woman in her early 20's still wearing baggy hoodies and miniskirts was slightly childish and not very flattering. She had kept her tiny frame, petite as usual and in fact she had only grown two inches since her college years. She was skinny with subtle curves that she finally found no need to cover with large clothing anymore. Nowadays, she was usually spotted in fitting jeans and stylish blouses, and if not that, it was a simple summer dress or maybe a fancy gown if it fit the occasion. Right now she wore a pair of dark blue jeans that were tucked into a pair of black boots she got on sale at a mall with a plain white t-shirt that she wouldn't mind getting messy with paint.

Rukia pulled her long black hair into a messy bun at the top of her head as she stepped over several cans of paint and brushes, and made her way over to the sink in the back of the spacious studio –the one she had attached to her (their) bedroom, not the one in the city- and bumped up the faucet handle with her wrist to rinse off the dry paint on her pale hands.

Her complexion certainly hadn't changed and she was sure she had even grown paler over the years.

The water washed over her hands in a rush of noise and coldness. Scrubbing, she mumbled to herself as the paint slowly chipped away.

Memories of that day flooded back to her and she found herself smiling like she usually did when she thought of the beautiful events. That was her day and really, nothing could ruin it. She dressed all in white, a long gown that was followed by an even longer white train. It wasn't a fancy wedding, not at all. Rukia liked things to be simple; she wanted to keep it as uncomplicated as humanly possible. Even when Byakuya had pressured her and nearly begged that she let his side of the family handle everything –money, food, her dress, even Ichigo's tuxedo- she didn't budge. The very special occasion was held in the Kuchiki backyard, which to her dismay was actually quite fancy, but it was the only way Byakuya would stop nagging her about how weddings are supposed to be beyond extravagant. He even went as far as to suggest a different groom for Rukia –Ichigo wasn't too happy about that proposal. But all in all, her wedding was perfect with the soft music playing in the background, her new friends and new family watching with watery eyes as they read their vows, and then the real icing on her cake when those two words reached her ears and sunk into her heart; "I do."

Rukia scrubbed harder at the rainbow coloured splotches on her skin, scowling now as she worked fiercely to remove what she could.

He was so handsome that day in that dazzling tux, grinning at her with that cocky glint in his gorgeous eyes. He was even more amazing that night on the honeymoon. Oh hell, he was more than amazing; he was stunningly incredible

Rukia scraped what she could out of her nails, gnawing lightly on her bottom lip in concentration.

She loved him so much. Their marriage wasn't perfect, but she couldn't picture herself with anyone else. No one would ever measure up to his standards. No one.

Rukia shook her head and continued scrubbing her hands of the paint. She wondered for a moment why she couldn't just buy the cheap paint that came off easily.

Her back pocket buzzed before a band she had grown to adore began playing and the chorus sang aloud from her jeans. Sighing, Rukia plucked the device from her pocket and dropped it on the counter –careful to not get it wet. Glancing down at it, she read the name of the caller and felt her lips tug into a smile.

Not even bothering to dry her hands, she flipped the phone open and placed it in between her shoulder and ear and placed her hands back underneath the faucet.

"Hello, Orihime," Rukia spoke casually, turning off the faucet.

Over the past years, Orihime and Rukia's relationship had escalated further into such a genuine and innocent friendship. Rukia had felt overwhelmed with gratitude from having being able to obtain the love she got from Orihime and was quite proud of the fact that she was able to return that kind affection. She had opened up to Orihime and truly believed that Orihime would never hurt her the way Momo had done her –but Momo was the past now. Momo rarely came up anymore and when she did, Rukia couldn't help but to laugh and push aside the topic. She was over it by now. She had Orihime; an incredible friend with a heart that held so much love and compassion for others, it amazed her and she adored that about Orihime.

By the time the two had finished high school, they had become so incredibly close that it was decided that they would go to the same college –mostly Orihime's idea because she wanted to be by Rukia's side no matter what and Rukia didn't object. Byakuya pulled some strings and got them the same dorm and the girls became roommates. Luckily, Byakuya also somewhat adored Orihime, mostly because she was tremendously polite and respectful and she had "enough class to fill a school" as Byakuya had put it.

Four years together had not changed a single thing between them except maybe make them closer if that were possible. Just as Rukia admired Orihime, Orihime acclaimed Rukia just as much and would continuously tell her this as if she had to hear it every day or she'd forget. It was wondrous to watch the two interact –total opposites- and yet best of friends that got along great and blended like tropical fruits in an exotic smoothie.

Of course, Tatsuki was never left out of the picture; Orihime loved her too much to just toss her aside simply because she found someone else to share her love with as well. They were always together, the two of them, but Rukia and Tatsuki just were never as close. She was still close to Ichigo though, so often the tomboy would come over and the three of them would simply chat about life and where their lives were heading. Sometimes Orihime came along, and luckily she was well over her crush on Ichigo. That might have been due to the fact that she was happily engaged to her fiancé, Uryu Ishida.

Oh, Rukia couldn't even count the number of times she had to listen to Orihime gush about how perfect her wedding would be and how beautiful her dress had to come out, or how dazzling Ishida would look in his tuxedo and charming smile. It came to a point where sometimes she had to hand the ditzy red head over to Tatsuki and let her handle it.

Rukia had truly blossomed into the social butterfly she had always prayed Ichigo would set free somehow. She would never be miss popularity –she was too sullen sometimes for that- but her life was definitely going places.

"Rukia-chan! Come with me!" Orihime exclaimed over the line in a chipper voice, a hearty laugh following close behind. There was a lot of noise in the background; loud voices, rummaging of bags and squeaky wheels rolling across smooth surface.Rukia grinned and flicked her fingers of excess water, still some paint on her palm, but she grabbed a towel anyways and dried her hands.

"Where exactly do you want me to go, Orihime?" Rukia asked in an amused nature, throwing the towel on the counter and making her way back to her canvas.

She slid the phone from her shoulder and held it securely in her hand as she grabbed a thin paintbrush.

"I need to go food shopping because Ishida is going to make an anniversary dinner tonight and since he'll be doing all of the cooking-" Rukia smirked and silently thanked the heavens that Ishida would be the one behind the stove this time. Everybody knew Orihime couldn't cook a regular meal to save her life, not to mention she nearly set her house on fire last time. "-I offered to do all of the shopping."

Rukia dipped the paintbrush into the black paint and quickly scribbled her name onto the bottom right corner.

"Orihime, you're a grown woman. Don't you know how to shop for groceries by now?" Rukia said with sympathy for her ditzy friend. She set the paintbrush aside and admired her work.

There was a laugh over the line and more noise in the background.

"Oh, I know! I'm already at the grocery store!"

"Then why-"

"I came to the wrong one! Everything here is so expensive, I can't afford anything! The clerks are staring at me like I'm an intruder and I have a feeling they don't want me here." Orihime trailed on, giggling and Rukia could practically hear the smile in her voice although she didn't know how her good friend could possibly have such an uplifting attitude when she was getting grief at the grocery store.

"So where do I come in?" Rukia mumbled, picking up her still lukewarm coffee and sipping it slowly while listening to the rumble of noise behind Orihime as she held the phone near her face now, and not pressed against her ear.

"I want someone to shop with! It's so boring doing it alone, and Tatsuki-chan is still out of town with Renji-san; you know for their world wide tournament together. Isn't that romantic? I think it's so cute! I wish-"

"Alright, Orihime," Rukia cut in, knowing Orihime could go on forever unless she stopped her before it was too late. "I'll meet you at the shopping center near your house in ten minutes, okay?" Rukia offered, setting down her mug and frowning when it landed on a sketch she had been working on.

"Okay! That sounds perfect! I'll see you there!" Orihime exclaimed with a giggle. Rukia picked up the mug from the sketch and set it near her pencils.

"Bye, Orihime,"

"Bye, Rukia!"

With a click and a cheery sigh, Rukia pocketed her phone and made her way over to the studio door. Talking with Orihime always somehow brightened her day, even if just a fraction.

Orihime was in the school district business. She wasn't a teacher or a principal or God forbid a cafeteria worker. She was Karakura High School's best school counselor ever hired in history. There was practically nothing Orihime enjoyed more than making people happy and cheering them up when they needed it. Naturally, with her bubbly personality and dazzling smile, anybody who went to see her instantly felt better. It was nearly impossible to not crack even the slightest smile when Orihime walked into a room –she just radiated "happy". Orihime had snagged the job long ago while in college when she was studying to be a therapist for some big company that would've paid her 10 times as much as the school was currently paying her. She turned down the offer when she realized how much more fulfilled she felt when helping younger kids get through their problems. On her phone call with the big company, denying their kind proposal, she had said simply: "These kids need me."

Rukia remembered the one of many times she went to visit Orihime at work, to find her cradling a young teenage girl as she cried loudly and shook with sobs and Orihime rubbed her back, her eyes closed. Rukia had stood in the doorway, only watching as Orihime gave the girl the biggest smile she could muster and the girl laughed as if Orihime's happiness was enough to bring her back to Earth.

Orihime's office was painted pink with pictures, doodles, and long letters posted up on the walls; all given to her by the students she had helped. Rukia wished she could bring that kind of happiness to people.

Sighing, Rukia turned towards the studio doors, but before she could even get within a few feet from the large, paint covered doors, they swung open and Rukia grinned as she was greeted with the love of her life.

"Ichigo," Rukia breathed, a smile pulling at her lips. She took long strides over to him, wrapping her arms around his neck and bringing her lips to meet his with one blissful peck.

"Hey, shortcake," Ichigo grinned against her mouth with his strong arms wound tightly around her tiny waist, pulling her in as close as possible. He craned his neck further and softly kissed down her jaw.

Rukia smiled in content as she closed her eyes and moaned quietly. She ran her free hand through his mop of gorgeous hair and relished in how soft it felt, as always. He had grown out his hair sometime after high school and she had to admit, he was damn right sexy. It wasn't too long like one of those hippies she saw on the sidewalk on her way to the weekend flea markets –Orihime had really gotten her into those- or too short. It was perfect, ending just below the nape of his neck and falling over his gorgeous eyes.

He had grown taller; which on her part was just a total inconvenience and required her to crane her neck and stand on the very tip of her toes to even reach his alluring lips and tempted her to no end. He worked out in his free time, and she couldn't complain about that, except for maybe the smell he left behind sometimes, but running her hands down on his god-like rock hard abs was definitely not an issue.

He worked at the Ishida Hospital as one of the best surgeons they had and she had to admit it was kind of hot to see him in scrubs. He had followed in his father's footsteps and decided to be a doctor, working in the hospital that Ishida had inherited from his father and managing to be one of the most talented doctors in town.

He had his share of late nights, but he was good at what he did –just like herself- and who was she to tell him not to stay late and do something he loved. He had a strong passion for protecting people and saving the lives of people who needed him.

Rukia held the half empty cup in her left hand, letting her right one massage the scalp of her dazzling husband.

"You sure are affectionate today, Mr. Kurosaki," Rukia mewed with a light chuckle as Ichigo pulled away and gazed adoringly into her mauve eyes.

"Is that a bad thing?" he teased, leaning down again and playing with her lips with his. She grinned evilly and clutched his orange locks in her lithe fingers.

"Not at all,"

"Then how about we take this somewhere else?" Ichigo growled against her as he took her plump lips into his mouth and sucked on her bottom lip until Rukia's knees were practically wobbling and the hand holding her cup was trembling with delight.

"Oh, Ichigo..." Rukia whimpered. She would've done this all day if she could. She would have let him kiss her until she couldn't breathe, until her lips were puffy and red, until her legs couldn't even hold her up anymore. She would've let him run his magical hands all over her body and lick, suck, and bite her from head to toe. She smirked at the idea of her gorgeous husband throwing her on their bed and ravaging her until-

She pulled back abruptly and pushed Ichigo away with all of her force, startling him and making him yelp as he collided with the door behind them. The cup she had been holding clattered to the floor, not shattering, but the handle snapping off and the now cold coffee spilling over the tiles.

Ichigo coughed and pounded his chest, trying to catch the breath his fervent wife had knocked right out of him.

"R-Rukia, what the fuck-"Ichigo wheezed, eyes wide, but he stopped mid-sentence as Rukia darted for the counter and hunched over the sink, letting out a strangled choke as she threw up.

Ichigo was at her side in seconds as he stepped over the forgotten cup and the spilt coffee, rubbing her back with one hand and holding back her ebony hair with the other.

"Christ, Rukia, are you okay?" Ichigo soothed, urgency laced deep in his voice. Rukia coughed up the rest of what she could and spit into the sink with distaste.

"Oh gawd," Rukia groaned, her voice cracking. She reached down and clutched her stomach in agony while using her other to turn on the faucet.

"Rukia?" Ichigo whispered with worry as Rukia quickly rinsed out her mouth and gargled. "Are you okay?" He continued to rub her back in that soothing motion and Rukia sighed as she shook her head.

"I don't know, Ichigo," Rukia spit into the sink and closed her eyes. "I've just been throwing up so much for the past few weeks and I don't know why!"

Ichigo grabbed the nearest towel and handed it diligently to Rukia and she gladly took it, wiping her mouth clean of everything she just gagged up. Ichigo kissed her temple and whispered soothing words into her ear as she got the corners of her mouth with the towel. Slowly, she stood to her full height and rubbed her stomach leisurely with a deep frown. Glancing up at Ichigo she noticed his intense eyes were staring at her stomach and she paused her hand, waiting for him to meet her eyes. With much hesitance, Ichigo locked eyes with his wife and they shared a very knowing look. Ichigo frowned, much to her dismay although she couldn't blame him, and took her by her shoulders.

"Rukia, you threw up two nights ago too and once more a time before that," Ichigo stated with the most serious face she had ever seen on him and strangely it didn't suit him. She nodded and felt her throat close up and she worried she might puke on Ichigo's new nice dress shirt. "Are you...?"

Rukia closed her eyes and shook her head vigorously, holding up her hands to make her point.

"No, no, no, Ichigo, I am not-"

"Rukia, you can't just-"

"Ichigo," Rukia interjected with a deadly tone, which stopped Ichigo dead in his tracks and he gave her a very pointed look. She ignored him and shook her head again. "It's not possible."

Ichigo threw his hands in the air and let out a loud groan of frustration. Rukia rolled her eyes and turned back to the sink to run the faucet and wash out her vomit. She could feel Ichigo's eyes boring into her face as she walked past him to tend to the broken cup. She knelt to the ground and picked it up carefully as Ichigo came to her side with another towel.

"Ichigo, I don't want to talk about this," Rukia's voice was shaky and she knew Ichigo could hear it too. She didn't want to admit it, what they both knew. Her heart pounded in her ears and she found herself clutching the broken porcelain cup in her hands until her knuckles were sheer white.

"You can't avoid it forever, stupid," Ichigo scolded her, wiping up the coffee with the towel in his hands. He watched her as she shook her head, her eyes glazed over, and sweat forming on her forehead. Her hands were shaking and he knew she knew he was right. Ichigo stilled his arm and noted how Rukia's eyes shifted to his idle hand, how she tensed, and reverted her eyes back to the broken cup in her hand. He called her name tersely, leaving no room in his voice for argument. She paused, the cup in one hand and its handle in the other, biting down on her bottom lip as she found herself fumbling with the porcelain mug.

"I-Ichigo... I don't..." Rukia whispered, shaking her head. Her voice wavered for a moment and she silently cursed under her breath for how Ichigo was looking at her now. He set aside his coffee stained towel and grabbed Rukia by her wrist. Her hands immediately stopped shaking and finally she looked up to meet his eyes.

He looked so sure of himself, so certain, and confident that everything was going to be okay and that they'd get through this together. She didn't know how he could be so secure. Wasn't she the one that was supposed to be put together and he the one freaking out; worried and stressful? Why was she the one with a rattled mind and her husband so completely kept together?

They weren't even positive if it was true yet, and she was already freaking out over the idea.

"Rukia, how long have we been together?" Ichigo asked her, his tone sincere. He was holding her wrist firmly in his grasp. Rukia gave him a look and he repeated himself while she regained her composure.

"I don't know, like seven years; why?" Rukia answered, her eyebrows knit together as she pondered on their last year of high school together, completely and totally in love; sharing kisses and touches and seductive looks that got them in some uncomfortable predicaments. After high school, they went to college and that's when he had proposed and gave her life true meaning. They got married and had been living together for a good one year and few months that could easily add up to another year. Rukia wanted to smile at the thought, but her anxiety was just eating away at her too much.

"Just about," Ichigo nodded, caressing the bone in her wrist with his thumb. "And how long have we been married?"

"A year and eight months," Rukia said with no hesitation or thought. She had recited their anniversary over and over in her head many times before. Rukia's eyes traveled down to the wedding band on Ichigo's fingers and finally let herself smile and reminded herself to put her rink back on before she left for the market –she would always take it off when she painted because the idea of anything happening to that beautiful ring was horrifying.

"Don't you think we're ready?" Ichigo met her eyes, waiting for her answer. He was slightly shaken, but not as much as she was, which actually comforted her to know she wasn't alone. She'd never be alone as long as she had Ichigo. Rukia nodded, feeling her angst slowly diminish from her mind.

"I just-" Rukia's back pocket buzzed again and she jumped, startled by the distraction and glanced at Ichigo who was glaring at her thigh. "One moment, strawberry," Rukia apologized and stood to her feet as she flipped the phone open and brought it to her ear.


"Rukia-san? Where are you? I'm so bored! And I can't find the zucchini!" Rukia listened as Orihime quietly wailed into the phone and the same noise in the background buzzed behind her. She rubbed her temple and let out a long huff.

"I'm sorry, Orihime, I just got really caught up with things. I'll be there in ten minutes."

"That's what you said ten minutes ago!"

"Ten minutes, Orihime," Rukia repeated, her thumb already hovering over the end button. She heard Orihime puff, but the ditzy girl agreed and hung up, taking the noisy background with her.

Rukia closed her phone and noticed Ichigo was no longer on the ground, but at the sink and dropping the coffee blemished towel into the part of the sink Rukia hadn't just thrown up in. He turned and leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest and lifting an orange eyebrow at her. 'Damn him for being so sexy.'

"Where are you going?" Ichigo looked pointedly at her phone and she glared at him, pocketing it once again to bring his eyes back to her face.

"Don't be so possessive, dummy," Rukia scolded, already walking past him and towards the studio door. She pulled it open and felt the cool air play at her skin as she walked through the hallways that lead to their bedroom.

She wasn't even slightly surprised when she looked over her shoulder to see Ichigo following close behind her with his trademark scowl. She smirked and walked into the bedroom they had been sharing together for the past year or so.

She walked right past her dresser and her closet and went for the bathroom instead to freshen herself up and maybe splash some cold water on her face. Rukia, although she did have a rather keen sense of fashion, still really didn't care how she looked when going out in public. As long as she was wearing at least a little make up and the right clothes for the particular weather, she was just fine.

Rukia looked at her skin tight, paint tarnished shirt through the mirror and felt somewhat satisfied with knowing her art was worth the mess.

"Where are you going, shorty?" Ichigo repeated, leaning against the frame of the door and crossing his large arms over his built chest.

Rukia opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out a pink bottle of mascara. She set it aside and ran the water to splash her face and rid herself of any redness that had ran across her cheeks.

"Grocery store with Orihime; she's bored." Rukia explain, drying her face. Ichigo scowled and watched as his wife put aside her towel and grabbed the mascara bottle.

"Will you buy something for me?"

Rukia gave him a short look before working on her already long eyelashes.

"I wasn't planning on actually buying anything, Ichigo."

"And I wasn't planning on loving you unconditionally when we first met, but hell I still did it," Ichigo shot back with a smirk as Rukia's face flushed. She glared at him through the corner of her eye and pouted.

"Oh c'mon, why do you always pull the "cute cheesy, yet knee buckling" comment and make me give in?" Rukia finished her eyelashes and put the little pink bottle back into the medicine cabinet. "Jerk."

Ichigo chuckled darkly and walked behind her to wrap his arms around her waist and rest his chin on the top of her head. She looked at their reflection in the mirror. He was so tall and handsome. He had his hands placed flat against her tummy and his chin on her head with his smirk and this dazzling look in his eyes. Sometimes she still wondered how she could ever get a guy like him.

She looked at her own face, pale and slightly dazed. She noted her tired eyes and how she leaned against Ichigo as he pressed himself against her.

Her hair was no longer in the messy bun on top of her head, but had fallen and was sprawled loosely down her shoulders. Her hair had certainly grown over the years, spilling over her tiny shoulders and stopping just below her upper back. She still had that stray strand of hair –there was really nothing she could do about that, it just wouldn't go away- that fell between her eyes, but it was her signature look. In fact, ever since Ichigo had decided to grow his hair out even he had slight stray hairs, but in her opinion, he definitely pulled it off.

She looked into his eyes through the mirror and felt a ghost of a smile play at her lips.

They looked completely innocent and completely in love and she wished she had a camera so that this moment could possibly be forever etched in her mind. Her eyes kept falling to the hands on her stomach.

Would it be possible? Could they do it? Were they ready to be-

"I love you," Rukia whispered, her eyes never leaving Ichigo's through the mirror as she placed her hands on top of Ichigo's and pressed them against her stomach with firm pressure.

Ichigo smirked and kissed the top of his wife's midnight black tresses. He breathed her in and let her sweet smell of apples and strawberry shampoo to set into himself.

"God, Rukia, I love you too," he mumbled against her hair.

Rukia's back pocket buzzed again and she cursed as she flipped it open and listened to Orihime complain once again how ten minutes had pass around five minutes ago.


"Thank you again, Rukia-chan, for coming with me!" a bubbly Orihime exclaimed with a cheerful smile as she bobbed up and down, pushing a shopping cart with variations of different vegetables and meats, and what Rukia noticed to be some weird bean paste flavours in the bottom of the cart.

Orihime giggled and picked up a can of something Rukia had never heard of and placed it into the cart, checking it off the list she had in her hand and smiling brightly when she realized her checklist was halfway complete.

Rukia watched as Orihime hummed and giggled and laughed as she picked up random foods and placed them in the cart with her large, beautiful smile.

Orihime's long hair had grown to frame her face and fall around her cheeks, giving her an adorable look. It curled at the end and fell over her shoulders and down her back in waterfalls of auburn hair. It was well down past her back and full and bouncy. Rukia noted how naturally Orihime's hair did this and she felt almost jealous that her hair didn't have that kind of bounce, let alone bright colour and shine.

If her long, gorgeous hair wasn't enough to make her even more beautiful, Orihime had grown taller and curvier. She was like a model, with her bright smile and happy features. She had grown up wonderfully and happily and Rukia often found herself admiring the ditzy red head for her upbeat attitude.

Orihime had always been the cheerful one, although she did have her bouts of hysterical crying, but that was just how Orihime was and everyone accepted her as that and loved her all the same.

She got engaged to her high school sweetheart just a year ago after they had moved in together and was already planning her wedding with the groom to be, Uryu Ishida, who must've been the luckiest guy alive –aside from Ichigo of course.

Rukia picked up a box of Pocky and checked the price before placing it in the plastic basket in her hand.

Orihime walked by her side in her long light blue sundress with spaghetti straps and knee length hem. She was wearing brown sandals that clacked softly as she skipped around the aaisles, earning some stares from other store occupants.

Rukia laughed lightly as Orihime accidentally bumped her cart with her hip and sent it colliding with a rack of candy bars that sent them to the floor. The brunette gasped as she went to the candy bars' aid, on her knees as she hurriedly picked up the sugary goods.

Rukia bent and picked up one or two candies and placed them back on the rack.

"Orihime, what exactly is Ishida-kun planning on making?" Rukia peered into Orihime's cart, seeing different kinds of foods she couldn't imagine being mixed together or cooked as a meal –but then again, she wasn't exactly a cook so this could've been a fine meal and she wouldn't even know.

Orihime's head perked up and she smiled brightly, setting the candy down on the rack in order of brand name.

"Oh!" Orihime called and stood to her feet. "I have no idea! All I have is the checklist!" Orihime giggled and rolled back and forth on the balls of her feet. Rukia watched with an amused expression as her good friend held up the neatly written list of groceries. "It's a surprise!"

Rukia nodded and picked up a candy bar from the rack that she had been eyeing since they approached it and dropped it in her basket.

Rukia silently scanned the aisle for the one product Ichigo had asked her to get. She didn't want to admit that she needed one, the thought was kind of scary, but he had insisted and plus had gone so far as to threaten that if she didn't buy it and came back empty handed, he'd lock her out and not let her in until she went back and bought it.

But she couldn't find it and it probably had something to do with the fact that she didn't really want to find it.

Orihime looked into her cart and frowned as she scanned the list again.

"What's wrong?" Rukia asked, looking across the shelves of the aisle they were in, although she knew it was futile considering they were in the cereal section and the item she was looking for would not be located within the cereal. If she didn't bring it home, at least she could tell Ichigo she looked.

Orihime pouted and held out the list to Rukia, who took it into her hands and read over it quickly.


"Oh nothing, I just don't know where to find the last few things on this list and I've looked all over the store," Orihime complained, looking around her at the shelves as if the items would magically show up next to the cereal and land in her shopping cart.

She shrugged and trudged on, eyeing the shelves carefully. Rukia held the list in her hand and followed beside Orihime. She picked up a box of cereal and wanted to laugh at the picture of a pirate on the cover and remembered how she had always hated this cereal when she was younger. Rukia set it down, amused, and sauntered next to Orihime at her pace.

"Maybe we should split up?" Rukia suggested as she looked over the list in her hands. Orihime swirled around, her bottom lip trembling and her eyes already watery and Rukia wondered for a moment when those tears had time to even appear. Orihime pressed her hands to her cheeks and shook her head wildly.

"Are you breaking up with me!" Orihime wailed, long streams of tears soaring down her face. Rukia jumped back startled and held up her hands and waved them frantically.

"Orihime! Calm down!"

"How can I calm down when you're dumping me!" An elderly lady walked by with her granddaughter in tow and shook her head at the red head and continued walking. The little girl laughed and pointed.

Rukia's hand shot up to her forehead and she groaned, shaking her head. Orihime was lucky her antics were incredibly cute.

"Orihime, I meant that we should split up in the store," Rukia explained, shaking Orihime by her shoulders. "So we can find the foods faster,"

Orihime blinked her bleary eyes before a large smile broke out on her face, and she nodded her head happily.

"Oh! Yeah okay!" Orihime cheered, throwing her arms in the air and laughing as she skipped away.

Rukia watched Orihime's retreating form before stuffing the checklist in her back pocket and turning around towards the pharmacy section. She breathed in coolly; well at least she tried to as she clutched the basket handle in her hand to the point that her entire arm was basically shaking.

Her steps were slow and unsteady and her legs felt like jelly as if at any moment she would fall over.

Slowly, like molasses, she walked down the middle of the aisle until finally she approached the counter and the young man behind it. He greeted her with a practiced smile and nodded at her as she placed her hand on the counter top, spreading her fingers and tensing against the cool material.

"I need something..." Rukia told him, her voice low and almost shaky. The pharmacist eyed her for a moment before shaking his head and folding his arms over his chest. Rukia tapped her fingers impatiently.

"What kind of something?" He asked her while eyeing her suspiciously as if she were asking for an illegal drug. Although she couldn't really blame him with how anxious and shaky she was acting.

"I need..." Rukia began but her voice cracked and she closed her eyes. What she really needed was some control. And comfort. She needed to know that she could do this, that everything would be okay. Her heart pounded in her ears. Every movement in the world seemed to stop in that moment where the counter and herself molded together. She tried breathing calmly, but to no avail. This was where she would finally look into the eyes of the true fact, the moment in life where she was faced with yet another choice that she could not turn down or look away from. It wasn't that she didn't want this to happen or that this was a mistake because this particular event was far from being anything, but a miracle. It was that she was scared. Terribly, terribly scared. Images of herself and Ichigo flashed through her mind; reeling over and over again like the never ending movie their relationship was. He was there through it all, rather she pushed him away or pulled him in –he was there. He held her to her ground and didn't let her float away like she sometimes wanted to. Everything that she was capable of today was because of him and his encouragement and those strong eyes that urged her on. Without him, she really couldn't tell you where she would be today and she wasn't even sure if she'd be alive.

What was stopping her now? He had already told her that they could do this. And that they would do this together, no matter what. They were happily married, she knew that and she knew that he knew that as well. And yet still, Rukia found herself clutching the counter top like a life line. Her eyes finally opened on their own accord when the young pharmacist cleared his throat impatiently and gave her a very pointed look to hurry up. Rukia looked him square in the eyes and said, "I need a pregnancy test."

In that very moment, Rukia felt herself suddenly feeling so much lighter as if a weight had been lifted off of her tiny shoulders. The world continued to spin. She didn't feel like collapsing anymore and her legs weren't wobbly. She was still shaking quite a bit, but that was mainly due to the fact that her tummy was filled with nothing but butterflies; and possibly a baby.

That thought...of another little person inside of her, wiggling and squirming around with big eyes and tiny pudgy fingers and thin lips and short stubby legs and orange hair and maybe even amber eyes or purple eyes or black hair and pale skin and…

Rukia's hand went to her stomach almost instinctively. She wanted to feel the baby pushing and kicking against her skin, but knew that it was way too early for that. She didn't even know if there really was a baby inside of her yet. But just the thought of her and Ichigo having a baby in their arms, snuggling and cuddle the little thing and making cute faces at it brought an instant grin to her face. Her heart thumped faster and it drowned out any other noises around her and the buzz of the market melted away from her. Her hand moved around her stomach as she searched for signs, any sign, that she may have a person inside of her –though she knew that was futile.

Finally, her eyes locked with the pharmacist who gave her a weird look and cocked his head to the side.

"Aren't you like 16?" he asked her suspiciously and Rukia never felt so compelled to punch someone in the face.

'Way to ruin a moment, jackass.'

Scowling, Rukia glared at the young man and snapped very curtly, "I'm 23, idiot." She reframed from calling him anything more vulgar than that. The boy's eyes widened a fracture as he looked Rukia up and down, head to waist and he would've gone to her toes if the counter wasn't in the way.

"Why are you so short then?"

Rukia felt her eye twitch.

"That has nothing to do with anything! Give me a damn pregnancy test!" Rukia barked. A little girl walked by and looked at Rukia as if she had two heads and then kept going in search of her mommy. Briefly, Rukia wondered if she would ever be in a supermarket with her child aimlessly wandering around and looking for her.

'I will never abandon my child.'

The pharmacist scoffed and held out his hand.

"Let me see some ID please."


"Yes, really. I don't believe you. Let me see some ID."

"You need an ID to get a pregnancy test?" Rukia was growing incredibly impatient now. It took a lot out of her not to take this boy by the collar and give him a good shake.

The young man nodded as if to say, uh well duh, and wiggled his fingers for Rukia to place her ID into his hands.

She grumbled, pulled out her Chappy themed wallet, ignored the amused look from the boy, slipped her ID out and handed it over into the awaiting hand held out to her. Snappily she mumbled "Here,"

The boy in the white coat and the nametag clipped to it, looked over it as he mumbled and eyed her information.

"This looks fake…"

"It's very much real! Will you please just give me what I want?" Rukia shot him another impatient look and tapped her fingers against the counter again. "I'm kind of in a rush,"

"Fine, fine," The boy handed the small rectangular card back to Rukia and watched as she slipped it back into her childish wallet. He went to his left and reached for the top shelf, pulling out a small blue box and walked back to place it on the counter. "Here you go. That'll be $6.45."

"I have to pay here?" Rukia pulled out her wallet again and narrowed her eyes. The pharmacist nodded and held out his hand once again, waiting for her valuable green paper to be handed to him. Rukia grumbled and pulled out seven dollars while simultaneously grabbing the little blue box in her tiny hands. She placed the money on the counter and briskly walked away, mumbling something over her shoulder about keeping the change.

She stared at the box in her hands as she slowly walked away and towards the aisles again. It was incredibly light physically, but in all aspects of theatrically it was heavy and weighed her down about another 100 pounds.

Images of a little baby boy or girl flashed through her mind and she imagined the tiny thing reaching out its flabby arms and grasping for her with plump fingers attached to chubby little hands. It'd be mumbling and giggling incoherent baby words with big amethyst, maybe ocher eyes that were curious about the world. The small thing would smile and grin and laugh and she'd cuddle him or her and love it with all of her might. She'd cry tears of joy with the first look of her baby. She would be a mommy and Ichigo and would be a daddy. They would buy a crib together, decorated with animals or shapes or letters. They'd turn the spare bedroom into the baby's room and paint it blue, or pink, or purple, or orange, or maybe freaking rainbows. Or they could buy cute wallpaper of bunnies or lions or hey, even bunnies and lions. They could go to this very same market and buy diapers, the stretchy ones. And they'd get bottles, and rattles, and pillows, and stuffed animals, and colouring books! She'd enroll her/him into the best preschool she could find, and Ichigo would get him/her into private schools. They would watch together as their baby graduated and went to a big and fancy college. Maybe the baby would end up having a twin sister, or a twin brother, or an older sister, or an older brother, or maybe…

Maybe...she was wrong and she wasn't pregnant. There would be no baby. There would be no cribs or crayons or bubbly laughter or pudgy little hands to reach out towards her and say, "Mommy," She would never enroll her child into a nice preschool or private school and they'd never graduate or go to college or…

Rukia's hand once again went to her stomach. She tried breathing. She tried to act unfazed. But truthfully her insides were crawling and squirming and a tornado was unleashed within her body. She wanted a baby. She had built up the idea so much that it was already settled in her mind that she would raise this child with Ichigo. Ichigo and herself… parents… the parents of a little baby girl or boy.

Yes of course, she was still nervous and slightly shaky with the whole idea of an actual person inside of her stomach, but Ichigo had told her that they could do this; that they would do this –together.

But what if she never even had that chance to prove that she could do it; that she was parent material, that she had enough love to go around for a child of her own, that as soon as she saw her baby her heart would swell and tears would come and-

What if that never happened?

Rukia blinked, feeling the wetness in her eyes. She didn't remember when her eyes started to water or when she was suddenly in the middle of the pasta aisle, clutching the little blue box as she trembled.


Rukia turned around to see Orihime standing behind her with her cart full. The brunette had a worried look etched on her face as she approached her nearly crying friend. She was at Rukia's side, abandoning her cart in the middle of the aisle and placing her hand on her arm.

"Rukia?" Orihime called again, but Rukia only saw her lips move. She sucked in a breath and felt the box weigh her down again. Orihime's grey eyes flickered down to the object in Rukia's hands and she gasped, bringing a hand to her mouth. "Rukia? What is...is that what I think it is…?"

Rukia nodded meekly. Her hands felt numb.

"Are you…?"

Rukia shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. She allowed herself to finally meet Orihime's eyes. Her look said it all.

"Oh my gosh! Rukia, this is so exciting!" Orihime cheered, throwing her arms around Rukia with a loud and bubbly laugh. Slowly, Rukia felt herself loosen up a bit and her tense shoulders slacked. She sighed, nodding her head into Orihime's shoulder before the ditzy red head pulled back with a large grin. "Rukia, why aren't you smiling! You could be a mommy!"

Rukia shook her head again and sighed.

"I'm scared," Rukia admitted, looking back down at the box. She felt Orihime shake her shoulder animatedly.

"Rukia, what are you scared of! There's nothing frightening about being a mommy! I've heard it's wonderful! You're going to be glowing soon and you'll be so happy and bouncing with joy! What is so scary about that? I mean if it's a financial problem, Ichigo's a doctor at Ishida's hospital and makes more than a grand paycheck each week," Orihime raised an eyebrow and squeezed her shoulder, shaking her head. "What's wrong?"

"It's not that," Rukia closed her eyes and brought up the box in her hands to Orihime's face. She shook her head and her eyebrows knit together in anxiety. "What if I'm wrong?"


"I finally accepted the fact that yes, I could be a mother, and yes, Ichigo could be a father. And yes, indeed we will be parents!" Rukia said it so fast, Orihime almost didn't catch it. "But what if we're not?" By now Rukia's voice was wavering and her eyes watered again.

"Then nothing will change," Orihime said simply. Rukia gave her a look and waved the box in her air.

"What're you talking about? Everything will change!"

"Like what, Rukia?" Orihime let go of her friend's shoulder and placed her hands to her heart. "What will change? Ichigo will still love you. I will still love you. You'll still have your studio, Ichigo will still be a doctor, your house won't up and go away, and hey look at the bright side!" Orihime gestured towards Rukia's lithe body. "You won't gain a pound!'

Rukia chuckled, bringing a hand to her forehead and closing her eyes as she nodded.

"You're right, I guess I'm just being paranoid as usual," Rukia laughed, shaking her head. "You're right."

Orihime smiled and brought Rukia in for a hug, squeezing her tightly. She leaned back and laughed as she said, "You're going to be a great mother if you are pregnant though."

"I sure do hope so,"

"C'mon, I just remembered I have the last few things at home! Ready to go?"

Rukia looked down at the box in her hands, her thumbs caressing the cardboard material as one last shuddery sigh left her parted lips. If this came out positive, her life would change dramatically –for the better of course. If this came out negative, nothing would change at all, but she'd always have "What if?" in the back of her mind. What if she were pregnant? What if she did have a baby inside of her? What if every morning she was greeted with a big smile and giggly laughter and little fat arms reaching out towards her? What if Ichigo and her went out shopping and bought baby clothes and bibs and toys and wallpaper and paint? She would never know.

Her eyes flashed to the shiny ring on her finger and she sighed. She was married. She could get through anything.

'I have to at least take a chance… I have to find out.'

Rukia looked back up at Orihime and she smiled, nodding her head.

"Yeah, I'm ready. Let's go."


Ichigo scowled deeply, his arms crossed over his chest impatiently. He leaned against the opposite wall of the bathroom door, tapping his foot agitatedly as he glared hard at the porcelain door.

'What the hell is taking her so long?'

When his wife had gotten home later that day, she immediately barged in, throwing her bag of groceries onto the floor, pushing past him –which meant she shoved him out of her way and made him topple over the couch and groan in pain as she rushed to the bathroom and slammed the door shut. Typical behavior when his spouse was irritated and upset. Hurriedly, Ichigo jumped up and nearly ran over to the door and banged on it as he shouted her name frantically. After he got no answer, he became annoyed instead of worried and grabbed the door handle, jangling it only to find it locked. Again, he yelled at her to open the door and she responded with shouting, "I'm peeing jackass! Go away!" Of course, being the stubborn man he was, he leaned against the opposite wall of the bathroom with a scowl and a pout and waited for her to finish.

"Rukia, did you buy what I asked you to?" Ichigo called, cupping his hands around his mouth in case the door was preventing his voice from going through. They both knew what he was talking about, and he knew Rukia didn't want to bring it up or talk about it. He wasn't going to hesitate in following through with his threat of kicking her out of the house and not letting her in until she went and bought what he wanted. He got silence as a reply and he asked her again, kicking the door softly.

"Go away, idiot," Rukia said through the door. Outside, Ichigo heard the toilet flush and the sound of Rukia groaning, then gasping, groaning again, and followed by a sigh.

"What the hell are you doing in there?" Ichigo knocked on the door again with more force and his voice was irritated again. "Open up!"



"I'm not done!"

"Done with what!" Ichigo barked, gripping the door handle and rattling it. "Rukia, open up, God dammit!"

There was a long, almost dramatic, pause after Ichigo's outburst and he sighed as his head dropped against the door. His eyes closed on their own accord and before he knew it, he was reminiscing again –something he hated when he did mainly because he reminisced about either stupid stuff or things that got his chest all twisted. Thoughts flooded back to him like the moment he had proposed to Rukia. He could hardly forget it; the way her face lit up and she smiled before grinning and then laughing uncontrollably. Her face had been so red at the time. It was hot and they were at a park right around the corner from his dorm. Rukia had complained all day about the weather, whining and bitching about how the sun was going to boil her and how the air was too stuffy. He had finally told her to shut up and pushed her down onto the grass, making her squeal and shout at him in front of an elderly lady who gave him a dirty look. Ignoring the wrinkly female, Ichigo turned his attention back to his girlfriend, pouting on the ground as she flipped him off. He made some comment about her face and shot her a goofy grin that only made her shout at him again and kick him in the shin.

Finally, as he stuffed his hands in his pockets all the while fiddling with the small black box in his coat pocket, he watched Rukia carefully with a serious and intent look in his eyes. His heart seemed to do some weird turning motions inside of his chest. His hands fiddled with the black box once more as he sucked in his breath.

Rukia didn't even bother to look back up at Ichigo, but instead she laid flat down on the grass, gazing up at the sky and stretching her fingers against the green flaky material underneath her. Her white dress fell around her like a flawless blanket. Her hair, slightly longer than it was in her high school days, sprawled around her face. Ichigo watched her carefully, knowing full well that this girl was the love of his life and at the moment he was about to make sure that factor was permanent. His heart pounded so loudly he wondered if Rukia would hear it. Slowly he bent down towards her until he was hovering over her gorgeous face.

She looked up at him questionably, ready to scold him for getting so close to her in public before she noticed how serious his eyes were. Suddenly the passing teenagers who were giggling didn't matter to her anymore. She looked at him, her eyes darting around his face frantically for a sign of what his next move would be.

Ichigo felt a bead of sweat slide its way down the side of his temple. He didn't know if it was because he was nervous or if it was because he was wearing a coat, a light one albeit, but still a coat in this hot weather; the kind Rukia absolutely hated.

But she was watching him, his every movement, not even noticing how she herself was also sweating from the heat baring down on her.

It seemed like forever as their eyes never dared to leave each others. It took Rukia practically a whole five minutes to finally ask just what exactly he was doing and why he was choosing to do it here, like this, in such a position. Ichigo's reply was short and almost choked down by his closed up throat. The word clumsily left his mouth like a tumbling and wobbly child learning how to walk for the first time. He had said it so quickly, Rukia almost didn't catch it. "Love."

His response mystified her to the point where she just stared at him as if waiting for him to finish or follow that up with some explanation. But again, he said nothing, only staring at her and left her once more speechless and staring back.

It took awhile for the two to realize that they had drew in a small crowd of teens and adults and even a little girl in pigtails that were watching them with considerable interest. Rukia squirmed under Ichigo's scrutinizing eyes before she finally let herself tear away from his face and turn her head over to see the small crowd they had somehow attracted. She quietly pleaded with him to get up, but being the stubborn moron he was, he growled at some poor adolescent teenage boy and looked back down at her with his intense look –the kind that gave Rukia the chills and made her almost dizzy with desire. But now, clearly annoyed and confused, Rukia began to pound on his chest angrily as she demanded to know what he was doing. Finally –it felt even longer- Ichigo spoke.

Pulling the words he had memorized from Shakespeare's Greatest, Ichigo leaned even closer to Rukia's frowning mouth and whispered the words he had been holding in his heart for months now. It had only been a few months ago when he had decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Rukia –no one else. It took him only a week after that to buy the ring he knew Rukia would absolutely love. He had practiced this moment ever since then, knowing what he wanted to say already, but then again also knowing that looking into Rukia's eyes made him forget everything on the spot. This particular position wasn't exactly how he had imagined it and they wouldn't even have been in it if it weren't for Rukia complaining the whole time; he wouldn't have had to push her to the ground to shut her up.

Rukia's mauve eyes watched as Ichigo's lips finally began to move and form the sweetest words she had ever heard.

"My bounty is as deep as the sea. My love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite. No sooner met but they looked. No sooner looked but they loved. No sooner loved but they sighed. No sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason. No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy. And in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage..."

The last word that left Ichigo's lip slipped out slowly, playing at his tongue, running around in his mouth before escaping leisurely and moved its way into Rukia's brain. Her eyes widened and for the first time since he had pushed her down to the ground and hovered above her, she finally realized what he was doing. Ichigo couldn't describe to this day the emotions he had seen in Rukia's eyes. They were wide and frantic and for a moment she actually looked scared. They'd only been dating for two years now. She was still only a teenager, 19, and he was 20, barely passing the teens mark.

But if there was anything college had taught him, it was that if he didn't grasp life by its horns and shake it around a bit, he would never get what he wanted. Nothing would just fall into his hands. He wanted Rukia. He wanted her for the rest of his life; sleeping in the same bed, in the same home, bearing his last name, kissing only his lips, touching only his face with those small loving hands, and whispering only his name while they made love.

Only her, and her only, would ever wear the ring he were about to bestow upon her finger; a symbol of his love and commitment and trust. She was worth every second, every penny, every moment he spent contemplating rather this was something he should do or if he could afford it or if Rukia would even say yes. Money was no issue, he had plenty of that. Time was nothing, he'd wait forever for Rukia. The only thing making him hesitate was Rukia's answer. Rukia was reserved and scared to commit; he knew that –she had even told him that. She didn't want to get hurt and although she had told him many times before that she loved him, he still wasn't sure if she were ready. But he was and he wanted to let her know. Even if she said no, he would never stop trying until she said yes.

Keeping his eyes trained on Rukia's face, he finally pulled out a little black box from his pocket and he sat up, pulling Rukia up by her hand as he went. Rukia's eyes were still big as she stared at the object in his hands –her mouth hanging open now. Her face was flushed and she couldn't even look at him.

Ichigo felt his heart drop to his stomach, wondering or at least hoping that was a good sign. He knew Rukia hated when he displayed public affection –too bad he loved it, mostly because her outraged face was incredibly cute- and maybe she would tell him no solely because she didn't like all of the stares they were getting.

That notion bounced around in his head, taunting him as he finally opened the box and displayed a dazzling amethyst diamond embezzled ring to Rukia who's eyes widened like saucers and little gasping noises left her parted lips as she tried to form words. He hadn't even asked yet and he was already dreading her answer as if she would slap him across the face and tell him no before running away and into the arms of another man. He found that very unlikely, but she could still say no… she could still turn him down.

Sweat fell down his forehead, rolled over his nose, and landed on the soft skin of his lips. He wiped it away with the back of his hand and began to stutter as he, finally, popped the question.

"Kuchiki Shirayuki Rukia," Ichigo began as he watched closely Rukia's movements. When he had said her full name, she looked up at him from the beautiful ring twinkling in the sun and only stared at his face. The crowd behind them began to murmur wildly, pointing and gasping and smiling. All eyes were on Ichigo as they waited for him to ask her for her hand in marriage. "I love you too much to find the exact words spoken from Shakespeare himself to describe how I feel. The day I met you, I actually thought you were going to be just another brat," Ichigo chuckled and Rukia managed a little noise in the back of her throat. "But you were so much more. You were a wild, crazy, confusing, stubborn, hot-headed, sensitive, loving, smart, funny, beautiful, and a caring little midget that I fell in love with without even realizing." He finished and sighed as he pushed the ring towards his girlfriend –hopefully not for long- and waited for her to stop looking at his face and instead into his eyes. Rukia, lost for words, stared into his chocolate eyes and gasped inwardly at how much love and determination she saw. Her heart trembled.

"Will you marry me?"

All eyes now on her.

Her hands did a weird dance in the air as she tried to form words, but they never left her mouth. Her head was wobbly on her shoulders and she wasn't so sure if it would roll away or not. Ichigo was waiting for her answer and all she could do was sit there and gasp and flail her hands around. Rukia clamped her mouth shut and closed her eyes, feeling the wetness behind them already. Her happiness exceeded her words. Her heart felt incredibly too big to just stay in her chest and she felt it pounding hard to get out. At last, her hands found Ichigo's face as she opened her eyes and cradled his cheeks in her palms. His face was hot and she felt the sweat lightly touching the tips of her fingers at the back of his neck. Either he was nervous or it was the sun beating down on them. Her eyes sought for his and he found them just as quick.

"Yes," Rukia whispered as she listened to the uproar of the crowd behind them and the delighted laugh from her now fiancé. He pulled her in tightly, kissing her cheek and her nose and finally her grinning lips. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" She repeated the word and it never sounded so beautiful to Ichigo's ears. She couldn't stop smiling with the wonderful way her heart was dancing and Ichigo's lips were all over her face. Before she knew it, he had slipped the ring onto her finger and he pulled away to watch her reaction.

Gasping and holding it up to the sky, she watched as it sparkled and glittered brightly.

"Oh Ichigo, oh my –it's so beautiful! Everything is so beautiful!" Rukia squealed and she crashed her lips to Ichigo's once more, laughing and smiling as the crowd behind them grew louder in cheers and hoots. "I love you too!"

Ichigo grinned at the memory before he pressed his ear to the door, his hand still on the handle. He heard Rukia sigh one more time and then something hit the floor, or maybe she dropped something into the trashcan. There was a long pause of silence and Ichigo called out his wife's name one more time. She was silent and the toilet flushed again. He pressed his ear further and listened as her zipper went up and her boots clacked against the tile floor. The door handle clicked as she unlocked it.

Immediately, Ichigo busted in to find Rukia washing her hands and grinning nervously. He came to her side and noticed how she was shaking, but still smiling widely.

"What?" He watched as she turned towards him, beaming and before he knew it she was clapping her hands together and laughing. "Why are you so…-" He stopped mid sentence when Rukia reached behind her to the counter and held up a little blue plastic stick.

She laughed and waited for his expression that quickly went from confused and aggravated to surprised and soon enough a grin spread across his own face.

"It's positive!" Rukia laughed whole heartedly and threw her arms around Ichigo's neck, kissing his cheek and giggling happily into his neck. "Oh God, Ichigo, it's freaking positive!"

Ichigo laughed, wrapping his arms around Rukia's waist, hugging her tightly to his chest.

"We're going to be parents," Ichigo murmured into her hair with awe in his voice. "And you're sure it's mine?" Ichigo chuckled as Rukia slapped him upside his head before resuming her previous position.

"Of course it's yours, dumbass! I don't sleep around…that much…" Rukia felt Ichigo tense for a moment before she giggled and shook her head. "I'm kidding,"

"You better be," Ichigo grumbled as he kissed the top of her head before he glanced down at Rukia to meet her eyes. She was smiling like he had never seen her smile before and he loved it. She was gorgeous right now, looking up at him with those big amethyst coloured eyes and blushing as she grinned and tried her best to hold in the bubbly laughter he knew was building up inside of her. She was practically shaking against him in the excitement she wanted to share with the world. He didn't want to see her expression if it wasn't absolutely 100% positive, because honestly he had never seen her so happy before. He had seen her with a smile just as big, but never like this; never a true and pure happy smile that reached her eyes and ran through her entire body until she was buzzing and shaking in delight. He smiled back down at her and glanced briefly towards the sink.

"And you're sure about this?"

Rukia pulled back, still laughing, and held up 5 different sticks in her hands, all positive. Ichigo looked at them, bringing up his fist to his mouth and grinned again. Rukia put the sticks back on the counter before bringing her hands to her face, cupping her mouth. Tears welded in her eyes as she laughed –again. She was already glowing.

Rukia stepped back from Ichigo, her smile plastered to her face. Ichigo took her hands in his, stroking her smooth skin with his calloused fingers and stared deeply into mauve eyes that were wide and excited and stared back up at him.

"I love you, you know?" Rukia whispered softly, feeling his hands tighten in their grasp. Her eyes were scanning his face. Another large grin broke out on his face and he pulled Rukia in again. She molded to him, wrapping her arms around his waist and burying her face into his chest.

"Yeah, I know," Ichigo mumbled and kissed the top of her head. "I love you too."

"We're parents," Rukia laughed again and kissed the center of his chest lightly. Ichigo chuckled and the movement vibrated her lips.

"Yeah, I know,"

"You think we'll be good parents?" Rukia murmured against his firm chest. Ichigo sighed and Rukia felt him shrug his shoulders. She frowned and snuggled her head further into his shirt.

"I can't be sure of that, Rukia." Ichigo moved his hand in circles on Rukia's back. "As long as we love our child unconditionally, I guess we'll be okay."

"Unconditionally?" Rukia repeated the word almost like a foreign language. She peered up at Ichigo through the gaps of her bangs.

"Yeah, you know, like no matter what happens we'll always love him."

"What if it's a girl?"

"Same thing,"

"Unconditionally," Rukia repeated again, sighing and letting the word bounce around against the walls of her brain.

"I love you unconditionally and look where that's gotten us. We're married with a big house and a baby on the way." Ichigo kissed her hair and said against her black locks, "We should be okay, Rukia."

"Oh, Ichigo," Rukia kissed the middle of her husband's chest and felt her eyes water. She didn't cry, but she was quite close to it though and she buried her face into the fabric of Ichigo's shirt. "I have no idea what I'd do without you."

Ichigo continued his movements on Rukia's back. She sighed and pressed her ear to his heart to count each beat; something she found herself always doing lately whenever she got the chance.


"You won't ever have to worry about that. I'll always be here for you..." Ichigo pulled back slowly and without letting his eyes ever leave Rukia's, he got down on both of his knees and held Rukia's wrist. She only stared at him as he scooted towards her and pressed his lips to her stomach. Rukia gasped and felt her eyes water again with the way Ichigo was staring up at her adoringly and his gentle, firm grip on her arms.

His eyes flickered between her and her stomach.

"And I'll raise this baby with you and love it all the same. I promise," Ichigo stated, looking up at his wife's face with sincere eyes. Rukia smiled down at Ichigo, her bottom lip trembling and her eyes glistening with her unshed tears. Ichigo kissed her stomach again and sighed as Rukia blinked away the wetness from her eyes and sniffled.

As long as she had Ichigo there was nothing she couldn't do. And that included raising a baby.

"I love you," Rukia whispered and listened as her voice cracked. She couldn't resist the single tear that fell into the sea of orange on top of Ichigo's head. He looked up and quickly stood to his feet and brought out his hand to wipe the salty moist tear from her cheek. Kissing her face, breathing her in, and bringing his hands to the sides of her head, ever so softly he murmured against her cheek, "I love you too."

The End

Oh my gawd…can you guys…can you…can you believe this is…this is actually happening? Can you believe this is the total end? My story…it stops here. This is the end of the road; there's no going back now! I feel as if I should say some words of wisdom, but I really feel completely speechless.

Two years ago, I started this story with no actual intentions of finishing it. I figured it'd be just another throw away story that ended up in the back of my computer unknown to the world and alone. I never thought I'd get this far. But to be honest guys, if it weren't for the reviews and the favourites and the likes, oh wow guys, I have to tell you I wouldn't have continued this in a million years. Your reviews, they are love. They kept me going and fueled me when I wanted to give up.

This is something I love to do, I'm so happy I had this chance to share it with you all! I really do hope you enjoyed this story. It was wonderful to write, and even more joyful to see all of your responses and positive feedback.

You guys are what made my story come to life. You guys are the reason this story is where it is now. In fact, this isn't even my story anymore. It's our story.

Thank you so much for your support.

With much love, Chappy-Is-Mine, bids you a farewell. Until next time; I hope this isn't the last time you'll be seeing me.

The End