The Tale of Two Lovers

Author's Notes: Hurray!!!! I'm back with another fic. Whoo! This is actually a story from my ReixAya tandem but after not getting reviews from my readers I decided to make this story an Ichiruki fic. Haha. By the way, how are you all doing, minna? Hope you were all fine. This is a new IchiRuki fic so I hope you'll love this just like the love we had for this two couple (they aren't really a couple, right? But I wish they are). I used a prince-type plot here. I got the idea after watching the movie "The Prince and Me". Well, how do I say it, I really want to write stories like this on but there were circumstances that prevented me on writing it. So I'm hoping that you will like this one as I like it. I'm a fairytale lover, didn't you know that? It's because I'm dreaming of having a happy ending to. Whoo!!!!

You probably would find some mistakes on the grammar, punctuation marks, and prepositions in this chapter but I hope you can read it well. Please leave reviews, I need it. It serves as my motivation barometer. Haha. Hey! What are we all waiting for? Here now is Shachiecoh Hime signing on!!! Here we go.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. I do not own any episodes of the series Bleach or a hardcopy issue of its manga. I do not own Ichigo, Rukia, etc. or any Rukia and Ichigo sweetness you are going to witness in this chapter. I'm not the super genius Kubo Tite. I'm just Shachiecoh Hime.

"When it comes to love…

Most people believe you only have two choices. Either you play the part of the knight in shining armor and travel half way around the globe to find it or you wait patiently for love to come knocking as the damsel in distress would in the top most room of the highest tower.

What most people fail to realize that there is a middle ground between two extremes. Love is not something you can find in the same way you find a lost pen or a perfect white lie. Neither is it something that will just fall into your lap while you are sitting on a park during lunch on a bright sunny day. Love requires a balance between initiative and fate and is much like your favorite song; you listen to it, sing along and keep it playing."

-----Scene One: And it started Once Upon A Time-----

"…Did you get what I was trying to point out about love, your highness?" Kenpachi asked the future king of Karakura.

The prince nodded in his response.

"I see… Well that's all I have to discuss for today's lesson. I'll be seeing you next week, okay?" The teacher said.

"Yeah. Happy weekend, Sensei." The prince said to him.

Suddenly a knock came outside the door.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Who is it?" Ichigo asked.

"It's Uuryu, your highness." The kingdom's butler said.

"I see." Ichigo replied. "What do you want?"

"The King and Queen are calling you."

"Otou-sama and Okaa-sama?" He asked. "Doushite?"

"They didn't say. They're waiting at you at the dining room."

"I see. You may go then. I'll go there right away."

"Hai!"

At the dining table,

"Are you sure it's the best, Honey?" The queen asked.

"Yeah." The King replied. "That guy has no interest on ruling this kingdom that's why he didn't look for his own princess. If he rejects my offer then I have no choice but to put an arrange marriage."

The handsome prince then came in on the dining hall and greeted his parents. "You call me?" he asked the King.

"Yeah." The King replied after drinking wine on his goblet. "Have a sit." He told Ichigo.

He did as what the King ordered. "What do you want to talk about, Sire?" He asked.

"Well I hope you haven't forgotten."

"Forgotten about what?"

"You only have at least one year remaining before your 18th birthday."

"So?"

"That means that I'll pass the crown to you but in order to do that you must first find a princess who will soon be the queen of Karakura."

"What if I don't look for one?"

"Then I have no choice but to settle a political marriage for you, my son. Have you heard about the Lockhart Heiress? The princess of that kingdom is so beautiful. She's not bad if she ends up being our daughter-in-law."

Ichigo gulped hard. "You mean Lady Tifa of Nibelheim?" He asked. "She's engaged with the Prince Cloud of the Strife Clan. How could you do that? To break someone's relationship just to find me a princess! That's mean."

"Well, if you don't want what we are suggesting then you have to seek out a princess for yourself." The King ordered.

"What???"

"My dear…" The Queen said. "…You're not born in this world to live only with yourself. You're handsome and smart. I think there's a perfect girl waiting for you outside the castle. You have to find a girl who you have to protect."

"You're mother is right." The King agreed. "Now a take a limousine and an escort and roam around the city. Who ever catch your eyes will soon become your wife."

The handsome prince sighed. "Geez! Like there's a choice." He said. "All I have to do is find a girl, right? But what will happen if I don't bring a girl tonight?"

"Well…" The King replied. "I'm afraid to tell you that if you go home tonight without any result on your trip you will marry Lady Tifa no matter what."

Ichigo stood up on his seat. "Ishida." He called his butler.

The glass-wearing guy went inside the dining hall and asked. "You call?"

"Prepare my motorcycle for I'm going outside the kingdom and simple clothes for me." He ordered.

"As you wish." Ishida replied. "Hmmm… Should I join you?"

He shook his head. "Nope. This is my job alone.'

"I see. I understand."

Ichigo, wearing a pair of blue t-shirt and black pants with his hair dyed in black, hopped in on his motorcycle and rode off the castle. On his look, no one would think that he was the prince of Karakura. But despite on how ordinary he looks there's no denial that this guy is one in a million for being a handsome!!!!

He roams around the city. He saw many beautiful girls in a wealthy family; poor family but no one catch his attention. The King's challenge would be easy if only he had a girlfriend but he had no idea of what is love and he never experiences it before. For him, being the Karakura's prince is really pain in the butt. Why must he have to find a princess right away? As far as he know, about Kenpachi's lesson last morning that love is not easy to find in the same way you find a lost pen or a perfect white lie. Neither is it something that will just fall into your lap while you are sitting on a park during lunch on a bright sunny day. If he can only be reborn in this world again he'll wish to be born as an ordinary citizen of that country with a freedom. Where in he can have fun with everyone, go to school from Monday to Friday and most of all gain many friends.

It's already noon but finding the girl you want to be with for the rest of your life is difficult. He's tired and he's hungry. If he didn't find one he'll end up marrying Lady Tifa and that will surely hurt Prince Cloud. Tifa is his childhood friend and she's beautiful and there's no doubt about it but she's engaged with one of his friend and he can't afford to hurt him since he is a good friends with him. After a while, he decides to look for a place to stay first. He wants to rest and plans to continue his searching for the right one after he eats.

He wander and wander all over the town without knowing that's he is already in a place he have never been there before. He found a small forest and he is intrigued on what lies inside it. He parked his motorcycle and then he enters the said forest. As he walks, there he discovers an old church located in the middle of a forest. "A church?' He thought. "I never thought that there's a place like this in Karakura." He heads toward it and he slowly opened the wooden door and there he sees broken pieces of chair, dried leaves, broken statues of angels etc. He looked above and he sees that the roof is so rusty and had lots of holes which enables sunlight to come in.

In the front of the altar there were lots of flowers planted on the ground. He can smell the sweet sent of the said flower. "Iris?" He thought. He was then surprised to see a girl wearing a blue sleeve-less dress who seems to be checking the condition of the flowers. Her back is facing him so he had no idea on what she looks like.

"Anno…" Ichigo called.

The girl, whose name is Rukia, flips out and surprised. She looked back to the church's entrance and asked. "Dare?"

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew and the irises petals soon dances on the air as the two of them looked at each other. Silence fall on those two.

Tuug! Tuug! Tuug!

Tuug! Tuug! Tuug!

Tuug! Tuug! Tuug!

Ichigo looked at her. She did the same. No one's making the move to speak and ask who she is or who is he. "Nande?" Ichigo thought. "My heart beats so fast."

Seeing his trouble eyes, Rukia stood up and came closer to him. She asks. "Daijobu?"

He startled. "Huh?" He replied.

"Are you okay?" She asked again. "You were spacing out."

"Ahh… Yeah. I'm fine."

"I see. That's good." She said as she went back to the flowers to check on them.

Ichigo followed her and said. "That's a good flower. Are you the one taking care of it?"

Rukia nodded. "Yeah. No one knows that there's Iris blooming here in the church that's why I came to this place every now and them to take care of them."

"I see." Ichigo replied.

Silence.

He then thinks of something to say to break the silence. "But you know that you can gain money with that?" He added.

Rukia looks at him and asked. "Really? How come?"

"Yeah. Why not sell those flowers on the market. If you do that, Karakura will be beautiful, right? It's just like Karakura full of flowers and wallet full of money, right?"

"Karakura full of flowers and wallet full of money, you say?" Rukia asked. "I like that. It sounds interesting."

"I'll help you."

"Promise?"

"Yeah."

They stare at each others once again. She smiled at him. He did the same. "I haven't introduce myself to you, Have I?" She asked. "I'm Rukia. Rukia Kuchiki. Nice to meet you."

"Rukia?" Ichigo asked. "Nice to meet you too. I'm…" He paused for a while. "Should I tell her I'm Prince Ichigo? No. It will be a wrong move if I say that besides she didn't even notice it was me. It maybe because of the reason I dyed my orange hair with black color before leaving the palace. "Well… I'm… Kaien Shiba." Ichigo introduce himself. He decided to hide his true identity first to her by using a fake name.

"Kaien??" Rukia asked. "That's a good name."

"You think so? Thanks." He replied. "Actually, Kaien Shiba is a character from the novel I'm currently reading." He said to his mind.

"By the way, I'm just curious." Rukia told him as she stood up and sat on one of church's chair. "How did you find this abandoned church? I mean it's located inside the forest and far away from the city. How come you get here? Are you lost?"

"Ahh…" Ichigo said. It's another question that it's hard for him to answer. "Well… the reason is I'm the prince and I'm looking for a princess. No. He she wouldn't believe that." He thought of himself. "Well not really. I was just having some trouble with my parents so I left the house to cool my mind. As I look for a place to hide I see this forest and my feet brought me here."

"Really?" Rukia asked. "Can you tell me about it?"

Ichigo smiled.

Rukia sees through Ichigo's eyes that he doesn't want to talk about it. "Okay. If you don't want to then I will not force you to tell me."

"I'm sorry. It's a serious matter. But… I will definitely tell it to you when the time comes."

"Alright. There must be a reason why you don't want to talk about that. So I'll wait. I'll wait until you want to tell me. But it's okay if you don't."

Ichigo looks at her. "Thanks. But how about you?" He asked again. "Do you live here?"

"Nope. I live in the town. This place is my sanctuary."

"Ahh…"

"By the way have you taken your lunch yet?"

"Well…" Ichigo replied.

"I prepared lunch myself before I went here. Care to join me?"

He is about to opened his mouth to answer, but his stomach did the talking. He blushed because of embarrassment and shifted nervously. "Are… Are you sure?"

Rukia smiled. "Of course I am. I made lots of it so I don't mind sharing it with you. Let's go outside the church. There's a big Sakura tree outside. Let's eat there."

Ichigo nodded as his response.

The two of them soon step out of the abandoned church and headed to the Sakura tree that Rukia had been talking a while ago. It's located in front of the church. She placed a checkered blanket on the ground and serves the food one at a time. There were bread, pasta, chicken, a bottle of cold soft drinks and a chocolate cake. Ichigo starts to wonder why it is many.

"Are you expecting someone to come here? I mean are you having picnic with your friends here?" He asked as he sat on the ground.

"Huh?" Rukia asked. "Why did you say so?"

"Isn't the food were too much?" He asked.

"Oh! I get it." Rukia asked. "It's because today is my birthday."

"Ah…" Ichigo replied. "Wait! Your birthday?"

Rukia nodded. "Yup. I'm 17 now."

"Oh. Happy birthday."

"Thanks."

"Are planning on celebrating it alone?" He asked.

"My brother is working overseas but he called me and greeted me."

"What about your friends?"

"We celebrated it yesterday right after my class. We held it in my house."

"Ah…"

"Here." Rukia said as she handed the plate to Ichigo containing pasta, bread with tuna spread and a slice of chocolate cake."

"Thanks." Ichigo replied.

"ITTADAKIMASU!!!!" They both said in unison.

Together they both eat the food that Rukia prepared. "It's delicious." Ichigo said. "Are you the one who cooked it?"

"Yeah. Isn't it a bit salty?"

"No. It's great. What do you call this dish?"

"Pasta with white sauce, I think." Rukia replied.

"In our palace I remember our maid serve something like this too. I think it's called Carbonara." Ichigo said.

"I see." Rukia replied. "Wait! Did you say palace?"

Ichigo gulped hard. "Place. I mean in our place our maid serve something like this too."

"Really? I was surprise when I mistakenly heard palace."

"Why?"

"I thought you're one of the Kingdom's guard or knights." Rukia replied.

"Ahh… The truth is… I'm." Ichigo said but didn't continue. "Changing the topic." He said. "You said a while ago that this place is your sanctuary, right?"

"Yeah. But I only come to this place during weekends or whenever there are no classes in school. When I'm in the church I feel solitude and calmness here. I like the view here, you know?"

"The view…?" Ichigo asked curiously. "…But the only thing that you can see here is the church, right?"

Rukia shook her head. She holds Ichigo's head and tilt it 40 degrees on the left side of the church. "Look." She said.

His eyes widened on what he sees. "That's…" He replied.

"Yup." Rukia replied. "The Balamb Garden-- Karakura's Palace."

"I never knew that you can have a view of the palace from here." Ichigo said. (It's his home, right?)

"I didn't notice it before but you know…" Rukia said. "…Whenever I stared at the palace I don't know why but it really makes me feel good. I think it's because I'm dreaming of living on it before."

"Huh?"

"Funny, isn't it? How can I live in such a wonderful place like that? I mean I'm just an ordinary girl here in Karakura." Rukia said. "Oh, wait!" She said. "There's a way."

"What?"

"Marry the prince." Rukia answered. It makes Ichigo's heart skipped for a while. "But how can I do that? I never meet the prince before."

He didn't answer.

"Doushite? If you want to laugh you can. I don't mind."

"I'm not laughing." Ichigo told her. "Anno… Rukia." He said.

"Nani?"

He looked at her honest eyes. "Iie.."

Rukia's wondering why but she said. "Okay." After a couple of silence, Rukia said something again. "You know I was wondering if the prince lived a happily life?"

"What do you mean?"

"It's just that I got the feeling that the prince is somehow comparable to a caged bird. They said that if you're a prince or a princess you'll get whatever you like but is that really true? I mean what if the prince is suffering like he can't decide on his own free will because the King and Queen were the one who always make decisions for him. It's tough, you know? It's like your fate is being controlled by others."

Ichigo remained silence. He never thought that there's someone here who understands his situation. "I guess you're right." He answered.

"I think I kinda see myself to him too."

"You mean you're alike?"

"I lost my parents when I was a kid and now I'm living with my brother. My brother is very strict and never let me do anything a girl would do. I always had a curfew at six and they are not allowing me to do part-time jobs, and, worst of all, being furious at me even if I a few points off on being number one in academics. He also never allowed me to go on dates. I feel like I was being tied down. One day I wake up that this must come to end. I made up my mind not to follow other desires but instead live life by my own rules, take whatever life throws at me and have the most out of everything. If I ever get the chance to meet the prince I'll say it to him. It's just that I'm worried that time will come that he can't decide on his own. If that happens he'll never get he chance to stand on his own feet that surely affects his ruling in this kingdom for sure."

"Rukia." Ichigo called.

"Oh I'm sorry." Rukia said. "I was carried away. I'm sorry."

"No. It's fine." Ichigo told her. "Hearing that makes me realize that you are right and you shouldn't let others decide your own happiness."

Suddenly a pink butterfly passed between them. "Look." Rukia said. "A butterfly. Kirei."

"Yeah." He agreed. He then remembers something he learned from his mother when he was young. He raises his palm and allowed the butterfly to land on it. It really does. Rukia was amazed on it. "Sugoi." She said.

Ichigo then holds Rukia's right hand and slowly transferred the pink butterfly on her palm. "My mother once told me that if you catch a butterfly you should whisper a wish on it and set it free. The butterfly is the one who will deliver your wish to the Gods."

"Really?"

"Make a wish." Ichigo said. "Today's your birthday, right?"

"But what will I wish?" Rukia asked.

"Something you never had before?"

Rukia thought for a while. "I have good friends and have a happy life too but there's something I didn't experience yet. If I wish for a prince would that be okay?"

"A prince?" Ichigo asked. "Hmm… I think so."

Rukia then closes her eyes and prayed. "Well to the gods or goddess who will receive my message I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish today. I'm wishing that one of these days I'll meet my prince. It's just that I am envious with my friends because there's someone that looks after them. Please I want to be protected too." Rukia slowly opened her eyes and set the butterfly free. "Will my wish come true?" Rukia asked Ichigo. "Maybe I should wish something better like passing my midterm exams or an increase in my allowance."

"Who knows?" He answered. "You have to believe."

"I guess you're right."

Suddenly,

"Hey!" Ichigo said as he remembered something. "I brought my i-pod here. Care to listens some songs for a while?"

"Sure." Rukia replied.

They seated right to each others. Ichigo placed one of the ear phone on Rukia's left ear and the other one was on his. "Which songs do you want to listen?" He asked.

"Anything." Rukia replied.

"How about songs from Aqua Timez or from UVERworld?" Ichigo asked.

"Oh? You like that?" Rukia questioned. "Me too. I also like listening to the songs of Boa, Yui, Kotoko and Mami Kawada, Gack-T."

"Really? That's my favorites too. I didn't know we share the common interests when it comes to music. I wonder in other things."

"Let's see." Rukia said. "Who's your favorite author?"

"Well she's not that famous yet but I love some of her novels and fan fictions. Maybe you never heard of her before but she's my favorite. Her name is Shachiecoh Hime (Ehem!)" Ichigo said.

"The one who wrote the very successful "When God writes your story" and "I'm in love with my sister" story" Rukia replied.

"You know her?" He asked.

"Of course. I'm a big fan of her." Rukia giggled. "Hey, Kaien." She called.

"Yes?" He asked even though his name is Ichigo.

"Don't you find it weird? It's the first time we meet each other but we really clicked a lot don't you think. I never thought of meeting someone with the same interest like mine."

"Yeah."

The two of them listen to Ichigo's i-pod for a long time. There were times that they were sing along with the music even though it's not on the right tune. They had fun. They didn't even notice the time. After listening to almost 23 tracks of music Ichigo thought about his father's deal. He asked Rukia. "Neh, Rukia… Do you think we could be a great couple?"

She didn't answer.

"Hey." Ichigo called. "Because if you say yes… I'll tell you that I'm Karakura's…" He isn't finished on what he's saying when Rukia's head fall on his shoulder. She's sleeping like a princess.

He smiled. He removed the earphone on her ear and comfortably allowed Rukia to sleep on his shoulder. He sighed. "What the hell I was saying, right?" You told me that I shouldn't let anyone controls my fate. I was about to give up but I met you. Thanks." He whispered to Rukia. He then removes several hair stands on Rukia's face and tells her. "Sleep well for a while. I'll be right next to you as soon as you wake up."

Several hours had passed and the sun is about to set. Ichigo found himself sleeping also right next to Rukia. He's the first one to wake up. "Huh?" He said after opening his tired eyes. "Where am I?" He asked when he sees Rukia still sleeping on his shoulder. He removed once again the hair strands covering Rukia's beautiful face. It tickled her. "Hmm…" Rukia said as she opened her eyes.

"Oh. I'm sorry." Ichigo said. "Did I wake you up?"

Rukia blushes seeing Ichigo's face an inch away from her. She quickly raises her head away from his shoulder and apologizes. "Gomen, I didn't know that I fall as sleep. I'm so embarrassed. You should at least wake me up."

"Iie. There's nothing to worry about it. I fell asleep too."

"Really?"

"Besides you were sleeping peacefully and I can't afford to wake you up."

"I see. Thanks. By the way I have something to tell you."

"What?" Ichigo asked.

"Remember what I wished at the butterfly a while ago." Rukia asked.

"Yeah."

"You know I dreamed that I was sleeping right on Prince Ichigo's shoulder then he asked me if we could be a great couple."

Ichigo is surprised. That incident happened, right? He paused for a while and asked. "So… So what did you answer to his question?"

"I agreed." Rukia said happily. "I wished that I want to meet a prince but I never expected that a real prince will come and visit me in my dreams. Even though it's just a dream asking by the prince a question like that really makes me happy."

Ichigo smiled. "Dreams do coming true, right?"

Rukia nodded. "I know someday my prince will come. I'll be waiting for that." She stood up and looks at the crimson sky. "It's beautiful." She said.

"Yeah."

"Today was very fun. Right, Kaien?"

"Eh? Yes. Well, too much stuffs happened though." Ichigo replied.

"I learnt many new things today… and spent a wonderful day, all because of you, Kaien."

Ichigo blushed.

Rukia looks at Ichigo. "Hey, don't over do yourself by trying to bear all the problems. If you're having trouble with your parents or can't decide on your own just remember things like this. If you do it like you did today, face problems and head on. I'm sure you would experience wonderful things one day. It will be alright. You are what you are."

"Rukia."

She smiled at him. "It was really fun today."

"Yeah." Ichigo agreed. "By the way I'm afraid to tell it to you but I have to go home now."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah."

"Wait!" Rukia told him. "Call me right away as soon as you arrive at your home, okay?" She handed a piece of card to him- A calling card.

"Huh?"

"So that I can assure myself that you went home safely."

Ichigo smiled. "Okay. I'll call you."

"Thanks."

"But before I leave there's something I want you to have." Ichigo said as he removes something on his neck. He gave it to Rukia.

"A necklace?" Rukia asked. It's a white-gold necklace with a lock heart pendant on it. On the middle of the pendant there's a stone place on it. It's a white crystal. "What's this stone?" She asked again.

"A diamond." Ichigo answered. "A very rare diamond. It's called the Heart of Ocean."

"Heart of ocean?"

"Yeah."

"I can't have this."

"Eh?"

"I can't have an expensive thing like this. I'm sorry."

Ichigo closes Rukia's hand with the necklace on it. "It's my gift for you since today's your birthday and for our first meeting. Keep it."

"Are you sure?"

Ichigo nodded.

"Thanks."

He then wears it around Rukia's neck. "Kirei." She said.

"I'm glad that you liked it." Ichigo said. "Neh, Rukia?"

"Eh?"

"We… We will meet again, right?"

Rukia smiled. "Yeah. I get the feeling we'll meet again."

"Hearing that makes me happy. Well then I'll leave now but first I'll walk you home."

"Iie. I can do it on my own. Just don't forget your promise that you'll call me, okay?"

Ichigo smiled. "Hai."

Ichigo soon went home after that. On his way, Uuryu met him. "You're late." Uuryu told him.

"I know." Ichigo said after handling to Uuryu the clothes he borrowed last morning. His hair is also back to its normal color. "Where are the King and Queen?"

"They are at their room." Ishida replied.

"I'm going to talk to them." The prince said. He then went to his parent's room. "Father." He called outside the room.

"Come in." His father replied.

He opened the door and step in. "I'm back." He said.

Putting down the pen he is holding the King replied. "So? You're alone? Does that mean I won?"

"I will not marry Lady Tifa." Ichigo said straight to the point.

"But you lost to our deal, right?" The King said.

"Father." He explained. "Ever since I was a kid I always followed whatever orders you ordered me. I never been a bad son to you until now but in times like this I'm afraid but I have to disobey you. I won't allow you to steal my own happiness just for the sake of the kingdom. Whoever I want to go steady with and spend my life with forever is my choice. That's why I'm not going to marry her. If you still insisted it then marry her in place of me. Got that?"

"Ichigo." The queen called. "You speak like…"

"It's okay, Honey." The King said. "So don't tell me you found one?"

"I don't know but thanks to her I was awaken. I'm not a doll that was being controlled by your own strings. I have a life too. I want to at least experience being ordinary guy with freedom too. That's all I have to say now. Good night."

"Fine. Do whatever you want. But if you still haven't found a princess before your birthday I'm afraid but you have to marry Lady Tifa. Let's see if you can find one." The King challenged.

Ichigo smiled.

"You're pretty confident, huh. What's the meaning of that?"

"Ha!" Ichigo said. "Then I tell you now. You are already lost."

The King smiled. "Is that so? If that's the case then I want to meet her as soon as possible."

"No. It's not the time yet."

"Doushite?"

"I don't know but for now at least I found someone whom I can protect…" Ichigo said. He twists the knob of the door and leaves. As he walks, he thought.

"…someone I can look too."

To be continued.

..

Notes:

It's done!!!! Chapter 1 is done!!! Banzai!!! Haha. How do you like it, my dear readers? Did you enjoy it? If so, please leave a comment for me. It will be appreciated! You know… it makes the author happy when their readers appreciate their works. Wahaha! It's just like what a friend said. ^^

If you have any questions or comments. Please PM me, okay? I'll be willing to answer that. So? I'll see you all in Scene 2. You better look forward to that. ^^

See you later!

Shachiecoh Hime