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We Need Each Other" It was a cold night. Rukia looked outside the window and sighed.

It has been so long since she left the soul society. She remembered the feeling of death, and how she was accepting it. She had said her goodbyes in silence to all the important people in her life and to the new people in her life. It really wasn't that long ago since she met Ichigo, who was now a stronger soul reaper than ever before. She still couldn't believe that Ichigo Kurosaki saved her. She was surprised that her brother didn't finish him that he even let her go back to the human world. Then again, it was the least he could do. He had no kindness in his heart till the day she told him that he didn't want his sister to die, that he had no choice in the matter of her execution. Thinking about this Rukia started to cry. She was going to miss him so much. Her deep thoughts and momentary sorrow was interrupted by her small cell phone ringing. It was Urahara. She stared at the phone wondering if she should even pick it up, but then could be important. "Hello" she whispered into the phone, she took a gulp as her voice cracked. "Why hello Ms. Kuchiki we need you right away" then without another word the line cut off. What was that about? She wondered as she closed her cell and put it in her pocket. She then got up and opened the window of Ichigo's bedroom and hurried over to the shop, what she seen when she arrived shocked her, her blood ran cold and her heart rate started pumping. Ichigo was lying in a bed with bandages around his upper torso and along both of his arms and legs. "What happened!? Ichigo!" she stammered. Her eyes still wide as she hovered over his body. His eyes were closed, and he looked like he was in terrible pain. She touched his shoulder. "Ichigo? Can you hear me?" There was silence and she looked around. Ururu and Jinta were standing nearby, as well as Urahara. It was Urahara that spoke up first... "I tried contracting you earlier, but it was too late. Ichigo had run across a Hollow on his way home from school. He was in a hurry to get to you since you haven't been feeling well since you left the soul society, so he didn't want to bother you. He tried taking out a Menos Grande all on his own" "That idiot! What could he of been thinking" Rukia's mind was flashing with how the fight must of happened. "He wasn't paying attention. He is too prideful, thinking he could take one on his own. I should have been thereI should of known" Rukia looked back down at Ichigo's body then back to Uraraha. "Is he going to be okay?" she whispered. "Is this all my fault, it is my responsibility as his partner to protect him, and I didn't "Rukia felt weak, her head spun, and she fell to the floor crying.

"What are you crying for Rukia" said a faint voice. Rukia's head shot up, tears forming in her eyes. "Ichigo!" she cried, then she paused looking at him then blurted out "You IDIOT! What were you thinking? That Hollow could have killed you, Menos Grande isn't something to toy with and you know that! What happened to the other Hollows that helped it? I know there is more than just one!" Ichigo laughed lightly "It was quite a fight, I know what I'm doing so you shouldn't be worried about-" "Worried!? Ha! I wasn't worried I just know you can't handle these things without me!" Ichigo then suddenly shot up sitting upward, looking at her bewildered. "Are you kidding me? I don't need you Rukia, you gave me some of your powers so I can be strong, and ever since I rescued you from the soul society, you still give me shit about not being strong. I am strong Rukia, I can do these things on my own and I don't need you!" his jaw locked in a tight straight line, his eyes glowing with anger. "You know what Rukia, I am done, and I don't want to see you ever again!" The words shocked her. He couldn't possibly mean that. They were partners, Ichigo knew her better than anyone. Better than Renji...or even or own brother. She stood up and headed to the door. "If that is what you want, then I will go" she said not looking at him anymore. "Urahara, can I stay here then? I don't think it would be appropriate if I stayed in Ichigo's bedroom closet anymore" and with that Rukia was gone. PT2: Rukia come home! It had already been a year since that awful fight between Rukia and Ichigo. Rukia didn't think this would have lasted a year already. She hadn't seen Ichigo anywhere. She had dropped out of the school just to avoid seeing him. It was too painful. She spent her days cleaning the shop with Ururu and practicing her studies on the ways of the human world. Occasionally she would see Orihime or Chad come into the shop to check on her, but she would normally avoid all of her friends. "Maybe this is betterit is better this way. My feelings for Ichigo are too strong. We are just supposed to be partners, shinigami first and Rukia and Ichigo second". It was a rule in her mind to never gain more feelings than that. Of course she knew she had no real control of this. She wondered if he even missed her. Ichigo was punching bags. His thoughts consisted of nothing but getting stronger. He needed to work more on his spiritual energy. He had to prove to Rukia he was strong. He sighed pouring with sweat he could feel himself gaining his strength back. He remembered all of the exercises he had done just to get into the soul society to save Rukia. He knew he had become stronger since then. Today he was going to prove it.

He hadn't seen Rukia at school in forever, but that didn't mean he didn't know where she was. He had asked his friends over the years to check on her without her really knowing it was him just checking up on her. He missed her every day, but she could never know that. His thoughts of Rukia where then interrupted by a horrible sound coming from outside. "Finally" he said "After all this time he finally came back!" Ichigo was almost giddy, he smiled thinking of his victory as he seen the Grande come out of the darkest of the night 4 other hollows right behind him. "I'll show you now Rukia I will show you how strong I am!" he exclaimed as he jumped into the sky, jumping out of his gigai Meanwhile Rukia's phone was going crazy. "Whatthere is an army of Hollows out there! What are they all doing here in the living? It has been so quiet for so long" she flashed out of her gigai and started out of the shop with only one thought on her mind "Ichigo" she hurried till the pressure of the hollow was so strong it burned her senses. "What is thisit's so strong." She hurried toward the park, and that's when she seen it. No, not the Hollow. But him. Ichigo was standing on the other side his zan-pa-to ready to fight. "Ichigo!" Rukia cried "Look out!" she said sprinting towards the Hallow and sweeping her sword hitting it's shoulder blade. Ichigo looked in shock "Rukia!" he cried "What are you doing here!?" "Apparently saving you again" she said blunting ready to attack again "Now listen Ichigo-" "No, you listen; this is between me and them. Go back to Urahara I don't need your help" Rukia then put down her sword "Fine" she said "I'll watch you single handily be defeated then" she said moving out of his way and standing at the sidelines. It hurt really, so be so cruel to him, but he had to learn that he needed her. Only he was the person to really admit that. With one swoop of his Zapata Ichigo sliced the shoulders of the 4 hallows surrounding the Mendes Grande falling to the ground in a thump and breathing hard as the Hallows fell around him. He smirked at Rukia "See I told you I have everything under control, now it's time to finish this bastard!" he cried turning the largest Hollow. "Hey you piece of shit! Let's see how tough you are without your friends!" The Hollow made a terrible screeching noise before lunging at Ichigo. "Oh nohe's too fast for him!" Rukia thought in horror as she watched Ichigo bounce only inches out of range of attacks. "He needs my helpbutif I do" she held her sword tight going into attack mode.

"God dammit!" Ichigo screamed swinging and yelling as he missed every shot before landing on the ground with a thud. "How can this be, I'm stronger than him. I know I am" he glanced over at Rukia "I can't let her be in danger, this isn't about pride. This is about her safety. "Ichigo! Look out!" Rukia cried and without a second thought she leapt in the air and landed on top of the Hallows head, but it was too late, the Hollow had Ichigo by his arm and he had passed out. With a burst of anger Rukia raised her sword and said "How dare you hurt him, you son of a bitch! DIEEEEE!" She jammed her sword into the Hollows eye sending it crashing down to the ground releasing Ichigo. She ran to his side as fast as she could. He was still breathing, and then he opened his eyes. "RukiaI'm sorry" he said as he tried to get up "Nobody does that to me!" Ichigo cried running at fast speed, it was incredible how his spiritual pressure had regained energy so fast as he stabbed his zanpato deep into the Hollows chest pressing more and more till the Hollow was nearly lifeless on the ground. Breathing hard Ichigo starred at the beast that was slowly deteriorating back into to where it came from. He walked back to Rukia. "I owe you an apology; I shouldn't be fighting without you" Rukia looked up at him her velvet eyes fixed on his "Ichigo" He picked her up "Are you okay?" he said looking at her wounded shoulder "We will go back to Urahara right away to get you better". Rukia didn't know what to say she was speechless. She tried to open her mouth but all that came out was a sigh. He was right about one thing. They did need each other. It was destiny that they had met. She then closed her eyes pressing her cheek against his chest and passed out. Ichigo smiled and brushed some of her hair out of her face. He started walking to Urahara thinking of the event that just happened. His smiled widen his eyes got teary. He was in love with Rukia Kuchiki, but when was he going to be able to tell her?

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