Ichigo stared up at the ceiling, waiting for sleep. It was the only time he could get away from the world, and the memories. More specifically, the memories of her. She hadn't visited Karakura according to his friends; she hadn't visited him. He thought their friendship was stronger than that.

Giving up on sleep, he sat up in his bed, the moonlight leaking through the crack in the curtain, illuminating the room. Standing up, he walked over to the closet and opened the door. He knew she wouldn't be in there, but he wished she was. The walls were still decorated with her crappy drawings; a fake window on the wall. It was his desperate attempt to hold onto the past and, if she ever came back, so she had someplace to stay. More than anything, it showed how he missed the midget.

Throwing on some clothes, Ichigo crept out of the room, silent as the shadows that consumed the corridor. As he walked down the stairs one of them emitted a loud 'creak.' He froze as it seemed to reverberate throughout the darkness. He listened for any sound signaling his family getting up; only silence greeted him. Cautiously, he walked the remaining steps before hurrying to the door. Throwing on his jacket, he stepped out into the night air.

Karin sat up on the couch, eyes on the door. "Ichi-nii's been doing that a lot," Karin said, seemingly to nothing. "Leaving in the middle of the night I mean." she clarified. "Why haven't you visited him? He misses you a lot, Rukia-nee." Rukia step out from behind the doorway, her footsteps nonexistent.

"He needs to live a normal life. Me being there would only tie him to a world he doesn't belong to." Her eyes were sad as they lingered on the door Ichigo just exited before she turned towards Karin.

"Bullshit!" Karin all but yelled. "Can't you see Ichi-nii doesn't want a normal life! He doesn't smile anymore and his eyes are empty! He's lonely, but won't let anyone get close!" Her voice started to crack as tears welled up in her eyes. "He wants to be a Shinigami again! He wants to be able to protect people again! He wants to be with you again!" The tears ran down her cheeks as her voice went quiet. "Please," she whispered, "I just want my brother back. I want him to smile again; not those fake ones he puts on for show. I-I want him to enjoy life; not hate it. I want him to be happy, and he can't be if you're not around."

Rukia looked at Karin with sympathetic eyes. 'Is he really that upset even after all this time?' Reaching a hand forward, she placed it on the younger girl's shoulder. "I'll try." She disappeared in a series of Shunpo, following Ichigo into the night.

Ichigo sat at the edge of the river, watching the current. He came here every night, trying to relax and let his mind go blank. Every night he tried; every night he failed. His mind was crowded with too many thoughts of her to relax. He laid his head on his knees, wrapping his arms around his legs and closing his eyes. "Why Rukia? Why?" His question seemed to drift on the wind and ride on the current, the only sound in the night.

"Because I thought you'd be happier without me," a voice answered. Ichigo's head shot up, looking in the direction the voice came from.

Rukia stood there, her hair slightly longer and filling out her violet dress a little more, but still the same Rukia. Ichigo's mouth went dry as he looked at her, the way the moonlight danced across her features and how her amethyst eyes seemed to sparkle and outshine the gem itself.

"R-Rukia..." His voice was barely working and his body wouldn't respond. The world around him seemed to fade until it was only them.

"It's been awhile, Ichigo." Slowly, ever so slowly, Ichigo stood up and took a few tentative steps towards her, his eyes never leaving hers, almost afraid she would disappear if he even blinked.

"Is it really you?" His voice was quiet, as if anything louder would shatter the moment.

"Yeah," she answered, a soft smile on her lips. His arms shot towards her, wrapping her in a tight hug. She was surprised for a few moments before she slowly returned the hug, leaning her head against his shoulder.

"I missed you," he whispered, resting his head on hers.

"I missed you too," she replied, welcoming the comfortable silence that settled over them for a few minutes.

"You grew a few inches, but you're still short, midget." She could feel the smirk dripping in his voice as he started their playful banter.

"And you still have that crazy orange hair of yours, strawberry." His smirk was quickly replaced by a scowl as she brought up his namesake.

Their argument continued as the sun slowly rose, peeking over the horizon. Once again, the rain dragged the Black Sun down, and once again, the rain was dried by the White Moon.

I wrote this for a contest on DeviantArt which, sadly, I didn't win. People who've read it said it's pretty good so I thought I'd share it with the people on FanFiction. Anyway, goodbye for now.
-Moonlight's Shadow Warrior :D