Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach… but I do hope I own Byakuya Kuchiki…

Not in Blood

She was adopted by a noble family thus, acquiring the best that life can possibly offer. And yet, who is she now?

A prisoner. A criminal.

Almost unaware of her actions, she brushed her small fingers across the red band that enclosed her slender neck, each of them falling down the shallow holes bored on it.

Raising her head a bit, she let out a weak sigh. It would have been better if she was inside her former prison, the holding cell of the sixth division managed by her brother. There could be anything worth looking at, at least. But at present, there was nothing much to be seen. The color that was supposed to be the symbol of purity outstretched with as far as her bluest of eyes can reach. Too overwhelming to the point that it was suffocating. Yes, it was indeed hard to breathe. The sole window, her last resort, was situated a couple of feet above her.

But of course, she is inside the topmost room of Senzakyuu, the white tower of repentance. The place where the most hideous of criminals were kept to await their end.

Ironic, for she could not feel anything about her forthcoming demise.

Another sigh.

Her back had started to stiffen since she had not exactly moved from her sitting position in the middle of the spacious room. The blank, white, spacious room.

In a matter of days… she thought. It would be my time. My time to die.

She stared at her hands, glad that they were not bound anymore. It sure was awkward for someone like her who was used to wielding her zanpakuto with skill using her slender arms.

Strands of raven cascaded down her shoulder as she bent her head lower.

He had come a while ago. He was here to rescue her, or so he said.

Kurosaki Ichigo.

The idiot. I told him never to follow me here… such a narrow brain…

She slightly fixed her white yukata before placing her hands above her lap.

Kuchiki Rukia then stood up from her seat. She slightly shivered the moment her bare little feet touched the cold floor. She stretched to lie down in one corner. She was tired after everything that happened. She only has to thank that person for saving her life unintended; Byakuya Kuchiki by ignoring his fight with Ichigo.

"Aniki…" she whispered.

Aniki was one of the persons that I looked up to the most with Kaien-dono as the other one.

Kuchiki Byakuya as what he was called. He is a powerful figure in the Soul Society, being the head of the four elite families and the captain of the sixth division of shinigami. He possessed the power that was said to surpass that of anyone in the history of the Kuchiki clan.

And he was the one who adopted me though I have always wondered why he decided to take me under his wing.

Aniki.

He was the main reason why I have entered the school for shinigami without much difficulty.

Indeed, getting in the Kuchiki clan was almost easy. Proving myself was the hardest. Every mission with Kaien-dono was a success but because my strength was not enough, I had not gotten any seat that could come to please him even a bit.

Yes, it was hard to please him. And I don't even know if he really sees me as his younger sister. Never once did he bother himself to look at me. Whenever we got a chance to talk to each other, it would be as brief as possible. He was always doing something… and his back was always turned to me. All I can do is cast my eyes to the ground while he tells me that I may leave.

He was too perfect. I could just imagine the disgrace I brought the whole clan after dragging the family's surname with my failures. Especially the most recent… that a human had gotten use of my shinigami powers.

He could look so calm outside but I knew he was furious with what I have done.

Now that I think of it, what good did I do for the family?

Nothing.

The rookie shinigami had barely shut her eyes for five minutes when the only door to her prison cell opened. A group of veiled people came in. she cautiously stood up and walked towards them.

"We bring you news about your execution, Kuchiki-san."

She nodded her head, telling the one in front to go on.

"The execution, as decided upon by the Center 46 of Soul Society, shall be tomorrow noon."

She tried swallowing the lump that formed in her throat. Immobile she was as the messengers left. She just shook her head and returned to her previous place.

"Brooding won't do me any good. It would be best to succumb and accept." she murmured. She placed her hand under her head and thought,

Tomorrow will be my execution. But somehow I don't feel sad. Why is that?

She turned to her side, eyes fixed forward, staring blankly at space.

I have met Renji and the others, adopted by aniki, and now… a rescue attempt by Ichigo.

A light smile grazed her thin lips.

That is more than enough for me. I would die peacefully but to think… I could probably beg the authorities to send back Ichigo and the others to the physical world as my last wish… she slowly closed her eyes and took a deep breath. With my relation to the nobles, maybe they could honor my request. But… her brother's face flashed through her mind.

Did he ever think of saving me? Like appealing to the courts for a lighter punishment, perhaps? But knowing aniki, he would probably abide by the rules. Yes… that's how a noble's mind works. For who would follow the rules if they themselves repel it?

A faint memory of years back. It wasn't exactly a memory for she could not recall if it was true. She was deliriously sick at that time, convulsing with fever.

Her breathing came in gasps. Her frail body shook violently from cold. She was burning with fever since the other day.

Her strength left her that she could not even crack an eye open. Her brows was always creased and her teeth would tatter.

But there was a certain night that was different from the previous ones. It was the night before her full recovery. Nobody knew for sure what happened but the deathly pale Rukia became well at once.

Too… c-cold… she thought while curling herself, all the while hugging her waist. The comforter did not give her sufficient warmth at all. She then brought her now clenched fists below her chin.

She faintly heard the panel door slide open. She shivered even more with the entrance of cold night wind from the outside. She tried opening her eyes but failed. The coldness slowly dissipated to her utter surprise and was almost aware of the warm body sitting by her bedside.

And then a gentle and comforting hand touched her creased and burning forehead. It stayed there for long, calming her nerves. Her hair was being brushed back only to tumble back on its place. She felt the hand creep down to her flushed cheeks.

"S-s-sam-samuiii…" she murmured, one f her little hands holding bigger hand that rested on her face. She cuddled closer to it.

"Daijoubu…" she faintly heard as she was starting to drift back to slumber. "Sleep well…"

Willing herself to wake up, she forcefully pushed her eyelids open but only succeeded in opening a fourth of it, add the gloomy surrounding that greeted her. She felt a warm breath on her face as she felt soft lips planting a kiss on her forehead.

"Imoutosan…" she heard and saw Byakuya Kuchiki's face… or so she thought. It could be one of her illusions again for all she knows.

Besides, the skilled Kuchiki would not do something like that, would he?

"A---ani-----ki…?" she called out with a whisper while focusing hard on the retreating figure. All she can make out was raven hair that ran down the person's back. Everything went black again.

Dark eyes lazily opened, staring at the immaculate ceiling of the tower.

Aniki… was that really him?does he, by any chance, worry about me after all?

-fin-

Author's notes: sigh this fic actually came first before Repentance but anyway… they're not really that connected. And well, sorry for the oocness of the characters… . just can't help it… please read and review… I want to hear from you people! and may I tell you that I'm really interested in Rukia and Byakuya's relationship? (as siblings of course)