Diclaimer: I don't own Bleach or the two songs used.

A/N:

Happy New Year, my IchiRuki loving lovelies! It's been 2012 where I'm at for almost two hours. XD I hope you all have a great year and here is my gift to you all!

First upload of the year! X3

And this takes place in New York. So, honorifics and all that is gone.


Serendipity


"Please, Rukia." The question was asked sweetly with the intent of persuading whomever it was directed towards.

"No." came the reply. Rukia Kuchiki's face was hidden behind a wall of jet black tresses. Her head was lowered towards the table as she watched her pencil create the shapes and lines she desired. Her free hand swept the hair away from her face and behind her ear, revealing the light peach tone of her skin, her violet-blue eyes which were narrowed in concentration and one stray lock that settled between them.

"But, Rukia!" Orihime Inoue whined. "It's New Year's Eve! You're supposed to go out and have fun!" Orihime threw her sweater-clad arms in the air, a cheerful smile on her face; her grey eyes glowed in innocence and she bounced in her seat.

Rukia glared over Orihime's shoulder at a group of men who where lecherously eyeing her busty friend.

"Quit bouncing, Orihime."

"Why?" the red head asked in confusion.

"You're attracting unwanted attention." Rukia stated.

"Huh?"

Rukia sighed and smiled a small smile at her close friend.

"I don't need to go out on New Year's Eve. I'm perfectly fine with staying at home."

Orihime crossed her arms over her chest and huffed.

"How long have you lived in New York City, Rukia?" asked a new voice.

"Hi, Rangiku!" Orihime said cheerily.

"Seven years." Rukia replied to the blue eyed blonde.

Rangiku slid into the seat across from Rukia and eyed her petite friend.

"How many times have you gone to Times Square to watch the ball drop?"

"None."

"Which is why you're coming with us tonight." Rangiku said with confidence.

Rukia frowned. That was definitely not a good enough reason for her to go out. New Year's Eve was crazy, especially in New York City. All people do is run around being excessively loud and get drunk. They kiss strangers and sleep with them. They start fights in bars. New Year's revelers were simply annoying to her. Perhaps, it was her strict upbringing that caused her to hate such boisterousness and spontaneity. Anything can happen on this night, it was unpredictable and Rukia was more content with complete predictability.

"Don't worry. I've seen the movie." She said sarcastically.

"And you liked it!" Orihime reasoned. "So, now you can experience it all."

"I will not go about kissing random strangers."

"You'll only kiss one stranger." Rangiku chimed in.

Rukia smacked her hand to her forehead.

"I don't want to kiss any strangers" she growled.

"They won't be complete strangers though." Rangiku continued; unfazed by Rukia's irritability. She was used it. "If you went out early enough, you can find a guy and get to know him and when the clock strikes twelve… lip lock!" She slammed her hand on the table for emphasis.

No one in the café bothered to pay the trio mind and for that Rukia was grateful. The patrons and workers had learned to ignore them over time.

"It'll just be us girls. Us three, Tatsuki, Momo, and Riruka." Orihime said.

Rukia stirred the cup of coffee that sat next to her sketchbook and sighed.

"It will not. The five of you will find men to fawn over the entire night."

"Are you afraid of men now?" Rangiku asked jokingly.

"Please, Rukia." Orihime begged again. "You've never gone out with us on New Year's."

"You guys will be fine without me." She said with a sense of finality in her voice.

Her friends fell silent, obvious disappointment on their features.

"Fine." Rangiku pouted and Orihime just smiled.

oOo

Rukia enjoyed routine and her New Year's night was no exception to it. She did not do things on a whim, not just on that night, but always. She always spent the evening at home watching her favorite movies and eating her favorite ice cream. From the outside, it may seem depressing and pathetic, but she was quite fine with it. She was always sure to turn off the TV when they began showcasing those annoying kissing couples.

It was nearing 6 o'clock and the sun had disappeared behind the skyscrapers that surrounded her. Its light lit up the streets, but only faintly. The darkness was encroaching and the street lamps had begun to flicker on.

In a little over six hours, the entire city would be yelling the same phrase in unison. They will yell and cheer and smile and hug one another. Over half a million people will pack themselves into Times Square to watch the ball drop and she will not be among them.

Rukia knew how badly her friends wished for her to go with them, but it just wasn't her thing. She hated being in huge crowds of people. She knew that sometime in the night each of her friends would end up on the arm of some guy and she wouldn't. Honestly, the prospect of being alone in a sea of people freaked her out a bit. They'd all be packed so close together.

Maybe she had monoagoraphobia?

She tightened the ponytail her shoulder length hair was in and wondered to herself if it was time to trim it.

A bell chimed as she entered the small convenience store and went straight to the back where the frozen food was kept. The ice cream section, surprisingly, was almost empty. How many people ate themselves into an ice cream induced coma on New Year's?

"Strawberry." She whispered to herself. Anything with strawberry in it in some way would be fine. She sighed as her violet eyes found nothing.

"People trying to ruin my night." She grumbled aloud. She imagined she'd look a bit loony to other people, but she didn't care. Besides, by the look of things the store was deserted.

"The ice cream's out to get you, is it?"

Rukia started from her musings and turned to the voice that came from beside her. There stood a man, roughly her age she assumed, holding a medium sized cardboard box. He was much taller then her, his hair, which was a bright orange, fell past his ears and into his eyes. He held a scowl on his features, but his amber eyes looked friendly and amused.

"Can you move?" he asked.

She stared at him, puzzled. Why should she move? He asked rather rudely…

"Please." He added.

"For what?"

"Because this box is cold as hell! I'm sure whatever you're looking for is in here anyway."

Rukia stepped aside and he set the box down before her.

"Hell can't be cold, you know. At least say Arctic or Alaska or something to that affect. Because then people are going to start bringing sweaters when they die." She chuckled at her own ramblings and at the confusion that had appeared on his face.

He blinked.

"First, I find you talking to the pints of ice cream as if they were people and now you're speaking of people dying. Can you get any weirder?"

She couldn't help the wave of embarrassment that washed over her. She fought to keep her composure. Admittedly, Rukia Kuchiki had a tendency to be a little socially awkward. When faced with a new person, she tried to remain passive and if she didn't watch what she said, things just spilled out like word vomit.

"Well its true." She said. She managed to keep a straight face while doing so and resisted the urge to bolt out the door and back home. She was sure she had just made a fool of herself.

"So what is it that you are looking for?" he asked her and while doing so he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pocket knife. He flicked the blade out and bent down to drag it across the tape that held the flaps of the box closed.

"Um, anything with strawberry in it." She answered.

"Can you open the door for me?"

Rukia grasped the plastic handle and slid it open. The cool air wafted over them and a shiver ran down her spine.

He opened the box and began placing the cartons of ice cream into their places. She watched him silently. The scowl on his face seemed to be constant, but he was handsome and his skin was tanned and smooth looking. His arms, he wasn't wearing anything with long sleeves, were of lean muscle. She figured lifting boxes all day was benefiting him.

"Here."

She stopped her ogling, yes she was indeed ogling, and brought her mind back in focus.

He held a pink pint of ice cream out to her. She took it from his large hand and into her smaller one.

"Thanks."

"No problem." He said as he stood, he brushed himself off and picked up the now empty box before leaving her. Rukia watched him go before heading to the counter to pay.

That had to have been one of the more interesting encounters of her year.

There wasn't anyone at the counter and she sighed. She wanted to get home before people began going crazy.

"Hello." She called.

She heard footsteps behind her.

"Sorry about that. My idiot of a godson is supposed to manning the register, but he's vanished."

She turned to see a man. Blond hair sticking out from beneath his green and white stripped hat, his eyes hidden in shadow. Oddly, he held a fan in front of his face, most likely hiding a smile.

"I fear he may have been crushed to death by boxes in the storage room." He continued. "I'm Kisuke Urahara, by the way, owner of this little shop."

Rukia paled. Did he mean the guy with orange hair? He was joking.

Right?

"I'm pretty sure you've scared her."

She recognized the voice. So, he wasn't dead. She sighed in relief.

"Ichigo! My lovely godson! I thought you died." said Urahara.

"Shut up and ring her up." Ichigo said. Urahara hid a laugh behind his fan and walked behind the counter and opened the register. Rukia handed him her purchase and she waited. Ichigo came to stand next her, his arms crossed as he leaned them on the counter.

"So your name is strawberry?" she asked him as she placed the money on the counter.

"My name is Ichigo." He told her.

"It's Japanese for strawberry, isn't it?" she questioned.

"It can also mean 'One who protects." He shot at her.

Rukia laughed and Ichigo glared at her.

"Aren't you two getting along well?" said Urahara interrupting what he thought looked like a bout of bickering about to begin. "Ah, young love. So sweet."

"Please." Ichigo scoffed. "I just met her. I don't even know her name."

Urahara laughed yet again and slapped his fan closed, revealing a grin and a stubbly chin.

"May I ask your name miss?"

"Rukia Kuchiki." She answered.

"A Kuchiki? You look much like your brother. Wait, till your father hears of this, Ichigo! His eldest child courting the little sister of Byakuya Kuchiki!"

"You know my brother?"

"I am not courting her!"

"Yes, I do. We are old friends and Ichigo are you insinuating that Miss Rukia is unworthy of your affection?"

Rukia felt the heat rise in her cheeks but she turned to Ichigo anyway and smirked at him evilly.

"Yea, Ichigo. Am I not pretty enough for you?"

"I didn't say that."

"So I am pretty?"

"Didn't say that either." He mumbled.

And for the first time out of many to come, Rukia Kuchiki aimed a kick at Ichigo Kurosaki.

"What the hell?" he yelled as he gripped his shin.

"Insensitive jerk."

"I do believe Miss Kuchiki was fishing for a complement on her looks." Urahara stated and he watched as his godson limped away to close the door to the storage room.

Rukia wondered at that. Was she really?

"Her eyes are nice." He called back to them with annoyance lacing his tone. "There, happy?"

She watched as he turned around and walked back in their direction.

"Thank you." She whispered once he was near enough.

Ichigo dragged a hand through his bright hair. Once his father heard from Urahara of what he just said… He was glad he didn't live at home anymore. His old man would never let him live it down.

"Whatever." He said as he tried to down play what he said.

"So, what are you doing for New Year's, Miss Kuchiki?" The blonde man asked her as he walked over to the front door and flipped the sign signaling the store's closure.

"I'm staying home."

Many people took her preference of staying home as strange. A woman her age should be out with friends. She should be partying and drinking and kissing random men amongst a rainfall of confetti.

"You're just like Ichigo here. He's not going out either."

Rukia looked to the man next to her when he spoke.

"I said I mightstay in. The Death Gods have a secret show that begins at seven. I might go to see Chad."

After the show, however, he'd head home, watch the countdown from his TV and go to bed.

Rukia's interest was piqued and she looked at Ichigo with a surprised and excited twinkle in her amethyst eyes.

"I'm going to guess you know who they are?" he asked her. He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

"They're one of my favorite local bands!" She grinned up at him. "I didn't know they were playing a show tonight though."

Rukia was confused by this. She kept tabs on the band and knew when and where they'd be playing. Death Gods had been on a hiatus since February and all of a sudden they resurface!

"It's a word of mouth thing. My closest friend is the guitarist. Tonight, they're only allowing fifty people into the venue."

"Wow." She whispered. She didn't like going out on New Year's, but this…

"Do you thin-" she started.

"Want to go with me?" he interrupted. Rukia was one for manners and she usually would have called him out on interrupting her, but she grinned widely and, completely uncharacteristically, squealed.

"Are you serious?" She didn't believe him. Was he really going to let a complete stranger go with him?

"Sure." He smirked down at her. He leaned over the counter; she had to direct her gaze from landing on his ass as he pulled out his hoodie.

She turned from him and she cursed her damned traitorous eyes.

"You're shaping up to be someone special, Miss Kuchiki."

"How do you mean?" she asked.

"Ichigo is a little solitary. His inviting you to accompany him is something I've only seen him do with his closest friends. This is to say, he is rarely so open and friendly with strangers. He likes you.

Rukia blinked at Urahara's words. Solitary? He sounded a little anti-social. Ichigo was indeed a curious person.

"Leave the ice cream. You can get it later." Said man said. "We need to hurry.

Ichigo zipped his jacket and took Rukia's hand in his.

What was he doing?

He started walking and pulled her forward.

"Do not tell my old man where we went!" he called over his shoulder.

Rukia looked over to see Urahara wave goodbye. She could tell by the look in his eyes that Ichigo's father would know their whereabouts within the next few minutes.

Ichigo was much taller than she and his strides were long. Even though he held her hand as he pulled her along, she could barely keep up.

She was still wondering about the hand thing.

She looked down at their embracing palms, their fingers were not threaded together and her grip was slack compared to his, but her small one fitted so well into his.

"Why are you holding my hand?" She had to raise her voice to be heard amongst the sounds of the city.

"So I won't lose you." Rukia felt his fingers slide between hers. She was shocked, but she tightened her grip.

"Can't we take a taxi?"

"Taxi? On New Year's Eve?"

Ichigo smirked down at her. The streetlamps shining in his eyes. He laughed.

"How long have you lived here, Rukia?"

oOo

Rukia wondered how it was possible to fit fifty people in such a small room. It was packed with body upon body, each pushing into her.

And she'd lost Ichigo.

She hated how it made her feel; to be alone like she was, surrounded by strangers. It was bordering on terrifying.

She wasn't sure where Ichigo had wandered off to. When they arrived, his hand still holding hers, he snaked their way through the crowd towards the stage. He wanted to say a quick hello to his friend before the set began. A few people knocked into her and before she knew it, the warmth vanished from her hand.

She resisted the urge to call his name. It was pathetic enough to be afraid. She took in a deep breath. She'd be fine; she'd watch the set and wait for people to begin filing out before she took her leave. She'll be fine alone.

The band members took their places on stage and the rumble of voices evolved into a roar of screaming.

A hand appeared on the small of her back. Her eyes widened and she was sure it was a drunken man trying to pull moves on her. She spun around, arm raised to strike and she felt a hand brace her forearm.

"Rukia! It's me. Calm down."

She focused and saw his tell-tale orange hair in the dim light.

"Ichigo!"

"Who else?" he asked, a little miffed.

Was there really a reason to hit him? He was right. Rukia Kuchiki was crazy.

And yet, he still brought her along. It wasn't his fault. Her eyes were just so… And she was so excited when he said the band was playing. He played the tough guy, but he now knew he was a sucker for one Rukia Kuchiki.

She moved to stand beside him.

"Hey babe! You've got some pretty eyes!" a voice called from their left. "Why don't you come over here and I'll teach you a thing or two?"

Rukia glanced in the direction of the voice and saw a group of men motion a few obscene gestures at her. She grit her teeth and felt the anger flash through her.

The nerve of them!

She turned to face them, ready to yell and verbally tear them apart. But Ichigo beat her to it.

"What the fuck are you saying to my girlfriend?" he growled. His voice was filled with real anger; he stalked towards them and left her in the crowd.

She couldn't see past the people to where he had gone, but she swore she heard the sound of something cracking.

Ichigo resurfaced from the crowd, rubbing the knuckles of his right hand.

"Shit. That guy's jaw was like concrete."

Rukia walked up to him and grabbed his hand and examined it. It was red, but it would be fine.

"You'll be okay, Mr. Tough Guy." She teased and Ichigo glared at her.

"Not even a thank you, midget?"

"You're lucky were in public, else I'd slap you." She said. "But thank you. Didn't think not receiving a thank you would hurt the big hero's ego."

"I hate when guys act that way. They get shit faced and then proceed to degrade women."

"Aren't you the gentleman? Every girl's dream." She pretended to swoon.

"Quit it. They're starting."He pointed to the stage. The sound check was over.

"Are they doing covers?" Rukia asked as the lights dimmed further.

"Mostly. Chad said they have a few originals in the set, but it's mostly covers."

The starting guitar riff filled the room and Rukia's face lit up.

"Yes! I love this one." She said.

Until the day I die
I'll spill my heart for you, for you
Until the day I die
I'll spill my heart for you

Ichigo watched as Rukia sung along to the beginning verse. The song crashed into a louder volume and the guitar and drums kicked up and Ichigo found himself joining in.

As years go by
I race the clock with you
But if you died right now
You know that I'd die too
I'd die too

You remind me of the times
When I knew who I was (I was)
But still the second hand will catch us
Like it always does

"I'm surprised. You can actually sing." She said as the song continued on.

"I'm just as surprised at you."

She punched his arm.

"Strawberry."

"Shorty."

oOo

"I didn't realize it would run that long." Ichigo said as he walked in front of Rukia.

It was nearing 9:00 and Rukia wondered how long it would take to walk home. The set started a little later than Ichigo thought and he stayed to talk with his friend, Chad, and the rest of the band. She had been ecstatic to meet them. They ended up sitting and talking for awhile.

"It's fine. I got to meet the members of one of my favorite bands. I'm not a kid, Ichigo. It's not like I have a curfew."

"Renji gave you his number, didn't he?"

"Jealous?" Rukia teased.

Renji Abarai was the tall, tattooed, crimson haired drummer of Death Gods. In the short amount of time they were there, it was obvious; to Ichigo at least, that the pineapple haired man took a liking to Rukia.

Not that he cared.

"He's a nice guy." Ichigo said as he stretched his arms over his head and let out a yawn. He rubbed the back of his neck and down his shoulder. "I've known him for a few years."

"He isn't my type." She mused.

"You have one?"

She shot him a flirtatious look.

"I'm more for the lead singer." Rukia laughed as Ichigo stumbled on his feet and she walked past him. "I like guys who can sing. Most girls do I guess."

Ichigo had to remind himself that, yes, he can sing but, no, she was not talking about him.

"You have any resolutions?" he asked her.

"No. If I have one it never sticks. You?"

He was walking beside her now.

"Nope. But if you ask my father it's 'Give him grandchildren.'"

Rukia couldn't help the laugh that escaped her throat.

"Are you serious?"

He only nodded and she shook her head at the hilarity of it all.

They walked in silence and turned onto a street that was crowded. With where they were walking before, Rukia could have forgotten what night it was. The club where the show had been held had been a side street, tucked away from the eyes of the city. Now, they were surrounded by people. In the distance, she could see florescent '2011' hanging in the sky. Times Square wasn't far off.

She remembered her friends were there and she could only imagine the hell they'd give her if they found her now.

Ichigo walked forward, unknowingly leaving Rukia behind. He watched the people around him and he noticed they were all heading in the same direction.

"Hey, Rukia, you want me to walk you all the way home or.." He turned and noticed that she had stopped a few yards back. He jogged over to her, hoping she hadn't noticed.

"I always think of getting my hair cut." She began. "Every year, but I'm too afraid to do it."

He watched her gaze into the salon. A few women were having their hair cut and the white light spilled out onto the sidewalk. Her eyes seemed sad.

Rukia felt her hand become enveloped in his and then she was being pulled into the salon.

"You have time for a haircut?" Ichigo asked a bespectacled woman. He lifted Rukia's arm up as if she were child. "She wants a little change for the new year."

"Ichigo." She hissed but he didn't listen.

"We'll be open for about twenty more minutes. We can fit her in."

She motioned for Rukia to sit in the one empty chair and walked away to finish with her other customer.

"Go ahead and choose what style you want." The woman called to Rukia while gesturing at the book that sat on the counter before her.

"Ichigo, this is stupid. I've never done it because I'm afraid of change."

"It's just your hair, Rukia."

"But it's been this long my entire life!" she argued. She pulled the hair band off and let her locks fall to her shoulders.

"It looks nicer when it's down." He mumbled. "Listen, Rukia. You can change your appearance as much as you want, but it will never change who you are inside. This is something you've always wanted to do. So do it."

Ichigo's orange-brown eyes met her purple ones and she sighed and nodded.

"You do it. Pick a style for me then." Rukia said.

"What?"

She wanted him to pick?

Rukia picked up the thin book and tossed it at Ichigo who caught it deftly.

"Pick something." She demanded. "Just don't make me shave my head."

Ichigo grinned.

"So, a mohawk it is then!" Rukia shot him a glare and he opened the book and began to thumb through it.

"Don't you dare, asshole." She growled.

An idea hit her suddenly and she motioned for his attention. He looked up from whatever picture he had been studying.

"You know what this means, right?"

He arched an eyebrow, non-verbally asking a question.

"I get to make you do something tonight. Something you haven't had the guts to do and I think I may know what."

Ichigo decided to play along with her. He hadn't said anything, so he was sure whatever she thought up would be harmless.

"And what is that?"

Rukia smiled a mischievous smile.

"You, Ichigo Kurosaki, will stand on a street corner with a guitar and you, my friend, will sing."

Ichigo paled. Sing in public? Sure, he enjoyed music and he thought himself fine at it, but he wasn't that good.

"Chad told me you can play and I heard you sing first hand. He told me how good you are, but that you never try to pursue it. You told me not to be afraid and I'm telling you the same. It's New York City, Ichigo. Half the populous is drunk off their asses right now. It would be better if they remember you, but some won't. I'll stand right at your side and you can even sing to me if it makes you feel better."

Ichigo stared at her absorbing her little speech. The idea of a familiar face being the one he sang to made it better, not that he'd say it.

She reached from her seat and grabbed a fistful of his vibrant hair and tugged.

"I won't cut my hair if you don't."

Rukia let go of his hair and turned to look at herself in the mirror. In a matter of minutes, the Rukia looking back at her will be gone, but Ichigo was right.

"Ready?" said the hairdresser.

Rukia glanced at Ichigo and smiled.

"Are we?"

Ichigo handed the book to the woman and she nodded.

"Do you want me to fix that stray bang?" she asked Rukia.

"I wouldn't." piped up Ichigo. "It's like her signature. She wouldn't be Rukia without it."

"He's right." Her lips twitched into a half smile.

Rukia had to fight the extinct to shy away as the pair scissors came near her hair.

"Close your eyes, Rukia." Said Ichigo.

She did so and asked,

"Why am I doing this?"

"It'll be more of a surprise."

Having her eyes closed comforted her. She didn't have to see the process take place, just the results at the end. She could feel the comb running through her hair and hear the snipping sounds as her locks were severed. Minutes passed and she felt the new sensation of air ghosting across the nape of her neck.

"There. It's very nice. You have the face for this type of style. It makes you seem more mature and refined, yet still youthful." Said the woman.

Rukia could hear the truth in her words and she took a deep breath and opened her eyes.

It was short, so short. Her eyes widened in shock. It barely tickled her chin and the flips that usually occupied the back were gone. She lifted a hand to her neck and felt how short it was. Her head felt light, like a weight was lifted from it. She couldn't stop running her hands through it.

"I love it." She let out breathlessly. She did look older and it framed her face so well.

She turned to Ichigo.

"How does it feel?" he asked.

"Nice. I'm like a newer, sexier me."

"Sexy?"

"Don't you think so?" she grinned.

Ichigo's face began to heat up.

"Okay, let's pay and get going. We have two hours until 2012."

oOo

"I don't know about this, Rukia."

"Ichigo quit it. I hate when you sound nervous. It doesn't fit you."

He stood on the street corner, a guitar in his arms. He picked at the strings lazily.

"Look at me." She commanded.

Rukia was running her hands through her newly cut hair. She looked so… beautiful.

There. He thought it. Damn, male hormones.

It was 10:45 p.m. on New Year's Eve. One hour and fifteen minutes to go in 2011 and he was about to do the one thing that he said he'd never do.

He took a deep breath and strummed a melody across the guitar. The man who owned it watched from the window of his store.

He locked eyes with the woman before him.

Why are you so far from me?

In my arms is where you ought to be

How long will you make me wait?

I don't know how much more I can take

I missed you

But I haven't met you

Oh but I want to

How I do

Rukia listened to the sound of his voice, accompanied with the rhythm of the guitar. He truly was great at it. A sense of calm washed over her.

She always liked a guy who could sing.

A small crowd began to form and she wondered if he noticed. Ichigo strummed away though, unaware of his admirers. He continued to sing as the crowd got bigger and the song soon came to its ending verse.

Oh how I miss you but I haven't met you

Oh but I want to

Oh how I want to

Dear whoever you might be

I'm still waiting patiently

His fingers picked the last few notes and he smiled down at Rukia.

Ichigo couldn't believe he'd sung in public.

And then he heard the clapping.

He hadn't noticed the group, which consisted of at least twenty people.

"You were great, Ichigo." Rukia whispered from his side.

For once, he believed he was.

oOo

They ran to Times Square.

By the time they arrived, her feet ached and she was tired.

She wanted to finish what she started. She wanted to be a little wild and celebrate the New Year in the thick of it all.

They said their goodbyes.

They thanked one another.

They had changed one another and it was time for them to part.

She called it 'serendipity'. They had one night together and maybe, if it was in the cards they'd meet again.

New York was a big city and the possibility was small.

The crowd was as loud as it could get. She stood fairly close to the stage were the performances were. She held tightly to the gate that contained the crowd.

The cold bit at her and through the screams and yells she heard a mechanical noise from above her.

The symbol of the changing year, of a turning page, began to fall.

And she counted down in unison with the rest of the city.

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

"Happy New Year!" Rukia yelled at the top her lungs. Her voice was surely drowned out by the rest, but she smiled knowing it had joined the chorus. She heard horns and whistles and music. People hugged and smiled.

And they kissed each other. She still found it a little annoying.

A piece of orange confetti came into her view and it landed on her nose. She picked it up and twirled it in her fingers.

Then, she saw a head of orange.

Her New Year's resolutions?

Be spontaneous.

Actually live.

Maybe… fall in love.

Spontaneity first.

"Ichigo!" she yelled, but he didn't turn. She pushed through the sea of bodies and cried his name again.

He paused and looked over his shoulder and his eyes shown with recognition.

Once she reached him, she wrapped her arms around his neck and smashed her lips to his. They were cold yet comforting, rough but soft. He stood, completely frozen for a few seconds and she felt his lips push against hers.

Rukia smiled and sighed into the kiss. It was pure bliss. Despite the cold, a warmth flooded through her. She felt his tongue trace her bottom lip, but she pulled away.

"A little much for public affection, Ichigo." She halfheartedly chastised.

Ichigo's mind was whirling. She came out of nowhere, but it was so perfect. The way she fit against him was indescribable. Her lips were so soft and cool.

Dammit, was he a fucking hopeless romantic.

"What about this serendipity thing?" he asked. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.

"Serendipity is luck, an accident. One that leads to great things. It is the incidents that cause people to meet, time and time again. What I meant was, if it was meant to happen than serendipity would play its hand. Maybe I could have visited the store pick up that ice cream I left and I'd leave just minutes before you arrived, but then something distracts me and I see you again. It's tricky."

"You're saying this is it?"

"If that piece of confetti hadn't fallen in my face, then I wouldn't have stopped and I wouldn't have seen you and you would've melted into the crowd."

"You've thought this through." Ichigo laughed and Rukia punched his chest.

"Happy New Year, Ichigo."

Rukia buried her face in his chest and Ichigo held her tightly, kissing her hair.

"Happy New Year, Rukia."


A/N:

Sappy OOC-ness for the damn WIN!

Well here is my first upload of 2012. I've never written a story about New Year's.

It's so LONG. The longest one shot or chapter I have EVER uploaded. I'm proud of it and I hope you enjoyed it. It's kind of fast and jumpy.

Oh and that phobia mentioned is the fear of being alone in the crowd. Ichigo and Rukia both have a fear of change in different ways. They don't believe in themselves enough until they meet each other.

This, to me, came out like a mix of the films 'New Year's Eve' and 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'. I happen to love both.

I got the title from the film 'Serendipity'.

Originally, I was going to have them part ways and leave it to chance, but I decided not to.

It's been 2012 for an hour and a half! In California anyway.

The names of the songs are:

Until The Day I Die by Story of The Year

To Whom It May Concern by The Civil Wars

When I was choosing the songs, I literally clicked on a station on Pandora and used whatever was there. Until The Day I Die is very IchiRuki and To Whom It May Concern fit so well with that scene.

Music just rules when it does stuff like that. (It always does though.)

Took me about 15 hours to write this.

REVIEW! Please and thank you! :D

S.B