Was inspired by the ending to the manga chapter #238.

Title: The Path to Uncertainty

Author: Beck

Pairings/Characters used: RenjixRukia

Notes: Just in time for Renji's birthday 8/31.

Warning(s): Slight spoilers for the end of chapter #238. Read at your own discretion.

Disclaimer: Me no own. weeps

The light squeeze on her shoulder made Rukia snap out of the thick haze that clouded her mind since the parting words between Ichigo and Captain Yamamoto. Rukia looked up toward her left and realized that Renji was still walking by her side, his arm around her shoulder as they trailed behind the rest of the group, his eyes focused on the retreating backs. Not once did Captain Zaraki nor her brother have to stop to make sure everyone was still following them. She considered that a blessing and apparently so did Renji as he spoke low enough for her to hear.

"You know him, I'm sure he'll think up of something crazy to go charging in like a rabid bull." He kept his gaze straight ahead but it was Rukia's reply that actually had him looking down at her in surprise.

"Ah. That does sound like something Ichigo would do but my main worry is about Inoue." Before she continued to speak, she moved in closer to Renji's side, which in turn made him tighten his hold around her shoulders. "It's my fault that Inoue is in the predicament she's in. It's my fault Ichigo is suffering at her sudden disappearance."

"WHAT. . ." Renji realized his voice was rising at what she was confessing and lowered his tone in order to keep attention away from themselves. "What are you talking about? Why are you suddenly blaming yourself?"

"Don't look at me as if I'm speaking crazy Renji. It's true." Rukia lowered her head for a moment to gather her thoughts and clenched her fists at her sides. "It was my idea to take Inoue to Soul Society to train. I was so stupid to let her go back by herself even if she was assigned escorts later. Some friend I have become. I won't blame her if she never trusts me again."

Seireitei was just within view, as Renji knew they had to hurry their conversation before everyone split up to go to their respective divisions. "You may feel at fault Rukia but you didn't know that this was going to happen. Hell, it took all of us by surprise. If Inoue is your friend, as you say, I'm sure she won't hold you responsible. She seems like a strong willed person and as long as she keeps her faith and trust in her friends, she'll come through this. You have to think positive no matter the consequence. It's a little hard to do when you got a lot on your mind but it's what gives you an incentive." He tousled her hair playfully andgave her a smirk as though to say she worried too much. She took his words to heart and realized the last statement must've been what he went through while trying to save her from execution.

Rukia nodded in agreement. "I understand, as much as I don't like being told not to do something."

"Pffft. . . ain't that the truth? Spoken like a true Kuchiki." Renji rolled his eyes, knowing that it would rile her up.

Rukia stopped in her tracks and crossed her arms in defiance. "Not even. Besides, you got room to talk."

The tension in the atmosphere eased a bit as Renji put his arm back around her shoulders to keep her moving. "I tell ya what though. Since we're going to be up to our ears training like banshees, how about we have a few sparring sessions?"

Rukia actually liked the idea and formed a sinister grin across her lips while taking the opportunity to elbow him in the side. She had the intent of an evil plot up her sleeve and the indication of severe mocking with a raised eyebrow. "Why, so you can get your ass kicked?"

Eyes wide in amusement, Renji couldn't help but chuckle at her bold statement. "Just cause you're a girl, doesn't mean I'm going to go easy on you."

She stuck her chin out and held her head high. "Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way."

To Renji, all that mattered was Rukia's well being and smiled warmly as he looked down at her. "Good, I'm glad to hear it. It'll be quite the experience."

END!