On The Way to a Smile

Author's Notes: Yay! I have another IchiRuki fic. (Smiles). I wonder if you're going to like it. (Well, I hope so). This story will take place after the end of the war. To tell you about the summary, Ichigo finally defeated Aizen. Everyone's happy about it but there's a big problem. During the final battle, Rukia was badly injured and was about to die but Uruhara saved her by using the Hogyoku. In the end, Rukia lived and everyone's celebrating but now that Hogyoku is sealed within Rukia's body, something will happen that will change the world of Rukia and Ichigo. What is it? Just read the story and follow every chapter to find out. ^^

By the way, this is a prologue. I'm not good in describing the fight scenes here but I hope you can understand it. (Sorry about that.) 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. _

On the Way to a Smile

The war that brought Karakura Town into mess is about to end. The war that caused many people to die is about to be finished. Tousen was beaten by Hisagi and Komamura. Gin was beaten by Ichigo with the help of third squad acting captain- Kira. Now the question is who among Ichigo or Aizen will raise the final curtain.

Meanwhile, not far from the battlefield is Rukia, lying on the ground, bleeding and is fighting for her life. Byakuya, Renji and her other friends are beside her calling her name and asking not to give up.

"It's weird." Rukia thought. "No matter how I tried to think about things still there are only two things that are running on my mind right now. The first one is my happy days back at Soul Society. The things Renji, Nii-sama, the others as well as Kaien-dono's and I shared together. Lots of sad things happened back then… painful memories." Rukia thought once again.

"Rukia!" Renji called.

"Hang in there!"

"Kuchiki-san." Inoue cried.

"Eh? I hear voices in my head. They are calling me but my eyes are so heavy that I can't even take a glimpse of whose calling me besides my body hurts like hell. What the hell did happen I can't even open my tired eyes?" She paused for a while. Oh god! Everything's turning black. And my eyes lids are getting heavier. I want to sleep. I want to rest my tired eyes. So…

this is what it feels like to die…"

The rain starts to fall.

"RUKIA!"

"Eh?" I knew that voice." Rukia smiled on her dreams. "I see."

"Do you want to know the very last thing that entered my mind right before everything went black? You."

Prologue

"Is it over?" Ukitake asked as most of the Captains are on the ground without enough reiatsu and can't go on fighting Aizen anymore.

"I can't tell." Toushiro answered.

"Taichou!" Matsumoto called.

The spiky-white-haired captain looked back and asked. "Matsumoto, are you alright?"

She nodded. "Hinamori just finished healing me." She looked at the sky and. "But, that substitute Shinigami… he looks badly wounded."

Toushiro looks at the said person. "Yeah. But he's only our hope."

At the sky,

"Get back, Rukia." Ichigo said. He's body is severely damaged but still he was struggling to stay up.But he was still in a much better shape than Aizen. He was a bloody mess and was down on one knee, barely able to move. "Stay away from here." He said once again.

"Eh?" Rukia asked wondering. "What are you saying?" She asked. Instead, she comes to him and tries healing him with her kidou. "Stay still... it will take a while but…"

"I told you to go!" Ichigo shouted. "You've fight really well but this fight is not yours." He added. He looks at Aizen. He's smiling at him and that smile annoyed Ichigo. "I can't let you die here."

Rukia punched him on the face. "Idiot! Don't say that… I will fight with you."

Ignoring the pain from Rukia's punch, Ichigo looks at her and whispered. "Don't be so stubborn. You're running out of reiatsu. If you fight with me… If you're here with me… I can't focus on the fight. I can't beat Aizen if there's another thing that is running on my mind. Do you know what it is? It's to protect you. That's why… you have to go and help Inoue and the other 4th squad members healing the other injured Shinigamis."

"Ichigo."

"Aizen is my opponent. He tricked and betrayed the Gotei 13. He's the reason why you was brought back to Soul Society and was nearly killed by the Soukyoku. He kidnapped Inoue and destroys my hometown and hurt my friends. That guy standing there… I want to beat him with my two hands. That's why…"

Rukia just looked at him. She then remembers what Ukitake said to her before. "There are two types of fights. As we have put our lives in battle, we must be able to distinguish between the two. The fight to protect life and the fight to protect pride." Rukia smiled. "I guess I know what you are fighting for."

"Huh?"

"Promise me one thing." Rukia said. "Come back to me…" She paused for a while and continued. "…Alive."

Ichigo looks at her. He smiled. "Yeah. I will."

Rukia then go back to the ground and joined Orihime and the others tending the injured of the other wounded Shinigamis.

Meanwhile,

"Are you two done with your love talk?" Aizen asked.

Ichigo stands up using Zangetsu as his support. "Shut up!"

"I hope the couple of minutes I gave to you and Kuchiki-san are enough for you to say what you want to say to each others because there will be no next time."

"What do you mean?"

"This fight… this starts to make me feel boring that is why I'm going to finish it now. Listen, Kurosaki Ichigo, I will kill you and then I will use the Spiritual power of Karakura Town for me to make the King Seal. But worry not, you will not die alone. Your family and your friends will also join you."

"I won't let that happen." Ichigo said. He then charge toward Aizen as he transform himself to his Vizard form. The two exchanges clashes of swords.

"GETSUGA TENSHOU!" Ichigo shouted as he throws him several of his Zangeki. Zangetsu takes Ichigo's spiritual pressure and releases the super high density pressure from the blade right on Aizen's place but Aizen, who was alert, countered it with a high level Kidou but Getsuga Tenshou just blocked it and since it's multiple, Aizen wasn't able to defend himself. Huge smoke then enveloped the field and when the smoke fades away there's Aizen, down on his knee, and is holding onto his sword as his support.

"Damn it!" Aizen said as he clicked his tongue disappointedly. "You're running out of reiatsu but still…" He thought. Suddenly, as he not expected, a huge light enveloped him and a small piece of stone just get out from his body. "It can't be…" He said as he stared at the said stone.

Ichigo, who's looking at him, asked. "What's that?"

"It's the Hogyoku." Uruhara said as he watched them from the ground.

"Eh?" Yoruichi asked. "But just a while ago… The Hogyoku fused itself to Aizen's body so…?"

"I also don't know." Uruhara replied. "But this is Kurosaki-san's chance." He looked up to the substitute shinigami and called him. "Kurosaki-san!" he shouted. "Aizen is finally out of the control of the Hogyoku. He can't now use his High Speed Regeneration."

"Uruhara-san." Ichigo called as he looks at him.

"Damn you, Uruhara." Aizen said.

"That's what you get for stealing someone's property." Uruhara said.

Aizen smirked. "So what's wrong if the Hogyoku fused out off my body? With my Kyouka Suigetsu on my side… you will not able to beat me. All I have to do is…" He said. He stares at Ichigo. "…to let Kurosaki Ichigo take a glimpse on it." He bowed his head. Aizen's sword then returned to its sealed state. After a while, he raised his head and called. "Break."

Hearing Aizen's release command, Ichigo rushes towards him and slashed Zangetsu over Aizen's sword. "Like I'm going to let you call your Zanpaktou once again." He shouted. Aizen accidentally gets lost of holding his sword and it goes flying in the air. It happened to fall on Hirako's arm.

"Fuck." Aizen said as he looked to the blonde guy with a smile on his face.

Right in front of Aizen, Hirako breaks it by dividing the sword into two. "It's just like you said, Aizen. BREAK! Wahaha!"

Seeing his Zanpaktou in two pieces, Aizen got angry. "You modified Arrancar!" he shouted. He was about to throw a level 90 kidou but it was blocked once again by Ichigo.

"I'm your opponent." He said. "Give up now, Aizen. You're craving for power leads you to your demise."

Aizen looks at him. "Why… Why are you so strong?"

Ichigo looks back at him. "It's because I have something to protect. True powers come from protecting which is precious to you." Images of his father, his twin sisters, his dead mother, his friends and lastly, Rukia flashed on his mind. "There's always someone who believes in me. Unlike you, where are your friends? Where are your followers? Do you think those hollows left in Hueco Mundo are all waiting for your return? Do you know what the difference between the two of us? You're alone, Aizen. And that's what makes you weak."

"Shut up!" Aizen said. "What can you protect if your only weapon is emotion?"

"You're wrong." Ichigo said. "With this emotions… I made it this far. With my friend's faith I was able to wound you and saved Rukia and Inoue from your dirty hands. The power in my hand is gained for their sake."

Aizen laugh. "Foolish!" He paused for a while. "Well… whatever. Say what you want to say. After all, you'll die in the end.

Ichigo smiled. "I'm sorry but I made a promise." He said remembering his last conversation with Rukia a while ago. "You're the one who will die, Aizen."

Hearing what Ichigo said, Aizen emits all his remaining reiatsu. Ichigo did the same. The captains, the vizards and the rest of the Shinigamis eyes are on them.

"Sugoi!" Hinamori said. "Capt… I mean Aizen and Kurosaki-san is fighting for so long yet their powers are still strong."

Toushiro comes closer to her. "It will end any minute now. Kurosaki… Do your best. The fate of the entire Soul Society and Karakura Town is in your hands."

Ichigo holds Zangetsu with his two hands. "I'm going to give everything in this shot so help me, Zangetsu-san." He thought. "I will beat you Aizen and after this fight I will have a happy reunion with everyone."

Aizen laughs. "I wonder about that." He said. He stole a glance to a female shinigami and smiled. He's up to something but what?

"What do you mean?" Ichigo asked.

"It's too early for me die but if that's what gonna happen then I'll let her join me."

"Her?" Ichigo thought.

Aizen then raises his hands and a ball of light starts to form from it. "This is a technique that I was able to do on my own. Be proud to see." Aizen said.

Ichigo's eyes widen. "Cero?" He asked.

Aizen nodded. "Not your ordinary Cero." He said. "Goodbye, Ryoka boy!" He said as he shot the Cero on Ichigo's direction. Being alert on it, Ichigo fires his Getsuga Tenshou to block it but Aizen's Cero bends and is heading on other direction.

"What?" Ichigo asked wondering.

"It bends." Renji said. He's watching the fight along with his 6th Squad Captain- Byakuya. They all followed the Cero with their eyes and all of them get shock when they found out that it's heading on Rukia's direction. The said shinigami is currently walking to help a shinigami recover from his injuries.

"Crap!" They said.

"RUKIA!" Ichigo shouted as loud as he can. "GET OUT OF THERE!"

Rukia heard Ichigo's voice. "Eh?" She asked. She turned around to see what's going on but the upcoming black Cero travelling on her direction with a speed of light caught her attention. "Oh my god!" She prayed. She tried to get away from it but it seems that her feet are glued on the ground. His brother, Byakuya, tried to use Flash Steps to save her but its too late. Rukia's direction is far away from theirs and the other captains tried to stop it but by freezing it with ice, by blowing it with Ryuujin Jakka's flames and even a black Getsuga Tenshou from Ichigo but its all absorb by Aizen's new power. In the end, the Cero explode right where Rukia stood up.

BOOM!

The ground is surrounded by a huge smoke.

Everybody stops.

Everybody's shocked.

And then, inside the crater created by that huge explosion, lies a bloody Rukia. She's barely unconscious. Her body hurts like hell.

"RUKIA!" Byakuya shouted. He comes immediately to his sister's aid. "Rukia…" He called once again.

Renji and the others come to her.

"Is she alright?" Yumichika asked.

"Idiot!" Ikaku said. "Look at Rukia-chan. Does it look like she's okay?"

"I'm sorry." Yumichika apologized.

"Inoue… Come here, hurry!" Matsumoto called.

The said girl comes beside Rukia. Her body is completely soaked with blood. "Shun'ou, Ayame" She called. "Sōten Kisshun watashi wa kyozetsu suru. (Twin heavenly returning shield, I reject!). The twofairy-like creatures soon form a half-oval barrier around Rukia's dead-like body.

Meanwhile, Ichigo's body can't move. His eyes are focused on Rukia. Lots of thoughts start to fall on his mind. "Is she alive?" "Is she alright?" That's what he thought.

"What's wrong Ryoka boy?" Aizen asked. He's still alive because he dodged the Getsuga Tenshou released by Ichigo to block his Cero. "You're naïve. I gave you a hint already, right? That I will let her join my death but unfortunately… I managed to survive." He said as he laughed. "Anyways, that technique is called Death Prize. I will release a powerful Cero and I can bend its direction. Not only that- that technique can't be healed by anyone. Even Inoue Orihime's Shun Shun Rikka would not be able to heal it."

"What?" Ichigo asked surprisingly.

"It can't be." Renji said after hearing what Aizen said.

"Kuchiki Rukia will die!" Aizen said.

Byakuya then comes to Aizen and fight him. Toushiro, Uruhara, Renji, Hirako and the rest of the Soul Society join forces to killed Aizen. One by one they attacked him.

"I'll kill you." Byakuya said.

"How is it? To lost another family member?" Aizen asked.

Senbonzakura then shatters into one thousand blades that are so small they can not be seen, they scatter around Aizen and shreds him.

"Captain!" Renji called. Byakuya looked back and see Renji on his Bankai from. "Baboon Canon!" Zabimaru then release a ball of light from its mouth and shot at Aizen.

The Captains continue what they are doing. They finally know what it is to have a team work. Aizen can't barely stand, he's alone and running out of reiatsu. "Ichigo!" Renji called. "Avenge Rukia." He shouted.

Hearing Rukia's name made his senses back to reality. He bowed his head and placed his hand right in front of his face. He brushed it in the air and his hollow mask appeared on his face. Renji and the others play the decoy where Ichigo finds an opening to kill Aizen. Now that the Kyouka Suigetsu is broken, all of them are free from the controls of it. Ichigo noticed that Aizen failed to guard his back that's why; he takes it as an advantage and the thrust Zangetsu behind him. And the immortal called Aizen Sousuke falls.

Back to where Rukia is.

"Rukia." Renji called. "Hang in there."

No response. Rukia just rolled her eyes around the battlefield. Everything was a mess. There were dead bodies of Arrancars, Espadas, Shinigamis, etc. It was a gruesome thing to behold. "Re- Renji?" She called.

The said man looks at her and asks, worriedly. "Rukia? What's wrong?"

As the blood flows down on her cheeks, she looked at her best friend with no light on her eyes. "My body starts to feel numb. What's wrong with me?"

Renji's eyes widen. "Don't say that, Rukia. Inoue's healing you. You'll get better soon so don't talk."

Rukia faked a smile. "Nii-sama? Are you there?"

Byakuya, who's holding her left hand, looks at her dying sister. "I'm here, Rukia."

"Nii-sama. You know. I want to tell you my gratitude for taking care of me for so long. Thank you very much for what you have done to me. It's just a waste that I will not be able to repay your kindness."

Byakuya bowed his head. "You sounded like you're going to leave us."

"I'm sorry." She said. "Everyone, I'm sorry. I wouldn't be able to join the victory party after the fight. Geez! I'm looking forward to it the most but now it's impossible."

"Stop saying things like that!" Renji shouted. "Ichigo finally beat Aizen so you better fight hard too. Shut your mouth and let Inoue and Unohana-taichou heal you.

"Is that so? I'm happy about that." She whispered. "Speaking of Ichigo- It's like I'm the one who can't keep the promise. Tell Ichigo I'm sorry."

Inoue starts to cry. "Ku-Kuchiki-san?"

"I only spent less than a year with you guys but with that less amount of time, I can say that I'm really happy having met you." She paused for a while. "Eh?"

"What's wrong, Rukia?" Renji asked.

"My eyes start to feel heavy. Let me sleep for a while."

Hearing what Rukia said shocked everyone. "Iie! Just look at me!" Byakuya shouted. "I want you to look at me?"

"I'm sorry, Nii-sama." Rukia slowly closed her tired eyes and told everyone. "Sayonara."

Everyone stops.

Tears start to fall from their eyes. "RUKIA!" They shouted.

"Inoue, Unohana-taichou!" Renji called. "What's going on?"

"Don't worry. She just fainted but… my powers… It's no use." Inoue cried. "Her wounds never stop bleeding."

Ichigo then finally comes in right after his wounds were slightly healed by Hanatarou. Ichigo was instructed by the petite shinigami to rest for a the meantime while he is tending to his wounds but the said guy refused telling that he needs to be on Rukia's side. "How's she?" Ichigo asked worriedly.

"It's bad." Inoue said.

"Wh—what?" Ichigo asked. "Rukia!" He called. "Rukia… wake up."

No response.

"Damn it! If I only realized what Aizen was trying to say a while ago I can managed to save her but I was too confident of myself..."

Suddenly, Rukia starts to breath heavily. She finds it hard to catch her breath. "Her breathing starts to get heavy. If this continues she'll die." Unohana said.

"What!"

"It can't be."

"Her body is severely damaged by that attack. Lots of important organs on her body are not functioning well. The fact that it repels our healing powers is the proof."

"Is there something we can do about it?" Hinamori asked.

Unohana bowed her head and gently shook her head. "I'm sorry. It's just like what Aizen said. There's no cure on this attack."

Suddenly, Ichigo grabs Rukia's hands and said. "Rukia, you liar!" He didn't notice that tears starts to fall from his eyes. "You told me to come back alive and I did what I promised but look at you. I already beat Aizen so you have to congratulate me, Rukia."

Silence.

"Rukia! Wake up!" Ichigo cried.

"Ichigo." They called out of sympathy.

Soon, Urahara comes to them. "Ara." He said. "So it's really true about the saying that men cry not for themselves but for their comrades."

"Urahara-san." They called.

The former 12th Squad Captain looks at the dead-like body of Rukia. "Do you want to save her?" He asked.

Ichigo glared at him. "Of course! Is there something you can do?"

"Well… I have a suggestion. We can heal and save Kuchiki-san using this." He said as he shows everyone a small piece of white gem.

"Using that?" They asked as they looked at what's Uruhara's holding. "Once again?"

Uruhara nodded.

"Are you kidding?" Renji asked. "That special item caused all of this."

Byakuya looked at her sister. "Uruhara." He called. "If we use that… it can save her, right?"

"Taichou!" Renji called.

"I guess. There's at least 30% chance of success if we used the Hogyoku to heal her. It maybe a little chance but we have to try, right?"

Silence.

"I will use the Hogyoku and seal it right inside Kuchiki-san's body. With that, this small item, that caused Aizen's rebellion, will forever be hidden on her body and no one will ever get their hands on it." Uruhara added. He paused for a while. "But… I don't know what will be the consequences after this."

"What do you mean?" Byakuya asked.

"Before, I used the Hogyoku to save Hirako and the others from the treat of being a hollow resulting for me to create new specie called Vizard. When I hid the Hogyoku in Kuchiki-san's gigai it resulted from her to not regain her powers that will later turn her to be a human. The last thing is what happened to Aizen. It turned him to be more powerful and a monster-like-dumbass."

"So?"

"What I was trying to say is that there's always a price to pay."

"What's the price to pay?" Toushiro asked.

Uruhara shook his head. "I don't know."

"It can't be." Inoue whispered.

"Captain!" Renji asked. "What do you think? We have to decide now. Rukia's running out of time."

"It's fine with me." Byakuya said. "I don't care about what the consequences will be but what's important is to save Rukia."

"I understand." Uruhara answered. "What about you, Kurosaki-kun?"

Ichigo looks at him. "Uruhara-san, do it." He said. "It's just like what Byakuya said. I also don't know what will happen if we used that Hogyoku again but whatever happens, I will protect Rukia no matter what."

Uruhara smiled. "If that's your resolve then be it." He said. He instructed Ichigo and the others to move aside and then he placed the Hogyoku right in front of Rukia's chest. The hogyoku entered Rukia's body and she was surrounded by light. Screams are then heard from Rukia as the Hogyoku gets inside her body. Ichigo then comes closer to her pushing Uruhara away. He holds Rukia's hand and tightened his grip. "Don't give up, Rukia." He said. "I'm here."

Rukia's scream gets louder and louder. Byakuya and Renji can't do anything on that awful scene. It's like a nightmare. Inoue soon cried and Matsumoto hugs her and whispered that everything will be alright.

Seconds later, in which for Ichigo and the others seems like hundred centuries, Rukia calmed down. They all run to her side to check if she's okay. "Is it working?" Renji asked.

Silence.

"Rukia." Ichigo called. He's still holding her hand. Rukia didn't response. She had a peaceful look on her face and it's like she's sleeping- forever. "Ru… Rukia?"

"It's weird." Rukia thought. "It's weird because there are only two things that are running on my mind right now. The first one is my happy days back at Soul Society. The things Renji, Nii-sama, the others as well as Kaien-dono's and I shared together. Lots of sad things happened back then… painful memories." Rukia thought once again.

"Rukia!" Renji called.

"Kuchiki-san."

"Eh? I hear voices in my head. They are calling me but my eyes are so heavy that I can't even take a glimpse of whose calling me besides my body hurts like hell. What the hell did happen I can't even open my tired eyes?" She paused for a while. Oh god! Everything's turning black. And my eyes lids are getting heavier. I want to sleep. I want to rest my tired eyes. So this is what feels like to die…"

Rukia lets go of Ichigo's hand. Seeing this, Ichigo screamed and shouted Rukia's name with all his might.

"RUKIA!" Ichigo shouted.

The rain starts to fall.

"Eh?" I knew that voice." Rukia smiled on her dreams. "I see… It was you."

Suddenly, Rukia's hand starts to move. Everyone noticed it. "She- she moved." Ichigo said as tears streaming down on his cheek. "You saw that too, Renji?"

Renji smiled though he's also crying. "Yeah."

"Inoue." Uruhara called. "Try healing her now."

The said girl nodded. Soon… Rukia's wound starts to close and the bleeding stops. Everyone rejoiced on that.

Couple of minutes later, Rukia slowly opened her eyes and her first glimpse falls on the orange-haired guy sitting beside her. "Ichigo?" She called in low tone.

The teary-eyed guy looks at her. "Ru—Rukia? You're here with us, right?"

Rukia tried to smile. "I'm always with you."

Seeing her smile, Ichigo just hug her that surprises everyone. Inoue's eyes shows a bit of pain. Renji's eyes turned huge plate. "I'm glad. So glad."

Rukia blushed. "Ba—Baka! Get off me." Rukia shouted trying to pull Ichigo away from her. "My wounds are not healed yet."

Startled, Ichigo did what Rukia said as his eyes fall on Byakuya who already have eyes with killing intent. "I don't care if you beat Aizen. I don't care if you save the world." He whispered. "But hugging my sister in front of me… Scatter. Senbon…" He added.

"Matte, Byakuya." Ichigo cried. "You got it wrong."

"Nii-sama." Rukia called.

The handsome Captain in the world looks at his sister. "How do you feel now?" he asked.

"I'm fine."

"Hearing that make me feel at ease."

Rukia smiled. He then looks once again to Ichigo. "Eh? You're eyes are little bit puff. Did you cry?"

Ichigo starts to wonder. "Eh?" He touched the lower part of his eyes and it's slightly wet and puff. "Wait! When did I?" He asked. He looks at Rukia. "I see… It was from back then." He added as he remembered what happened to Rukia just a while ago.

"Huh?"

"Don't worry about it. His eyes were like that because ashes and dirt floating in the air accidentally entered his eyes." Renji answered on behalf of him.

"I see." Rukia said. "By the way, I hope I'm not yet late but congratulations."

Ichigo and the others look at her. "Eh?"

"You defeated Aizen, right? I don't know what happened after I fainted but I know… you all did great. Compared to me who was just lying down here-"

"You're wrong!" Ichigo said. "You did really well too."

Rukia smiled.

Seeing how those two acted so close, Renji feels a little jealousy and he just pushed Ichigo away and her goes flying in the air. "Give Rukia a break!" He shouted.

With a speed of light reflexes, Ichigo got up and hit Renji on the head. "Teme… why did you do that?"

"Can't you see? Rukia's still not fully recovered so why don't you let her rest for a while. Let's just talk with her after everything goes well on the place."

"Ahh- you're really annoying!" Ichigo said irritably.

"What did you say?" Renji asked. "Howl- Zabimaru!"

"So you want to fight, huh?" Ichigo asked.

"God!" Toushiro whispered. "They started again."

"But… it's fine now." Momo answered.

"Listen, everyone!" Matsumoto said. "Whoever squad catches Kurosaki-kun will be given by Yamamoto-sotaichou a reward so give all the best you've got."

"Eh?" Ichigo reacted as he dodges all the attacks of Renji. "What the hell is that?"

"That sounds good!" Ikaku said. "Zaraki-taichou!"

The said guy fired up once again. "All the 11th squad! Capture him!" Zaraki said.

"Ken-chan! Goodluck." Yachiru said.

"I'll join the fight too." Hisagi said.

"Me too." Kira said.

Others then joined that useless and none-sense fights. They all teamed up to beat Ichigo. They are running all over the replica of Karakura Town and it's just like a handicapped match. Ichigo versus those damn shinigamis But it's all for fun.

Meanwhile, Inoue, who's still healing Rukia, looks at her friend. "Anno… Kuchiki-san." She said.

"What is it, Inoue?"

"Are you okay now? Don't you find any strange movements in your body?"

Rukia shook her head. "I'm fine."

Inoue smiled. "I was so scared a while ago but now you're with us. Everything will be alright."

Rukia looks at her. "There's something I want to tell you, Inoue. When got hit by that cero I thought it was the end. My mind is not functioning at that time but there are only two things that are running on my mind at that time. The first one is my happy days back at Soul Society. The things Renji, Nii-sama, the others as well as Kaien-dono's and I shared together. Lots of sad things happened back then… painful memories." She closed her eyes. "The battles I fought… I remembered them as well."

Inoue looks at her. "Is that so?"

She nodded. "There's something else I wanna tell you right before everything went black. Do you want to know the very last thing that entered my mind-"

"Eh?"

Rukia then stole a glance on Ichigo who's trying his best to escape Kenpachi and the others. "Nothing."

Inoue saw that glance and she bowed her head. "Okay."

Rukia then closed her eyes and later fall asleep.

After couple of hours, those Shinigamis and the other Captains who were trying to catch Ichigo finally realizes that what they are doing is nonsense. Yamamoto ordered that the four pillars built to separate Karakura Town and Soul Society must be broken down. Then after some maintenance, Karakura Town returned to its original place. Everyone's busy. The 4th squads are tending to those injured of the war but even then one thing is for sure. Aizen is dead and the world is at peace.

"Ichigo." Renji called the shinigami.

"Renji." Ichigo called. He noticed that Renji is carrying Rukia on his back. She's sleeping peacefully with smile on her face far different from the Rukia lying on the ground and soaked with blood.

"I'm going to take Rukia back to soul society. She will recover fast if she's surrounded by spirit particles."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah. I don't know how long it will take for us to see again since the war already ended but as soon as Rukia recovered we will return. Let's celebrate our victory party once she recovered."

Ichigo smiled. "I'm looking forward to that."

Renji then opened the senkai gate and several hell butterflies goes out of it. "Well… then. Rukia and I will be going now."

"Take care of her." Ichigo said.

Renji looked over his shoulder and said. "One more thing, I will not lose to you."

"Eh?"

"Later!"

Renji then entered the gate and immediately bring Rukia to Byakuya's house. Meanwhile, Ichigo still looking as the Senkai Gate closed. At that time, Uruhara comes to him and asked. "What's dominating your thoughts?"

Ichigo paused for a while. "I'm wondering."

"Huh?"

"I'm supposed to be happy that Aizen is already killed by us but the fact that Hogyoku is sealed on Rukia's body scares me. Uruhara, what does gonna happen to Rukia now?"

"I- I don't know. All we can do is wait."

"It scares me." Ichigo whispered. "What if… Rukia…"

"Don't think about the future. The important is she's alive. Besides, you said that whatever happens to Rukia you'll protect her."

Silence.

"I told you before. Love is stronger than steel. Don't worry. Everything will be alright."

Ichigo smiled. "Yeah. That's what I think so."

To be continued.

Notes:

You guys have just read the prologue... what do you think about that? Ahaha. Thinking about how you will react on this new fic of mine gives me a scary feeling. (Hehe). I know I'm not a good writer but please tell me what do you think of this. If you want me to continue this please tell me. Hehe.

I just want to give you guys a little hint about what's gonna happen to Rukia now that the Hogyoku is sealed on her body. The Hogyoku will corrupt some of her memories. One day, as the story goes by, Rukia will forget something. What is it? (Secret!) Hehe. But I'll tell you. That will surely affect Ichigo and Rukia's relationship. (Oh! I was carried away. I said something too much. Hehe)

Well, I need to go now. I'll be back in Chapter One. Please leave a comment for me. It will be appreciated! You know… it makes the author happy when their readers appreciate their works. Wahaha!

Later!

Shachiecoh Hime