A/N: Before I start with the Prologue, I would like to state some things about this Fanfic—not to deter anybody, but just a basic understanding of events. Ichigo defeated Aizen just as he did in the manga; however, he did not lose his Shinigami powers in the process. I will build on their (Ichigo and Rukia's) romance, but it is to be understood that Rukia kept her assignment in the Real World and stays with the Kurosaki family—though she has her own room, since Isshin was revealed to have been a Shinigami.

Secondly, and perhaps the most important, is that there IS an OC in this story, the old flame that was mentioned. There will be fighting in story, as well as drama and romance. The OC IS powerful, yes, and as to how powerful…well, that is yet to come. Please, no bashing, as we all know that Ichigo is still the most "powerful" character, though this story primarily focuses' on Ichigo, Rukia, and the OC.

Lastly, I would like to point out that characters will have some past revealed. It is believed (at least by me) that Isshin lost his powers due to performing the Final Getsuga Tenshou—as he said Engetsu taught it to him. Why he used it, and why he ended up in the Real World….well, you shall see. ;)

Without further ado, I bring you: DA PROLOGUE!

Bleach: Bankai's and Gigai's

Prologue

Ichigo grumbled as he felt a small thump on the back of his head. He lay, face down on his pillow, trying to squeeze the last few moments of sleep out before he knew—as it had already came—Rukia would come to drag him out of bed. Another thump came, and he grunted again, this time opting to reach his right arm out, swatting.

Air…

Air…

Hair. Reaching his goal, his hand resting on that midget's head, he extended his arm, pushing her away from his bed. Silence.

Anybody that knew Kuchiki Rukia, knew that her temper was, well, as short as she was. She stood above Ichigo, beside his bed, thumping him with a pillow as he laid in bed, trying to over sleep. Again. The second hit came with more force, and she watched with a small amount of interest as his hand swatted about casually, trying to—what she could guess—deter her. And then came the hand resting on the crown of her head, shoving her away a few paces. She stood for a moment, her violet eyes closing—a vein popping out near her forehead—as she shook with rage. Finally, she snapped, discarding the pillow and reaching to Ichigo's wrist, securing it tightly before she rotated his arm, wrestling him out of bed.

Ichigo have a yell as pain shot from his arm, and he felt the wood floor of his room slam into his chin, the warmth of his bed left behind. Shooting up to his feet, he threw a stray fist at Rukia, but the small Shinigami dodged easily. "Rukia….what. The. HELL," he shouted.

"Stop being lazy and get ready for school! We're going to be late—on the first day—and you're supposed to be walking your sisters to school!"

Ichigo grumbled as he folded his arms and turned away from her, a glare shot to nowhere in particular. "Karin can take care of herself and Yuzu. I don't see why I have to—" He was cut off from his sentence as a tiny foot came down forcefully on his own.

"GAH!" Another stray punch sent, another dodge as the female Shinigami stomped to the door, yanking it open.

"Get ready Ichigo. Now," she shot back before the door slammed shut and Ichigo was left alone in his room. He looked longingly back to his bed. He could STILL squeeze out ten minutes…

"I-CHI-GOOOOOO," came the thunderous voice that Ichigo had become accustomed to. His bedroom door flew open, though his father was met with a swift bare foot to the face.

"Ohayou, old man. Now tell Rukia I'll be down in a few."


Rukia watched as Ichigo exited the house, a piece of toast in his mouth and his bag slung over his shoulders. It had been two years since they defeated Aizen—well, Ichigo defeated Aizen. But even then…it had been longer than that since they first met. He had grown some, only a little taller, but he had developed into his height. He had put on a little more muscle, his handsome face defined with a youthful age, and hardened by battles that many would never know he fought. His bright orange hair had been cut, though it was back to being as long as it had been after he defeated Aizen. He had expressed wanting to cut it, but never got around to it. Rukia didn't mind, it gave her something to grab on to.

While she beat him. Grab on to while she beat him. Yes, that was it. And he wasn't handsome, he was a dork. And he wasn't more muscular, he was fat.

Ichigo looked to his sisters and Rukia, the latter turning away as he met her gaze, heading down the walk to the street. He gave a smirk to Yuzu and Karin—Karin rolling her eyes—before they followed suit. "Are you two excited," Ichigo asked, making conversation as he bit into his toast.

"Hai! Though it's kind of sad…we'll only be able to go to school with you for this year, Ichi-nii," Yuzu replied and Karin scoffed.

"Yeah, tragic," she mumbled, though Ichigo only smirked again. Karin, ever trying to act tough.

"Hey, midget. You're awfully quiet. Shouldn't you be squawking about being late," Ichigo asked, causing Rukia to shoot him a glare.

"I was merely giving you time to converse with your sisters, you dork. And if me waking you up in the morning is such a bad thing—start setting your alarm clock," Rukia shot back. "Or, could it be, that you miss me sleeping in your closet?"

Ichigo rolled his eyes as he took another bite of his toast, though he didn't bother answering. He did miss her being in his room…sometimes. He missed her scent always being present, mixing with his own. He missed the soft thumping noises she would make from his closet as she turned over. Several times she would leave the closet door cracked, and he would peek in, watching her beautiful features as she slept.

Hold that. What was he thinking? She wasn't beautiful—she was a demon in human form. She didn't smell good, like flowers or anything. She smelled like…like midget! And he only checked on her so that he could sneak down stairs and get a snack without her nagging for some too. Yes, that was it.


The group finally reached the school, Karin and Yuzu saying their goodbyes as they melded with the crowd of Freshman who were on their way into the auditorium. Rukia spared a glance up at Ichigo as he watched them go, and caught the small tug of a smile on his lips. She leaned over and nudged him, a smirk of her own forming.

"Look at you, playing the happy big brother," she said coyly, and Ichigo furrowed his brows, glaring down at her in annoyance.

"Yeah, whadda you know," he grumbled, causing her to give a small giggle. The same giggle she always used, and it drew his face into another smirk as he glanced down at her. "Alright, let's get going before we're late."

The duo made it down the halls towards their classroom, Ichigo sliding the door open and allowing Rukia entrance before they entered their class room.

"I-CHI-GAH," came Keigo's voice, though Ichigo, as always had met the young man with a stiff arm, eyes closed.

"Morning Keigo," Ichigo mumbled, shutting the door behind him—and leaving the dazed friend outside.

"Ohayou, Kurosaki-kun! Kuchiki-san," came the bubbly voice and Ichigo gave a small wave.

"Ohayou, Inoue," he replied, a small smirk as he looked to the gentle giant beside her. He gave a nod. "Chad."

"Morning Ichigo," Chad replied.

"Morning Orihime. How're you," Rukia asked, moving to her seat and placing her messenger down as Orihime held up a lunch to her.

"I'm well! I made this for you, since it's our first day back! I figured you'd want a good lunch," Orihime said, and Rukia smiled, taking it—albeit reluctantly. Carefully, as if the thing was a bomb, she placed it in her desk.

"She'll need it, to grow big and strong," Ichigo shot to them as he sat, and Rukia twitched, though Orihime followed up before she could.

"Oh, Kurosaki-kun, you know she can't grow anymore," she stated matter-of-factly, and Ichigo gave another devilish grin to Rukia, who seemed to be sizzling from her seat.

"I hate you….so much," Rukia grumbled as she clenched her tiny fists. Ichigo merely reached over and patted her lightly on the head.

"Sure, twerp," he replied and she lashed out, missing his arm and nearly falling out of her chair. Orihime giggled, stealing a look at Ichigo as she moved to sit down.

He looks so happy with her…

Taking her seat, Orihime prepared for the days classes. She had been spending most of her time alone, now, since Tatsuki moved away. She missed her dearest friend, and while she did come and visit during the weekends, it was still hard. Tatsuki was still trying to urge her into a relationship with Ichigo, but Orihime…wasn't so sure. After the Winter War—after he had saved her—he seemed to spend all of his time with Rukia. She remembered when he nearly hugged the life out of Rukia when she arrived, saying he thought she died.

He didn't hug me like that… Orihime shook this thought away and furrowed her brow as the teacher entered, focusing her concentration on the teacher.


The classes ended for the day, and the Shinigami duo made their way to the front of the school, Ichigo with his bag on his shoulder and Rukia with her messenger in both her hands.

"So, Ichigo, I noticed Orihime was glancing at you regularly," Rukia said nonchalantly and Ichigo rolled his eyes.

He knew Orihime had feelings for him—he knew she wanted to be more than friends. He had to admit, she had a body every man in school wanted. She was sweet, and kind, and loving, and pretty but….she wasn't for him. He loved her, yes, as a friend though. He would protect her, as quickly as he would protect Chad—who was like a brother to him. No, Orihime wasn't for him.

"Someone's jealous," Ichigo mumbled and Rukia rolled her eyes.

"As if I'd want to look at your ugly mug any more than I had to," she shot back, and Ichigo scoffed.

"Oh? This coming from the midget who sneaks into my room every night to watch me sleep!"

Rukia stiffened, her hair seeming to bristle before she stomped on his foot as hard as she could, whirling around in front of him. "I…I do not," she shouted. A lie. She did do that—more and more frequently. "I only come to see if you're not dead, from that annoying reiatsu you're always leaking out!"

Ichigo growled as the pain shot from his foot to his leg and he bristled as well as Rukia shot at him—wait. Was that…a blush? "Rukia…you're—" she cut him off again, this time with a fist, though the male dodged it, grabbing her wrist and slapping it away. "—blushing," he finished.

Rukia stumbled as he slapped her hand away and glared up at the man, her cheeks hot, but her gaze melted as he gave her the fierce, albeit warm, glare he always did. "Baka," she mumbled.

Ichigo's glare softened to a grin and he placed a hand on her head. "I know," he replied and she sighed.

"Awwwww," came a voice, and the two both straightened, sharing a blush as they turned to look at the owner.

"Ichi-nii has a girlfriend," Yuzu cried, swooning.

"What took so long," Karin asked, folding her arms as she glanced away. "You've only been fawning over one another for two years now."

"Wha—I—this MIDGET is NOT my girlfriend," Ichigo blasted.

Pain came again, as Rukia stomped on his foot, and then whirled, stomping off.

"I wouldn't be caught DEAD with that ungrateful, ugly, rough around the edges.." she continued as she marched off.

Why, though, did it hurt when he denied it so easily?

A/N: And that's it for the Prologue. Sorry it's short, but it's strictly to get the basis for their relationship, it's direction, and to work out some of the kinks for the characters. Hope you enjoyed it, please R&R, and I shall begin Chapter 1-immediately.