A Whole Twelve Months, Ch23: The End

November, 0 months to go

Ichigo and Rukia sat in the living room, while Rukia held their son Ichigatsu. Across from them sat Byakuya.

"So how is my nephew?" Byakuya asked.

"He's been doing okay brother."

"And Hitsugaya's daughter?"

"She's fine too from what I heard," Ichigo replied.

"That's good. And how are the two of you?" Byakuya asked.

"We've been okay, the last month or so has been a bit slow. Getting used to being parents is tough, but we're getting there," Ichigo replied.

"Very good..." Byakuya was cut off when Ichigatsu began crying.

"Excuse me a moment..." Rukia said, leaving the two men.

"Well..." Byakuya began hesitantly, "I suppose this is as good a time as any to discuss it..."

"Discuss what?" Ichigo asked.

"You remember when I visited you the first time after you and Rukia started dating? Remember that I had my reasons for not objecting at all to it?"

"Yeah... vaguely," Ichigo said thinking back.

"Well, I wanted to tell you the reason for that." Byakuya smiled slightly as he thought before speaking, "You know of course that Rukia and I aren't blood siblings."

"Yeah, weren't you her older sister's husband, and then you adopted Rukia as your sister when your wife died, as she didn't have any other family?"

"In essence that is what happened, yes." Byakuya paused before continuing, "But that is not what I want to talk about really. Hisana, Rukia's sister and my wife, asked me for one thing when she was dieing."

"And that was?"

"To make sure Rukia was happy," Byakuya said. "That was all... so I've done my best to do as she asked."

"So when she and I wanted to be together, you didn't say a word because of a promise to your wife? Nothing to do with trusting me then?"

"Well, the fact that I knew you well didn't hurt either," Byakuya said with a hint of mirth in his voice.

"Well that's good," Ichigo said, a smirk forming on his face.

Rukia reentered at that point, still carrying her son. Byakuya stood, "Well, I'd better be going now."

"Brother, you will come see your nephew often won't you?" Rukia asked.

"Of course I will. He is going to inherit my bussiness after all. I need to make sure you two raise him properly," Byakuya said a little sternly. But then he looked down at his little nephew and his face softened, "And after all, he is my nephew."

Byakuya stepped to the door, and Ichigo followed, "Well see you soon Byakuya."

"Indeed, I will see you soon, Ichigo." Byakuya turned and exited the house.

Ichigo went back into the living room. Rukia sat there smiling at their son. Ichigo leaned against the door-frame, and smiled. "Rukia."

The girl looked up, "Yeah Ichigo?"

"You happy?" he asked her.

She looked at him a little perplexed, then she smiled, "Yeah."

Ichigo nodded.

A whole twelve months, they had paid off.

A Whole Twelve Months: Fin

Auf Wiedersehen