His eyes widened with surprise when he saw her. Rukia wore her school girl uniform and a wide, toothy smile. The white light in the room was not too sharp but necessary.

"Hello, Kurosaki-kun." Her chin jutted upwards, and her smug look complimented the slight arrogance coloured in her tone.

Before he said anything, Ichigo took a good look at her. The red bow around her neck was neat. The skirt was short. Then her hand came forward, palm up. Mentally, he read her message: Make a scene and I kill you.

A smile twitched on his face. He remembered the first time he saw this – the first time she "invaded" his classroom. "Nice to meet you," he started, his gaze flickering down to her mouth before their eyes met. His hand gripped her wrist suddenly, before she had a chance to retreat her palm, and he pointed down at her scribbled demand. "What kind of scene are you talking about?"

She didn't answer him. She didn't have enough time to when he pulled her with that same hand. Her body almost collided into him if he didn't sidestep and place her against his solid, mahogany desk. He still had her wrist in his grasp but as he came closer, making her back touch his front, their arms stretched on the desk and his fingers came over hers.

"Kurosaki-kun," she said again, almost as low as a whisper. His hot breath came near her ear and her body trembled.

Then he said to her, "I see the outfit still fits," and he laughed softly. His other hand gripped onto her leg and slowly made its way upwards to her rear, squeezing gently. "Even after these twenty-something years?" In response to his weight and his slight pushing, her body fell forward, almost flat against the desk. Her only free hand managed to reach the sleeve of his buttoned-up shirt when she slightly turned at him.

"Hai. It still fits." Her smile grew modest, small, when his mouth came close to her throat. She had an idea what would come next. Either he'd plant a soft kiss and slowly make his way downwards. Or he would kiss and then suck, leaving a red mark behind.

Today however, he surprised her when his wet tongue flickered onto her skin. Then again, but the erogenous organ made a sure, long stroke which elicited a quiver of her lip. His breath seemed fiery now with her skin wet. A sudden warmth coiled in her stomach and her core as she could feel his hard member pressed against her. He wasn't naked yet but the material between them wasn't enough to hide his desire for her.

"How much time?" he asked, inhaling the sweet scent of her tresses. It was the wild berry shampoo that she was using. It reminded him of the tropics, heat and lust. In response, the hand on hers tightened while the other began traveling under the skirt, scouting for lacy panties.

Her eyes were on the desk when she answered, "Half an hour." And then she felt his lips on her neck, giving her a simple, gentle kiss.

He said, "Good."

Ichigo proceeded to do things to her he would never even thought doing to her the first time he saw her in that uniform. Then he showed her that even role-playing had a limit for when clothes were discarded and naked bodies were against each other, they were simply Ichigo and Rukia.

People change. Circumstances change. Relationships change. But even after many decades, they both still agree that a world without him, a world without her, a world without each other, just wasn't a world worth living in.

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Disclaimer: Bleach does not belong to me. What does belong to me is my (dirty yet) imaginative mind.

Summary: He knew a world without Rukia wasn't a world worth living in. She felt the same way as well. A few snap shots of what their life would be like if they were together in the living world with multiple points of view. Kind of plot-less, but lots of fluff. IchiRuki of course!

Warning: The whole fic is LONG (longer than Piece by Piece). So I split all character perspectives into parts since the whole fic wasn't ready. Also, it's the 18th, the date where I usually post – and my birthday – so I HAD to get something out there. Please enjoy, have fun reading and review. The other parts will be out shortly as soon as I get it.

Special thanks to Lendra-chan and Lapse in Judgement for editing.

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DEATH, STRAWBERRY, AND HAPPILY EVER AFTER

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Kurosaki Ichigo

After I saved her the first time, how stupid of me to think that time would stop because she wasn't here anymore.

The night was almost suffocating. In fear of my crazy father finding out about my secret of being a shinigami, I didn't take any drugs and let Rukia heal as much as she could. It was unnecessary to find Inoue so late, and I could take the pain. I mean, I've been in more pain before. But it was annoying when I realized there were bandages to be changed.

My head rolled to the side. I groaned; the first time the sound was caught in my throat, but the second and third time, I was more successful, louder, and then able to speak again. I looked out for her, and I could see her violet eyes watching me. I could see my reflection against her irises, she was frowning at me. I returned the look and then nodded, wordlessly.

She moved onto my bed, careful not to sit on any part of me. And with simple precision, she pulled down my bed cover to reveal my almost naked body. I swallowed hard and my breathing rate increased. My body was slick with sweat, and when she looked at my face again there were lines of tiredness. Her two fingers touched the end of my bandage, as she changed her position to better attend my wound. Her knees ended up on either side of my thighs when she began to unwrap and in response, I moved closer to give her better access to me. And then my head fell forward suddenly, when she was done, exposing my wound to her.

Purposely I let my orange hair cover my eyes – hiding - but she knew I was watching her. My lip twitched. Hiding? Hide my emotions? Hide whatever my eyes betrayed because she was good at that; she was good at reading me. Too good in fact. And if she saw what was in my eyes, would she run away from me?

I sighed, my mouth inches from hers. I think I made her shudder but I stayed motionless as I could when her fingers touched my bare flesh, centimeters away from the wound site. I could smell the peppermint flavour of our toothpaste. She probably could hear the thumping of my heartbeat, or was it hers I was hearing?

Violet orbs were fixated on my cut. It wasn't so deep that it required stitching, but it was long and red, and already healing well. However, the cut could have been prevented and that made her small pink lips pull into a frown.

"Why did you do it?" she whispered, her voice as soft as a prayer. The cool night forced her to wear cotton pajamas but I could see the image of her thin, fair throat and how that skin moved up then down when she swallowed hard. "Why? It wouldn't have been serious if it got me."

"You don't know that." My voice was hoarse and tired but I tried to sound convincing. She didn't understand, and dammit it pissed me off.

Her answer was simple. "Yes, I do. Idiot." The closeness made her chest heave, as if she was running a marathon. "Why do you try so hard to protect me?"

Had she really asked that?

We stayed like this, almost touching, for a good solid minute. No one said anything. The stillness of the room was subtle to the breaking point of silence, and nothing seemed to exist but us and the beats of our hearts. It was loud in my ear. It repeated, thumping and thumping, and she waited for an answer. Then I couldn't take it and I said, "Well, I was named as 'he who protects.' "

"I know that," she hissed. "But this… I would have been fine."

She was stubborn, I knew. I knew that better than anyone. But like I said, she just didn't understand. I wanted to make her understand! I had to, it was driving me freakin' insane. We were comrades. We were comfortable being close. But something was different. And she didn't understand.

"I…" I felt my body jerk and suddenly my mouth almost touched hers, but didn't. She didn't move though, and her eyes flickered upwards to my half-parted lips. When I spoke next, she could feel my breath tickle her skin and I only knew because what skin I could see was softly puckered with small goose bumps and her own breath was softly blowing over mines.

"I've lived in a world where you don't exist. Life still goes on but it was strange. Weird. So I try and I do what I do to keep you in my life." And then the moment stretched into five quick heart beats. It seemed so much longer than that. In the same moment, the orange curtain rose and I saw sapphires piercing through my soul, trigger a pang in my chest that almost left me breathless.

Damn her. She needs to understand!

I didn't say anything else though. I fought not to move as she looked away and began wrapping the dressing around my abdomen. By accident, her fingers brushed against the hard skin of my lower stomach. I shuddered; it was as if it was a lick of frost lapped down my spine. Then when she was finished, she finally pulled away.

Rukia didn't have a proper response to my words. At that moment, I didn't want to hear anything because when she looked at me again, the look of accepting crossed her face. I think. It was kind of like when Keigo finally gets a math question but hers was much prettier. I breathed out deeply. I had nothing else to say either.

"Good night Ichigo, get some rest."

My eyes caught her violet gaze. "Good night."

The night became less suffocating but I still wasn't breathing properly.

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