AN: Hello there! This is my first foray into Bleach fanfiction, but I just love it too damn much. This is meant to be a variety of things, some serious, some mushy, tongue-in-cheek, whatever I felt (or wanted to) fit. This is my first go at any challenge, really, so it's been interesting. It's non-linear, but it should be easy as you read more what time each chapter is taking place in terms of where their relationship stands… I hope. Also, I will admit here, I may be rather sneaky in how kisses are delivered and therefore my standing up to this challenge may be a complete failure.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here we are, folks!

P.S – By the way, they're numbered according to their listing on 30 Kisses. At the end (if people care) I'll put up the order they can be read in terms of their place in time. But seriously, will anyone care?

It was how you looked at me

By Cat Alex

29. The Sound of Waves

She longed for the ocean to carry her away. But there was no ocean; she simply stared into the moonlit river, longing for something she hadn't seen in this painful afterlife. There was a strong remembrance of the waves, being on a beach with her little sister and their mother. They had been laughing… laughing so much about something, but she couldn't remember what. Their mother had gathered them in her arms, kissing them both as if they were the most precious things she owned. It was a memory that wrenched her heart and made her smile a pained smile.

All she could do was stand on a bridge and stare at the meagre ripples of the river and imagine something more powerful.

There was no escape from here, or her conscience. She had chosen to survive, and sacrificed her sister in order to do so. It tore her heart to even think of it. She had promised to live her life to the full in order to make up for giving her sister up, but here she was depressed and failing to do anything with her life.

"Rukia... I'm so sorry…" she whispered to the water.

A noise made her start and spin around. Midnight and with no weapon was a bad combination.

Along the path walked a tall, austere man. She couldn't tell if he was oblivious, or simply ignoring her presence. He was clean and handsome. Her heart sank; he clearly was someone of status. The scarf flowing around his neck looked expensive, and the hair ornament she recalled had something to do with power. And the sword… she recognised it as a zanpaku-tô. She possessed the hunger of those with spiritual power, but hers was so meagre she knew she hadn't a hope of escaping poverty through the shinigami academy.

He appeared to finally notice her, perhaps because she had been staring so intently at him with large dark blue eyes, and eyed her briefly while continuing his stroll.

"Do not taint this river with your death. The riverbank fauna would be ruined by peasants dragging you out before you infected their water supply," the man said, startling her.

"M-my death?!" she blurted. She couldn't believe the man would say such a thing. Did she look like she was going to kill herself?

The man turned to her, his eyes level and cold. His blank face sent a shiver down her spine. She felt like his face was a mask he was looking through.

"What is your name?" he commanded. She didn't know what else to do, but answer him. Her eyes kept being drawn from his face to his zanpaku-tô.

"Hisana, sir."

"Hisana, you have eyes that contemplate death," he told her and continued on.

She stood in a shocked silence, watching him sink into the darkness of the trees that lined the path ahead. Hisana looked to the river and back to the nameless man. Who had he been, and why did he even say that to her?

And… his voice…

His voice… it reminded her of the calm, yet powerful, waves of the ocean.