The numbers count down to oblivion.
That is how she thinks it to be.
Those little numbers tattooed on her wrist tell her how long she has left before she stops being alone.
She's heard of people wanting to be alone…of people attempting to hide in their rooms or some secluded place. But the minute those numbers turn zero and disappear, an email or a phone call ruins all their precautions. Maybe something drastic, like someone intruding in on their space with the same intentions as theirs. It's an infallible system.
She knows the ins and outs of it – she's worked on the system itself, after all.
Developed in the late 22nd century, the human population began to dwindle with the rapid increase in technology. More and more people became addicted to the ever-growing internet, and more and more people stayed at home instead of using the all-new transportation systems that allows them to cross an ocean within just a few seconds. Along with that rise came the new relationships established online – friendships, even love relationships.
And that's when the famous 'Soulmate System' was developed.
At first, it was just a trend. And then, as more and more people got tuned into it, it became a worldwide policy. It became a world system, owned by united governments who employ people such as her to manage it.
It operates on the theory that the heart and soul are two different things. When the existence of the soul was proved a century before the development of the System, the founders were astonished to find that each soul resonated with a certain frequency that worked on a biological level. This means that the soul can affect the heart, but not the other way around. When the soul 'meets' another soul working on the same frequency, the bodies that those souls inhibit send signals to the body's nerve endings – thus explaining 'love' and the 'soulmate principle'. This meeting is then 'fate' – a magnetic attraction between those two souls. Each frequency pair is essentially unique to that pair (no third parties involved).
It became such a phenomenon that, when the System was created, it was deemed to be perfect. The bioelectric tattoos work alongside the soul frequency, allowing users to know how long it will be before they meet their soulmates and, in theory, be happy until their bodies give out. Their souls will then either be 'recycled' (in other words, reincarnated), or lost in the millions of frequencies around the globe, with no possible way to determine if they can be recycled again.
As it is, the souls affect biological impulses so much so that the psychology of a person is affected as well.
She's seen it – introverts begin to show affection, the most aggressive of people become so mild-mannered when they meet that one person.
And now, she's about to meet hers.
Fact is, she doesn't want to.
She's fine with her life the way it is. She's fine with having a busy schedule and trying to please her brother and serving the government alone. She's seen the way her co-workers look at their soulmates, like they're the most precious people in the world even though they're not. Hell, she's even seen how other people become so excited over it, practically bouncing during their last solitary days.
She's also seen how people lose themselves when their soulmates die. Exhibit A: her own brother.
But no, she can't think about that, not now.
Now, she's standing at an awning of a closed café, looking grimly down at her own wrist.
She knew she shouldn't have taken that overtime. Now it's raining and she's waiting for a very late bus and she just wants to go home and forget about everything.
Maybe that'll even let her miss –
"Ah!" someone exclaims beside her. She looks up in surprise, just as the wrist starts to get into the seconds.
The first thing she sees is outrageous orange hair on the head of a very tall, very lean and very scowl-y man. He's wearing the uniform of a doctor, and the suitcase by his side only proves that, as well as the optimal glasses that are tucked under his soaked white coat. His eyes are concealed by the wet locks sticking to the front of his face. She cannot see his wrist.
"Man, it rains on the day my numbers countdown to zero," he grumbles beside her, leaning on the metal covering of the café. She looks at him, assesses him as he rakes a hand over his hair and wipes his face. He gives her a look between the fingers of the hand covering most of his face. "What are you looking at?"
She bites back a scoff. "You're weird, complaining to a stranger like me."
"Yeah, well. It's a bad day. It's raining and…the stupid countdown is bugging me."
"I'll say. The rain sucks. And I don't even want to know what number my countdown is at."
He laughs bitterly. "Why do you think I'm wearing a coat?"
She stifles a laugh, and merely smirks at him. "Dreading it as well, huh?"
"You know it. Man, what's taking the bus so long?"
"Don't you have a car, Doctor…?"
"Doct – oh, right, the uniform." He grins at her, the scowl disappearing from his face, replaced by something almost…gentle. "Kurosaki. But it's just Ichigo. And you're…?"
"Just Rukia," she answers with a similar grin. She holds out the hand that's not marked, and he does the same. "The bus won't arrive for another hour, so I guess you're stuck with me."
When they shake hands, the numbers all show zero.
When he smiles, her heart thuds a little harder. "Well, I don't think that'll be so bad."
When their hands separate, her gut feels a little emptier. She manages to smile. "Yeah…I don't think it will…"
A/N: I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I haven't gotten to writing it due to…things. I'm supposed to be doing homework right now, but whatever. Anyhow, the idea for this was taken from that post on tumblr about "what if there was a countdown on how long we'll meet our soulmates?", and only now have I developed the actual story for it. It's kind-of small and yes, I should be working on my other fics, but enjoy this for now. Read and review, if you want to. :)