Epilogue

~ Ten years later ~

Ichigo walked down the streets of Karakura town, his feet treading a familiar route as events replayed in his mind. Just six months after Aizen had been defeated Morgan returned to the land of the living, and announced she wouldn't undergo any further changes thanks to the department of research and development. She also announced that the Kurosaki's had their status within the Soul Society day that Morgan had decided to stay in Karakura briefly flashed in his memory, but it was nowhere near as vivid as the memory that was constantly popping into his mind.

"You're serious? You're really pregnant?"a stunned 18-year-old Ichigo inquired.

"Mmmhmm, I'm due June 17th," Morgan replied, a hand gently resting over her stomach.

"That's... the anniversary of my mom's death."

"I know, now you'll have something nice to celebrate that day," Morgan replied beaming.

He held the petite brown-haired woman in his arms, hugging her as tightly as he dared. He slightly wondered how his father would take the news, but then shrugged it off.

"Ichigo, what if the baby is..."

"Not normal? Don't worry about that. We'll deal with whatever comes our way, besides Urahara and Mayuri worked together and managed to halt the changes that Ururu was supposed to go through."

"That's true."

He looked at his eight-year-old son and daughter at his side, his dad had handled the news about expecting one baby just fine, but the news of twins got him into one of his strange antics. Isshin, it turns out, had saved most of Karin and Yuzu's baby things and a couple of Ichigo's outfits. Ichigo had attended University and received his degree in Journalism. In between those two events though, something happened to Morgan.

"Are you sure?" A pale faced Morgan inquired of the doctor before her. Ichigo had never seen his fiancee so terrified.

"I'm sorry but the results are definite. We have to deliver the babies now and start you on radiation immediately."

"Deliver them? I'm only five months pregnant. What are their odds?"

"Survival rate at this point in the pregnancy is 20% at best."

"And if I waited?"

"I don't recommend it."

"If I waited, what would their odds be?"

"At six months gestation the survival rate jumps to 40%, at seven months the survival rate is nearly 80%, but I don't recommend waiting to begin treatment."

"And treatment during pregnancy will harm the babies."

"Yes."

Morgan thought for a moment and looked at Ichigo. His heart was breaking, either way he'd lose someone very important to him. "Ichigo..." she began to say.

"It's up to you Morg, it's your body that this is happening to. Whatever you decide, I'll support your decision."

"I'm refusing treatment until the seventh month," Morgan informed the doctor.

"Miss MacKenzie I urge you to be rational. You can always adopt after treatment, and there is a chance that the babies can survive at this point in the pregnancy but one thing is certain if you hold off on treatment the cancer will spread and you will die."

"I can think of worse things than dying to better my children's odds."

Reaching Morgan's grave Ichigo began unpacking the picnic, a tradition that had begun when his mother died. Morgan had lasted another month and a half before the brain tumour caused a long violent seizure, Yuzu had found her and immediately called for an ambulance. The tumour had caused a massive brain hemorrhage, due to Yuzu's quick thinking in making sure that Morgan was receiving ample oxygen during the convulsion, and placing cushions around her abdomen, the babies had survived without incident. Morgan had died during the emergency c-section, without Isshin and his friends to help him he wouldn't have been able to attend University, but strong family ties and friendships had always pulled through for him. Masaki Morgan Kurosaki and Ian Yasutora Kurosaki were born on April 2nd, six weeks before their due date. They were four when Ichigo graduated University.

Masaki, he had noticed by the age of four, could see spirits like he used to. Ian was able to sense that they were there. Ian and Ichigo were setting up their lunch, but Masaki had ran off somewhere. Masaki's hair was burnt orange in colour, and she had Morgan's green eyes. Ian had Morgan's brown hair and Ichigo's brown eyes.

Whenever they visited Morgan's grave she always took off for a bit on her own, and Ichigo never worried because she had Kon with her. This time however, his daughter's scream sent ice through his veins as he and Ian (very protective of his twin sister) took off towards her cries. When Ichigo found her, his heart leapt into his throat, a hollow. "Masaki what's wrong?"

"Ian, go see if you can find Uncle Chad or any of the others, if you can, stay with them until I come for you. Understand?"

"But Dad I..."

"Don't argue."

"Fine," the boy replied taking off towards Orihime's house. Ichigo was going to transform into his soul reaper form when another Soul reaper, with medium length chocolate brown hair leapt in between the hollow and his daughter, she drew her Zanpakuto, and Ichigo gasped as he recognized the hilt, it was purple and pink stripped. "I hate it when you hollows pick on children," her familiar voice rang in his ears with the same protective tone she used when she had defended Ururu. He looked on as she charged at the hollow and dispatched it with one strike straight down its mask.

Turning back to them, she asked if they were alright, a warm smile danced on her lips and her green eyes sparkled. Ichigo realized then that she was happy. She liked being a soul reaper without worrying about becoming something else. "Yeah, thanks."
Morgan beamed at that, "Good, come on kid, let's get you on your feet," she said offering her hand to Masaki who grasped the woman's hand eagerly and allowed herself to be pulled up into a standing position. "Be good now and stay close to your father," the soul reaper advised as she left as quickly as she had appeared.

"Daddy, was that..." Masaki couldn't finish her question.

"Yes, that was your mother. I guess she got assigned to protect Karakura town."

"She became a soul reaper. I wonder if she remembers us."

Ichigo felt a twinge of pain at his daughter's innocent question, he had told her that he and his father were soul reapers, but he hadn't told her about what happens if you die and then become a soul reaper.

"Masaki, when a person dies their memories die with them. She may not remember you, or know who you are, but I saw that same fiercely determined look on her face once before."

"When?"

"Years ago, when I watched her defend her cousin Ururu from a powerful hollow. She may not know her relation to you, but she knows that there's some kind of connection between the two of you. Even as a soul reaper, she'd die to protect you and your brother."

A tear fell down Masaki's cheek, "if I see her again Daddy, I'm going to show her a picture of her pregnant with Ian and me."

Ichigo smiled at his daughter's statement. "You could honey, you could."

Masaki wrapped her arms around her father, her burnt orange hair falling over her face. Ichigo thought to himself that if he had blamed himself for his mother's death, he couldn't begin to understand what his kids went through. Their mother had died the same day that they were born, the morning was spent mourning her. The afternoon and evening were spent celebrating their birth. "Why did she have to die? Why aren't you ever angry about it?" Masaki's trembling voice broke through his thoughts.

With smile on his usually scowled face, he looked up towards the tree tops and silently thanked Morgan. He now completely understood what his father had told him when he was fifteen years old.

"You're the man that the woman I loved gave her life to protect."

"Masaki, look at me for a minute," Ichigo encouraged. The little girl obeyed, though hesitantly.

"You're the girl that the woman I loved gave her life to protect. If I was angry at you for that, she'd never forgive me. You just saw yourself, we'll see mommy again someday. Until then she serves as our protector, just as she did when she was alive. She had a chance to save herself but it would've put you and Ian at risk of dying. She didn't want that. Never question your worth, okay?"

The girl nodded, a slight smile on her face. "C'mon, let's go find your brother," Ichigo suggested offering his hand to her. As her small hand wrapped around his, he silently thanked Morgan for all she had done.

Fin


AN: An Epilogue or Sequal was requested for this story, this is the result.