Disclaimer: Don't own it.

Chapter 5

(Ichigo POV)

I was back in the World of the Living, thankfully. Ever since Byakuya came to talk to me I had been feeling worse and worse about myself but I was able to cover it up and convince Unohana to let me go back home. I had only been there for three days when an urgent hell butterfly began to pester me. It told me to meet Rukia on Sokyoku Hill the following night because she had something "really, really important" to tell me.

The following night I found myself on the top of the hill in Seireitei sitting alone looking out over the city. After a couple of minutes I began to zone out but was shocked back to reality when a body sat down next to me with a grace I could only dream of possessing.

"Kurosaki Ichigo," The voice drawled from beside me. Why? I think, Why does he have to come here? What is he doing here?

"Byakuya," I say, nodding my head in his direction but refusing to look at the man. I knew that as soon as I looked into those cold slate-grey eyes that I would become lost again and be forced back to page one in my 'recovery.' Not like I really feel any different. "What are you doing here?" I look down over the cliff edge I was sitting on. It was a pretty far drop, deadly at best. Maybe I should test that theory. I lean slightly towards the empty expanse of sky before Byakuya clears his throat and begins to speak.

"Ichigo," My eyes widen at the use of my first name but I still refuse to look at him. He wraps an arm around my shoulder and pulls me to face him and away from the looming edge. "Look at me," He whispers. Byakuya slowly begins to lean in towards my face as I sit frozen by his unwavering gaze. He is slow, giving me time to pull back should I wish—I didn't. His lips slowly meet mine and I stay frozen for a few seconds more before hesitantly responding to the kiss. Our lips meld together and I try to hold back the small moan in the back of my throat. Eventually, he pulls away and leans his forehead against my own. "Why did you do this to yourself, Ichigo?" His voice is weak and pained as he holds my shoulders tightly, preventing me from moving away.

"What are you talking about?" I ask, trying to move away from him slightly to get a better look at his face.

He grabs onto my shoulders and pulls me closer, laying my head on his chest. I don't fight it, knowing that Byakuya, for whatever reason, needed this human contact from me. He lays a gentle hand on my head and pets me soothingly. "Why didn't you say anything? You came near death because of this foolishness."

I found myself burying my head in his neck, taking in the faint peppermint and jasmine smell of his skin. "I couldn't tell you—I thought you hated me. I thought you would skin me alive if you had found out."

He squeezed me tighter, careful not to cut off my circulation. "Rest assured that I don't hate you, Ichigo. But I don't see how not wanting me to know would prevent you from telling somebody. Had you told somebody—anybody—you probably wouldn't be in such rough condition right now." Byakuya rests his head against my own and shifts to kiss the corner of my forehead. "I was so worried about you and I'm sorry that I was so cruel to you the last time we met. It was uncalled for and a complete accident. I didn't mean to sound so cruel. Forgive me, Ichigo."

I nodded and wrapped my arms more tightly around his waist, suddenly feeling the need for his touch. "I'm sorry for upsetting you Byakuya. I was just so scared to find out what other people would think of me if I had told them—especially Rukia and Renji. They are both so close to you, what would they say if they found out?"

I felt the vibrations from Byakuya's chest as he chuckled, "Knowing my sister, as soon as she finds out she will hunt you down and slap you for being such an idiot before forcing every detail of our private life out of you. And Abarai won't care as long as he doesn't have to see it, though I wouldn't put it past him to slap you upside the head for being so stupid."

"Hey," I say, indigently, pulling back slightly to look at his semi-smirking face. "How come I'm the only one getting hit?"

"Well, neither of them would dare raise their voices or fists against me. Though I have a feeling Rukia will have a long talk with me when she finds out that I cowardly ran away from every opportunity I had to present my feelings towards you."

I chuckled for a moment before growing serious, "So what happens now?"

Byakuya took my hand and entwined it in his own, "Only time will tell. For now, we'll take it one day at a time." He smirked deviously, "I have every intention of ravishing you completely before the summer is over."

I blushed heavily and looked away from his smoky gaze. If I was being completely honest with myself, the thought of him taking me made me blush—but not from embarrassment, though he didn't need to know that. Byakuya laughed and stood up before offering his hand to me, leading me down the zig-zaging staircase towards Seireitei. After we reached the bottom, I had assumed he would let go of my hand but instead he held on tighter, ensuring me that this really was happening and that he wasn't going to back out on me.

As expected, as soon as Rukia discovered us I found myself lying in a bloody heap in the middle of the sixth's training grounds. Before she could cause me further damage however, Byakuya came up and prevented her from continuing, to which I was extremely thankful for. Byakuya was also correct about his assumption of Renji. The man didn't care, though as soon as we were alone he told me that if he ever had to be witness to anything even remotely romantic between the two of us he wouldn't hesitate to flay me alive.

The others, thankfully, still treated the two of us the same, though I did notice that the Shinigami Women's Association were slightly more intense when asking me questions and such. All in all, life hadn't changed all that much for me, except for now I had an amazing boyfriend that just so happened to be the captain of the sixth division—which defiantly had its perks. Like the week after that day on top of Sokyoku hill, some of the unranked shinigami from the eleventh squad thought that they could try to pick a fight (which they obviously wouldn't have won) but before anything could happen, Byakuya was there making them all shake in fear just by his stance alone. I tried not to laugh at their faces but when the largest one's eyes bugged out to an abnormal size and he looked close to wetting himself I couldn't help it. When we returned to Byakuya's manor, he too let out mirthful snickers.

Currently, Byakuya was lying behind me rubbing soothing circles into my shoulders. Earlier today, Kenpachi found out I was in Seireitei and demanded a fight. Unohana-taichou had just released me into Byakuya's care with the order to keep me in bed for the rest of today and tomorrow. I felt a pair of lips caress my shoulder and I couldn't stop the contented sigh that left my lips as he moved towards my neck. "Byakuya," I whisper.

Byakuya lets out a small chuckle that I have come to recognize as a common occurrence. "Roll over, Ichigo." I nod in compliance and slowly turn on to my back. Byakuya straddles my hips and places a hand on either side of my head. "How much do you love me?"

I raise an eyebrow and say, "What did you do?"

He kisses up the side of my neck and whispers in my ear, "You didn't answer the question. How much do you love me?"

I hold back the shiver threatening to take over my body. "How much I love you depends how angry I'm going to be with you after you tell me what you did."

Byakuya smirks before burying his head in the crook of my neck. "I was having tea with Ukitake-taichou and Kyoraku-taichou and accidently let slip the state of our sex life."

I cocked my head, "We haven't done anything yet so why would I be mad at you for telling them that?"

"That's the problem—Kyoraku-sensei decided that we needed help in that department and Ukitake-sensei just laughed at me while that drunken idiot told me about different poses and toys he and Ukitake-taichou use."

I felt myself blush slightly, "I still don't see how that pertains to me being mad at you."

"Well, you see, Kyoraku-taichou didn't just give me advice." I pushed Byakuya's shoulders forcing him to show his very red face to me. I raised my eyebrow at him forcing him to continue, "It was something he told me he uses whenever Ukitake-taichou was sick or injured and told me to use it on you too. To," he coughed, "heal you. After hearing about it I couldn't help but buy one myself."

I gave him an incredulous look, "And you want to try it?"

He gave me a deviously, guilty smirk, "I was really hoping to."

I pointed to my lips, "How come I have a feeling you are going to owe me big time for this?"

He grinned cheekily, "Because I will," he said as his lips descended upon my own.

AN: Yay! The end! I know a bunch of you are going to want to hit me because of how short this story is but I really didn't know how to drag it out more without making it too boring—especially for me.

I will be posting a Ichigo/Shinji as per EmoBunny4Eva's request and I will make sure to post the extra chapters for The Heart of an Ice Dragon in the next couple of weeks.

ALSO! I would really appreciate your help, I have entered a self-portrait in a congressional art competition and the voting is over facebook (which really ticks me off because I don't have a lot of friends on facebook or have friends who have a facebook, making it more of a popularity contest more than anything). If you guys could please support me by "liking" the picture it would be very much appreciated. I'll post the link on my profile. I would really appreciate any and all votes. The voting closes on Friday May 18, 2012 so please vote for me!

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed. You guys are awesome, I'm so thankful to have people as wonderful as you reading my stories.

Please review and if you can, vote for my picture! :) I love you all! Thank you so much!