The fourth chapter is up. I hope this will match up to your expectations. Thanks for the reviews!

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, but can I at least have Grimmjaw in my dreams?


Chapter Four: Actions and Choices

"You weren't that bad last night, Ichigo."

Kuchiki Rukia, rather, Kurosaki Rukia snuggled into her husband's embrace and giggled. No movement.

"Did you hear what I said, Ichigo? I said—

A clobber on the head.

"What the hell was that for, strawberry?"

"Do you have any idea how hard that was to pull off," Ichigo shouted and glared at the woman on the futon, "I almost didn't enjoy last night because I was preoccupied about how to do my technique properly." He crossed his arms, frowned and looked away from her.

"Relax," she laughed lightly, "it was a compliment. I enjoyed last night." She pecked Ichigo's cheek and took Ichigo's hand. She placed it over her abdomen. Another smile. She continued, "And besides, if you squeal too much the baby will hate you when he comes out."

Ichigo rolled his eyes and pouted, "come on, it's not like it can hear us right now. I mean, it's just been over a month." He stood up and threw a pillow at her. He yelled again, "for you information, I do not squeal! I just raise my voice." He donned his robe.

Rukia stood up and put on her kimono. She slid open the door to the garden and sat down. To be honest, she really had no plans on getting married but, because of the prodding of the Kuchiki clan to settle down she had to do. And if she were to be wed with someone, it would be, without question, Kurosaki Ichigo.

"What's eating you?" Ichigo sat down beside her. She did not utter a word but instead rested her head on his shoulder. She sighed and closed her eyes. Ichigo yawned and stretched his arms and awkwardly laid them over her shoulders. He blushed and looked away from her. He cleared his throat.

"Since it's still early, how 'bout another round." Men really just cannot get enough of it. And Kurosaki Ichigo was no longer a little boy. He pinned Rukia to the ground. He began kissing her lips and pecking her neck. He began tasting her mouth and explored its every contour. He paused to catch his breath.

"But, we just did this last night," Rukia whined as she panted. She would have hit Ichigo down there. But, he pinned her down good. It might have worked last month but it won't work again. A trick does not work twice on him. He is, after all, Kurosaki Ichigo. She sighed and resigned to her fate.

Ichigo began fondling her ample breasts and nibbling her neck. She suppressed the sound of her ecstasy hoping to get him out of the mood. Instead, he made his way between her thighs and tasted her intimate sensitive spots. His tongue danced more violently. Rukia could no longer contain the pleasure.

"I win," he chuckled.

A vein popped on Rukia's head. With all the strength she could muster, she pushed Ichigo and pinned him to the ground. She grinned. There was no way she was going let him take control. She crushed her lips into his. Their tongues intertwined like a game of tug-of-war. Amidst the commotion, Ichigo had the presence of mind to unravel his wife's kimono.

Ahem.

The Commander-General Yamamoto cleared his throat and spoke as-a-matter-of-factly, "It seems that we have disturbed you while you were in the middle of something, Ichigo."

"As you can see," Ichigo snorted sarcastically, "at least let us finish or even just knock. Can't a guy do this before he goes to work?"

The elderly captain did not respond to Ichigo. He continued talking while the couple gathered their composure and clothes. "Central 46 ordered me to bring you to them whatever means necessary."

"What if I don't want to," Ichigo replied sternly. His confidence did not falter despite the army of shinigami and kidou troops that stood behind the Commander-General.

"I said whatever means necessary."

"What did Ichigo do wrong this time?" Rukia asked worriedly.

General Yamamoto explained, "Over the years, Central 46 has been arguing about what to do with you, Kurosaki. Remember that you have not properly passed away, you have stolen shinigami powers and what's more you are neither human nor shinigami. As you know, these are grave criminal offenses. Central 46 thinks it is best—

"Have I not done enough community service of guiding souls over the past century?"

"Yes, but, the majority of Central 46 thinks that such acts are not enough as atonement. They are still uncertain of your allegiances."

"I don't understand."

"All Central 46 wants is that you obey their orders."

"And if I don't?"

"They'll exile you do Hueco Mundo."

The ambiance was heavy. Everyone seemed to be ready to drawn his zanpaktou any moment. As a captain, Ichigo Kurosaki knew that making any suspicious movement would be enough for them to seize him. He bought time for him to think by slowly putting on his white cloak and getting his zanpaktou. He figured that the best way was, indeed, to follow the old man's orders.

Ichigo approached the senior captain and gestured that he was ready to go. Yamamoto nodded and signaled the kidou troops. Five of them surrounded Ichigo. They confiscated his weapon and restrained his arms.

"By order of Central 46, you are hereby under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will stand against you in the court of law."

"I know that," Ichigo twitched from the tightness of the cuffs. He followed the 1st squad captain as he exited their home. The rest followed. Although Ichigo did not understand what was happening, he knew he would get the answers as soon as he meets up with Central.

"Before I forget," Yamamoto said coldly, "Kurosaki Rukia, the hearing will be in a short while. Make sure to attend and bring your zanpaktou."

The old man disappeared. The kidou troops grabbed Ichigo and disappeared too. The rest followed. Rukia fell to her knees. Something bad would definitely happen. She prayed that she would have the strength to endure it.

Her hands were quivering as soon as she arrived at court. Her husband was nowhere to be found. She sat down and waited. Moments later, the doors open. There was a moment of relief when she heard her husband's voice. However, all that relief turned into anxiety when she saw bruises on Ichigo.

"What did they do you?" she rushed to his side and tended his battered face. Ichigo was still tied up with his strength zapped. Rukia looked around the court. None of them seemed to be on their side. They came closer not to check up on Ichigo but, to drag Rukia away from him.

The chief judge broke the commotion by reading out from the scroll, "After twelve charges of disobedience in the third degree, legal possession of hollow reiatsu, unlawful entrance to Soul Society and theft of shinigami powers, I, the supreme judge of Central 46, has found Kurosaki Ichigo guilty beyond reasonable doubt and he is sentence to exile from Soul Society unless a petition for bail is submitted."

"What is the price of bail?" Rukia's voice did not falter. She stood up and declared, "I will pay whatever it is."

The judge grinned, "bring her the zanpaktou."

"Don't, Rukia," Ichigo shouted, "You don't know what you're doing! I'd rather be sent to Hueco Mundo than let you do that!" Ichigo freed himself and slumped into his wife's arms. "Please, Rukia, you don't need to do this. I'll be fine."

She pulled away from him and shook of his hold. She signaled the attendants to hand her the zanpaktou she owned. No emotion escaped her eyes. No uncertainty from her voice echoed, "This is what I choose to do, Ichigo." She turned away from him and looked at the head judge, "what must I do, Your Honor."

"Take your zanpaktou and thrust it through his chest. The experts will channel your remaining reiatsu in Ichigo's body back to you."

Ichigo struggled to free himself but his movements were restrained. The attendants dragged him before Rukia and forced him to keep steady. She breathed deeply as she prepared herself. She widened her eyes and gazed into her husband's.

"Don't do this, Rukia," Ichigo clenched his teeth.

"This is my choice."

Just as a single thrust saved him from dying, one is all it needs to undo everything. She thrust her katana through his chest. Bright light appeared. He screamed in agony. The pain of dying. She pushed the sword in deeper. He shouted louder. She pulled her katana out. She slowly opened her eyes. It was silent.

She looked around. Her heart instantly shattered into pieces. She had lost something important. She gasped in horror. Her husband lied motionlessly on the ground. She fell to her knees and crawled to his side. She tapped his hand. No response. She kissed his forehead. Still none. She uttered a silent cry and buried her head on his chest. Not even a hint of movement. What did she just do?

"Ichigo, please wake up."

She fisted her husband's clothing and begged him to move. The heavens did not listen. She wept harder. She felt a tap on her shoulder. It was an attendant. She ignored it. She wrapped her arms around Ichigo. She was pulled back harder. She held onto her husband tighter.

"Ma'am, he's dead."

The attendants dragged her away from her husband. She refused. She screamed. She struggled. She shouted. She fought back. They hauled her away from him. They were unmoved by her cries. They carried her outside the courtroom. And just like that, they shut the doors behind her as if nothing happened.

Rukia blinked a few times. A pause. Reality dawned on her. She dared not scream any more. She dared not complain. She dared not cry. There was no other choice to make. It was the consequences of her actions; one she had to endure. She touched her abdomen and buried her face in her palms. She did not make a sound. She lifted her head up and wore a stone cold mask. A smile. Life has to move on.

On the other side of the door, Ichigo abruptly opened his eyes. He stood up and glanced back at the door where Rukia left. He looked away and suppressed a painful sighed by covering his mouth. He wiped his eyes dry and ran his hand through his hair. He followed the judges as they exited the room. Ichigo dared not look back. He dared not ponder on his wife or his child. He dared not think about regrets or anything else.

Regardless of what would happen, he was already as good as dead.


Please review! It inspires me to update when you review! Positive and negative criticism, I accept! I hope that the plot will be a bit clearer in the following chapters.