A/N: So this was written before Ichigo regained his powers after killing Aizen, and it follows along the plotline that he never did get his powers back and tried to live a normal life. There's a very slight IchiRuki feel to it, but not much. It could be taken as friendship too.

For the Fallen

Kurosaki Ichigo, once Substitute Shinigami of the Gotei Thirteen, sighed and leaned back in the chair beside his desk, trying to figure out how to write the last paragraph of his essay. He was in his third year of Med School now, attending Tokyo University. Right now he was babysitting to earn some extra money, but the kids were asleep so he was going to try and finish his essay.

He wasn't having much luck.

Tonight the moon was full, and it shone with a white, pure glow. Reminding him of them, and worst of all, reminding him of her.

The nostalgic air brought back memories that he worked hard to repress, worked hard to forget. Because as much as he might want to remember his friends, his enemies even, he knew he couldn't.

There were some memories that were better left forgotten, buried deep within. Whenever he remembered how Renji always annoyed the heel out of him, how Byakuya needed to get that stick out of his ass, how Yamamoto was just an asshole in general, how nice Ukitake was, how scary Kenpachi was, how Hitsugaya needed to stop being so serious and act like a kid, how Yumichika needed to get those damn feathers out of his hair, or how Rukia had nearly died for him . . . it inadvertently brought up memories of them being hurt.

He might have been able to help them once, but now he was powerless, forgotten. He might as well have been left behind for fate's wheel to roll over him. He couldn't do the one thing he wanted anymore and fight for his friends. Hell, he couldn't even see them.

It was so damn-

"Kurosaki-san?" a small voice spoke behind him and he turned to see a small girl looking at him, wearing her pyjamas and holding a teddy bear.

He crouched down in front of her, "What is it, Yuki-chan? I thought you were asleep."

"I can't sleep."

"Oh, why is that?" Ichigo grinned at her, "Monster's under your bed?"

She glared at him with all the anger a five year old could muster, "No! There's a ghost beside it!"

For a minute, before he caught it, his smile faltered.

"And I know it's there, because nii-nii sees it too!"

It was possible for spiritual energy to travel in families, they might both be seeing- no. No, he couldn't think like that. In this world he lived in, he could no longer see ghosts. His job was to look after human children tonight. He was no longer a Shinigami.

There was nothing he could do if it was true.

He was powerless.

"Well," Ichigo said cheerfully- admittedly a very fake cheerfully-, "Why don't I come tell you two a story, and maybe by the time I'm done, the ghost will be gone."

"I doubt it." she muttered.

"You never know. So, what does this ghost look like?"

"He's really creepy, he's a fat guy with a chain hanging out of his chest." Ichigo walked up to her room where her brother was, swinging the door open, and not seeing anything there.

Which isn't surprising, he lost the ability to interact with their world long ago.

"He's gone!"

The boy spoke, "A girl with purple eyes and a sword came and sent him on. She said she would normally wipe our memories, but she wanted me to tell Kurosaki-san something."

Ichigo's eyes widened.

"She said, 'Tell him that we still remember him, and we'll keep waiting until he returns'."

The boy grinned proudly at remembering the message and Ichigo said, "Thanks, kiddo. Now you two go to sleep, it'll be an early morning tomorrow. You have school, remember?"

"Ne, Ichigo, wh-" she yawned, "Why did the girl know you?"

"We're old friends. I can't see her anymore, though, so I have to be a normal person for now."

"Oh. Does that make you sad?"

Ichigo paused, "A little, but not that much."

"Why?"

"Because, once you're a part of their world, you can never leave. Once that seemed like a bad thing to me . . . but now, now I know it keeps me close to my friends even though I can't see them anymore."

Kuchiki Rukia's sword had left more than a scar on him, it had changed his fate.

And it was a change he wasn't willing to give up, quite just yet.