A/N: Here you go Cisusi, I hope you enjoy this! I tried to keep it as close to the original plot as possible! And to everyone else, enjoy and REVIEW! ~ / ~ / ~ / ~
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I sighed, rubbing my slightly sore shoulder as the nights events came crashing back. I had been trying to finish my homework but an annoying midget kept bugging me with pointless questions. Right when I was at my breaking point and about to kick her off my bed and out of my room, my Substitute Soul Reaper badge went off along with Rukia's Soul phone. She hurriedly got out of her Gigai as I slapped the badge to my chest and we raced out my bedroom window.
I managed to shout out, "Kon, I swear to God you better behave!" as Rukia told Chappy to watch Kon.
Arriving at the destination, adrenaline started to course through my veins. The Hollow was the typical Hollow—annoying and ugly, clad with a white mask covering its face and a hole submerged in it's chest. It should've been a fast and easy defeat, that is if I wasn't so damn protective.
I told Rukia I had it. And I did. But the bastard changed course at the last second, barreling toward Rukia who was caught off guard. She tried to block the blow with her Zanpakuto, tried to shout out one of her Dances, but the Hollow was too fast. It intercepted her with such force that she was sent tumbling backwards where her back came into contact with a brick building and she crumpled in a heap to the ground.
I saw red. I was livid as I charged the Hollow, shouting at the top of my lungs. I swung Zangetsu with all my might as the Hollow lashed back with its arm, striking me in the shoulder. I growled and swung at its hand, cutting it off in one fluid motion.
It howled in pain and it's beady red eyes glared and turned to me, opening it's back to Rukia who was standing up, about to give the finishing blow.
I smiled as the Hollow sauntered to me and Rukia yelled, "Tsugi No Mai, Hakuren!"
A wave of ice erupted and encased the Hollow in its frozen abyss before cracking and disintegrating.
"You okay?" I asked, walking over to her.
"Fine. I'll heal," she remarked casually as a soft green glow began to emanate from her palms onto a spot above her elbow. "Stop scowling," she ordered although her eyes were focused on her hand.
I blinked, immediately dropping the scowl I didn't know I was showing. "What? Ugh, never mind. Just hurry up. We can't be late for dinner."
She smiled and dropped her hand, raising it up to my shoulder, "Here."
She started to heal me and warmth spread out, soothing the pain.
"Thanks," I smiled and she nodded, although it appeared like something was on her mind.
"Onii-chan!" Yuzu's voice shouted from the kitchen, announcing dinner and breaking me out of my reminiscence.
I squeezed my eyes shut. Rukia wanted to tell me something earlier. What was it? I sighed, wanting to forget it. "Coming, Yuzu!" I closed my notebook filled with my math homework that still wasn't done and shut off the bedroom light.
I took my usual seat at the kitchen table. "Did you cook all of this?" I asked Yuzu, regarding the numerous plates of rice balls, noodles, cucumbers, and eggs.
"Rukia helped!" she said, excitedly.
"Let me guess," I said. "She made the cucumbers and eggs." They were her favorite after all.
Yuzu smiled as she and Karin took their seats.
"Smells great, Yuzu!" I heard my dad shout as he came into the kitchen with Rukia behind him. I tried to catch her eyes but she didn't look at me. Why? And why did it look like she had something to hide.
My father sat at the other end of the table and Rukia surprisingly sat next to me.
"Let's eat, I'm starving," Karin said, grabbing a spoon of rice.
"Everything okay?" I asked Rukia quietly as I grabbed my pair of chopsticks.
"Of course," she dismissed easily, reaching for the dish of cucumbers. I let it go because frankly, I was too hungry to pry.
We ate and Karin told us about her soccer team and Yuzu added some things about high school.
"So how's college for you too?" my dad asked Rukia and I.
"Easy," Rukia smiled at the same time I answered, "Different."
"Not making you soft is it?" he winked. "Still practicing your fighting?"
I scoffed. "Believe me, Rukia always has me on my feet."
"That's my lovely third daughter!" he praised and Rukia laughed. The pure sound of it eased my nerves.
I finished my meal before anyone else and was reaching in for seconds just when my insane father was. Our hands touched as we both reached for the spoon of rice and a sinister look overcame his features.
"What are you doing, Ichigo?" he demanded with a glint of sarcasm in his eyes.
"You'll have to fight for it!"
"No way!" I recoiled and dropped the spoon.
Without a second to prepare myself, he tackled me to the floor and I heard plates falling and shattering on the floor. "Crazy old man!" I yelled, trying to dodge him. "Get off!"
"You'll have to try harder than that!" he yelled, efficiently landing a punch to my arm. "How are you going to protect Rukia if you can't defend yourself!"
That caught me off guard and my mind didn't have time to process his next fist coming to my face. I brought up a hand to deflect the blow to late and the force sent me flying backwards where my head connected with the wall. I heard an unmistakable crack and my dad say, "Oh…crap."
"Ichigo!" Rukia shouted and in my haze I saw her blurry form run over to me. Inches from where she was reaching my arm, I passed out.
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Somewhere, far away, I heard my voice being called. My eyes snapped open and the first thing my brain processed was violet.
"Rukia…" I breathed, rubbing my face with my hand and groaned. "What happened."
"You kinda got knocked out," she replied. Suddenly, what sounded like child-like gurgling hit my ears and my hand froze and I felt my eyes widen as I really looked at Rukia. What was in her arms?
"R—Rukia?" I gasped out and sat up from where I was slumped.
She rotated back on her knees and looked at me slightly confused as she adjusted the bundle in her arms. I pointed to it, still trying to come to terms to why she had a baby in her arms!
She lifted it so the baby got a better view of me. On closer inspection, I saw that the kid had bright orange hair that skimmed over her tiny shoulders and wide violet eyes that seemed to be laughing. What the hell?!
"What, Ichigo?" Rukia huffed, probably at my expression
"Who's baby is that?!" I shouted, causing the baby to wiggle and squirm at the loud noise. "Why does she look like me? And how did she even get here?"
"Ichigo!" Rukia scolded at my loudness and then started cooing softly to calm the baby girl in her arms. "You're scaring our daughter."
I sputtered, "Wh-what?! Daughter! I'm only nineteen! We never—I don't even—"
Rukia rolled her eyes and stood up. "I think you must've hit your head harder than I thought. Come on, let's go to bed," she turned her back and started walking to the stairs.
"Hang on a second!" I stood up and took in my surroundings. "Where's my dad? And Karin and Yuzu?"
Rukia turned her head back. "They left for the weekend, remember?"
I blinked in complete confusion. "No…we were just having dinner…and Dad knocked me out."
Rukia shook her head then smiled, bringing the baby's head up to her lips and kissing it. "Oh, Mai, what are we going to do with your insane father?"
"Mai?" I asked, following Rukia.
"Yes, Ichigo, that would be her name," she studied me for a second before continuing," You're starting to worry me. Do you need to see a doctor? I didn't think when you tripped and fell that you hit that hard. But I could be wrong…"
"No, no, I feel fine," I dismissed easily although I wasn't sure. What was going on? This didn't make any sense. I could have sworn I was just eating dinner with my family and Rukia and then Dad punched me a little too hard. And before that Rukia and I fought a Hollow. Where did this kid—no, my daughter come from?! Wait a second…
I looked down at my left hand and saw the glint of a gold metal band shine back at me. "We're married?!"
"Of course you idiot!" Rukia sounded astonished. "That's how you do things! You meet, fall in love, marry, and then have kids! Do you think my brother would have let you live this long if we had a daughter and I wasn't even married?"
"Uhh…right," I said slowly. "Wait, we only have this one kid right? No more hiding somewhere?"
Rukia frowned. "This 'kid' has a name, Ichigo. Come on, it's your daughter."
I looked at the baby more and found a lot of my features in her mixed evenly with Rukia's. Her hair obviously came from me. Dammit, why did she get MY hair? She would have to go through all the torment I had to go through! She seemed to have my scowl but Rukia's eyes. Mai's eyes were almost exactly Rukia's violet, just a tad lighter, appearing like a certain deep blue. She also had Rukia's nose and facial structure.
"How old is she?" I asked, unconsciously reaching my hand out to touch her.
"One year," Rukia responded.
"Right, I knew that," I quickly said, holding Mai's tiny hand and she smiled back, wrapping a fist around one of my fingers. "She just looks older."
Rukia smiled and cuddled Mai to her. "Ah, that's just the Kuchiki in her."
I scoffed and dropped my hand, Mai's hold was getting painfully tight. "Right, being a Kurosaki just doesn't live up to par, huh?"
She laughed and turned back to the stairs. "Come on, she has to go to bed. I don't want her to get cranky."
"Where does she sleep?" I asked following Rukia up the stairs.
We entered my room and it looked almost the same as always. My bed still sat by the far wall against the window and my desk was beside that. But where I had another dresser right to the left of my door instead sat a wooden baby crib with designs of cherry blossoms etched in it.
Rukia gave Mai one last kiss and carefully placed her in the crib, smoothing back her orange hair with a loving smile. "Goodnight, Mai, I love you, so much."
I smiled and walked up beside Rukia and wrapped my arm around her small waist. She leaned into me and rested her head on my shoulder. "Isn't she simply beautiful?"
"She is," I answered, watching Mai snuggle up with a blanket that pictured more cherry blossoms. "I can tell Byakuya got her that blanket."
"He had it especially made for her. There isn't another one like it. He practically spoils her every time he babysits."
"Byakuya? Babysitting? No way!" I couldn't picture it in my head.
Rukia punched my arm. "Of course! My brother isn't as cruel as you make him up to be!"
I rolled my eyes. "Sure, sure."
Rukia sighed but still had a smile on her face. "Well, I'm tired."
"Bed time already?" I cocked an eyebrow as I saw the time to only be eight o'clock.
"Today was a busy day!" she defended. "Cooking, cleaning, taking care of Mai, and the occasional Hollow."
"Yeah, remember, you said you had it but then didn't so I ended up getting hit and thrown into a wall?"
"Wait, that happened?"
She nodded as she climbed into bed. "Yes, and I still ended up giving the killing blow and healed your shoulder. Then we had to hurry back so Mai wouldn't wake."
I frowned as I walked to the bed. Rukia shifted over to the wall as I sat on the edge. "Weird…" I mumbled.
"Perhaps a good nights rest will help your poor mind," Rukia suggested as I pulled off my shirt and went under the covers.
"Maybe," I agreed and turned off the lamp, dousing the room in darkness.
Rukia cuddled up next to me and I stiffened. Wait, she was never like this. This wasn't her. She was never one for closeness. "Goodnight, Ichigo," she mumbled with her voice filled with sleep. "Love you."
My eyes widened t hearing those words. "I love you, too," I found myself saying, but I meant every word.
"Good. If you didn't—"
"You would kick me," I finished.
"I've trained you well," she joked. A few minutes later her breathing slowed and became even, signaling that she was asleep.
I stayed awake and contemplated for a bit, thinking about this whole ordeal. I know I always had feelings for Rukia. Like how we both acted as friends when together, but when apart, I always thought of her as more. I never wanted to define my feelings, knowing that we were more than platonic friends. I knew my feelings were always closer to that of love.
I rubbed my eyes. How hard did I hit my head? This was all so surreal. I sighed and turned to my side, my arms going around Rukia's small body and the added warmth and presence eased my nerves and worries and I found myself quickly drifting off to sleep.
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Something was slapping my neck with such little force that it almost went unnoticed. I cracked an eye open to see a faint glow of sunlight start to peek through the curtains and my eyes landed on Mai who giggled at seeing me awake. I furrowed my eyebrows and braced myself up on my elbow.
"Mai? Did you get out of your crib?" I wondered, looking from her to the crib.
"Dada, up," she hopped up and down and clapped her little hands. I blinked. She called me dada. I was a dad. That's right. I was nineteen and a dad.
"Mama!" she sang and launched herself on the bed. "Mama, up!" She began to crawl over my stomach to where Rukia was sleeping, black hair splayed over the pillow.
"Hey, Mai," I whispered, grabbing her around her small waist and standing up with her attached on my hip. "Let mommy sleep and I'll get you some breakfast."
I walked with her down to the kitchen and sat her in her high chair that—God forbid—had Chappy on it. "Only your mother, Mai," I shook my head, smiling as I went and grabbed her breakfast.
As I was feeding her, I couldn't help but stroke her soft cheek with my finger. It was strange how much she looked like Rukia and myself. I even saw a part of my mom in Mai. Mai's orange hair was staring to get waves like my mom had.
"All done?" I asked her as she wouldn't take another bite. She nodded her head vigorously and started banging her hands on the plastic table.
"Chappy!" she squealed.
"No," I smiled. "You couldn't possibly want to watch that annoying bunny?"
She scowled and crossed her arms. "Chappy! Chappy! Chappy!"
"Okay, okay!" I reluctantly agreed, picking her up and carrying her over to the living room. "I could never say no to my little Mai." I set her down on the carpet and turned the TV on, changing the channel to her show as the main theme was starting. Mai started bouncing to the beat and squealed with delight as the rabbit came on screen.
"You sure do take after your mom," I thought out loud, stretching back on the couch.
"I never took you for a Chappy guy," a voice sudden stated in my ear and I jumped as Rukia laughs and walked around the couch.
"Make some more noise when you come downstairs," I joked as she smiled and rolled her eyes, settling down beside Mai.
I smiled as the two of them sang and clapped along to the songs, Rukia proving to be a pretty amazing singer. I stood up, deciding to clean up from breakfast. I could get used to this parenthood thing.
As I was grabbing Mai's bowl I heard her give a peel of laughter as she excitedly said, "Mama, dance!"
I tuned back to the two of them and saw Rukia on her feet, holding Mai's stretched up arms as she balanced on Rukia's feet and they started to dance. Rukia was all smiles and joined in with Mai's laughing. She never looked more beautiful. The pure scene of it had my heart clench. Rukia was really good with Mai. I truly loved her. Rukia…was just my everything. I had to have her by my side.
All to soon, the world around me began to crack and fade. "Hey! Wait!" I shouted and thrust my arm out, desperate to touch Mai again. "Mai! Rukia!" I yelled as some unknown force seemed to suck me back. What's happening?
I gasped as my body fell and I found myself staring at buildings. Buildings?
"Ichigo," a male's voice stated that seemed oddly familiar.
"Zan—Zangetsu?" I gasped out, struggling to stand and having to get used to the odd way the scenery was tilted 90 degrees.
Zangetsu stood a few feet away. "You finally admitted your true feelings for Rukia. Good."
"What are you saying? What was all of that?" So many questions were forming in my head. "Where's Mai? Was that the future? Tell me!"
Zangetsu looked away. "That I do not know. The future is what you make it." With that said, he tuned back to face me. "Time to go back, Ichigo."
I opened my mouth to protest as once again, the world began to crumble and disintegrate.
~ / ~ / ~ / ~
"Ichigo," I heard Rukia call. "Just open your eyes."
I found myself obeying and they opened. Everything was fuzzy and disoriented at first until I looked at Rukia. She was siting crouched in front of me, looking worried but sighed with relief as she saw my eyes open. I had a sudden sense of déjà vu as I bolted upright and grabbed for Rukia's arms. "I—Ichigo?" Rukia shouted a bit alarmed.
"Mai…" I whispered in sadness. She wasn't in Rukia's grasp. It seemed I was back in reality.
"Mai?" Rukia asked and I shook my head.
"Never mind. Is—"
"Ichi-nii! How could you let Dad get the best of you?" Karin scolded to my right. I blinked and looked around, rubbing the back of my neck.
"Just stay still, Ichigo!" Yuzu ordered, running around looking for something. "I'm going to get you some ice for your head."
"Oh, Masaki!" I heard my dad cry and saw him all up on the poster of Mom. "What have I done?" he cried. "I was too hard! Our son will never forgive me!"
"Dad," I groaned. "Don't worry. I should've deflected it." I smiled. "Trust me, I've been through worse."
Yuzu came back with an ice pack and gingerly placed it on the back of my head. "Thanks, Yuzu," I smiled and she nodded.
"Dad, you're such an idiot!" Karin shouted and efficiently landed a kick to his shin. Rukia was still quiet and watching me steadily.
"Stop worrying, Midget," I sighed and that sparked some life into her and she glared.
"I wouldn't have to worry if a certain Strawberry wasn't so reckless!" she shot back.
"Well I wouldn't have to be so reckless if I didn't love you do much!" I snapped and then my eyes widened. Somehow this argument just led into something else entirely.
Rukia gasped. "Did you just…"
I averted my eyes. "Yes, I did. Got a problem with that?" I cocked an eyebrow and started back at her, trying to appear normal.
She shook her head with a smile. "No, not at all. It actually makes me glad."
"Well…Ichigo," she seemed uncomfortable and was fidgeting with her shirt. "I was going to tell you earlier but didn't know where to begin and since I didn't know how you felt about me…I didn't know how the topic would go."
"What are you getting at?" I asked her.
She took a deep breath before continuing. "Do you remember that party Rangiku had? And it's Rangiku…so she supplied quite a bit of Sake."
"We each had our fair share of it and that stuff does make us do some pretty crazy things."
"Rukia, spit it out."
She looked me squarely in the eyes and said, "I love you, Ichigo. And…I'm…pregnant."
I stared at her and then suddenly hugged her, causing her to stiffen slightly before throwing her arms around me.
"Your not mad?" she asked, her voice muffled against my chest.
I scoffed. "Of course not! I'm beyond happy! This is great!"
We broke apart and she smiled fondly at me. "Good," she said. "But it won't last for long."
I frowned. "Why?"
"We have to tell Byakuya."
"Oh, my lovely third daughter!" my dad shouted, muting my sudden curse words. "Finally you told my delinquent of a son!"
"Wait," I started at him. "You knew?"
"Of course," he replied as if that answered everything. "I just happen to be a doctor. Poor Rukia was becoming so confused and sought help."
"How long have you known?"
"She told me before dinner," he answered. Well, that explained why she was so quiet coming to dinner. "But, Ichigo…"
Rukia interfered. "I'm one month pregnant."
"Ichigo, we aren't married! How will my brother respond?"
"We'll get married!"
"Before the baby is born?" she asked, placing a hand on her flat stomach. "Ichigo, you're nineteen!"
"And by the time Mai is born I'll be twenty!" I quickly calculated in my head.
"There you go with this 'Mai' again. What's up with that?"
"It's the perfect name, isn't it?"
"I…guess so. It has a nice ring to it."
"So if it's a girl, can we name her Mai?"
Rukia's eyes softened and she smiled. "Yes, I like that name. Mai. My little Mai," she muttered, playing around with the name.
She laughed as I hugged her again. I guess it was time to make dreams reality.
~ / ~ / ~ / ~ A/N: Ta-daa! How was that? Quite the fluffiness. Haha I had a lot of fun writing it. Reviews are highly appreciated! :)
A/N: Ta-daa! How was that? Quite the fluffiness. Haha I had a lot of fun writing it. Reviews are highly appreciated! :)