Title: To Make Her Smile

Series: Bleach

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Character(s)/Pairings: Kon, Rukia, Ichigo; Ichigo/Rukia

Rating: PG

Summary: Kon reflects upon the darkness that has always threatened to overtake Rukia.

Warnings: Some spoilers for the current chapters.

Kon has been in love with Rukia since the moment that she first stepped into his life. Her awe-inspiring beauty completely won him over, and though other women might have bigger... bosoms than his Nee-san, none could take the place of his lovely Nee-san with her kind and gentle ways.

Actually, that was a bit of lie.

Not the bit about his lovely Nee-san with her kind and gentle ways, but the part about love at first sight.

It hadn't been love at first sight. He had loathed her. She was a Soul Reaper. She was one of them. And even if she wasn't the one who had signed his death certificate, she still represented the death of thousands of his brothers and sisters.

When she had run off with Ichigo on that fateful day, he had found himself hoping that she got eaten by the Hollow she and Ichigo were off to kill. It's a thought that he has never quite forgiven himself for having, especially now, when he almost did lose his Nee-san to a Hollow and not just any Hollow but an Espada.

He can remember the exact position of the sun in the sky on the day that he realized that Nee-san was not like other Soul Reapers. She had snatched him from the hand of Death and given him to Ichigo. Ichigo had tried to thank her, but she had stopped him, claiming that she had already been thanked. And Kon had learned that there was at least one person in this world who cared for him - who cared that he lived.

Kon fell, and he fell hard and fast. And he never regretted it.

Nee-san had really sad eyes. Eyes that spoke out about a sorrow that only she knew of. Even when she was happy, there was something always lying under the edge of her thoughts, something dark. And it refused to let her go. And when it was dark and the rain pounded on the roof, that darkness would completely take over Rukia's eyes. It was like she was living in a nightmare that she couldn't escape.

The closet was their own private little world, away from scary little girls with their crazy glue, away from stupid ugly Ichigo who was always trying to pick a fight with the beautiful Nee-san, and away from the other dangers of the vast world outside. It was there that they would sleep, and there that they would hide from the Ichigo's family. Nee-san would even let Kon snuggle with her when she went to sleep, and Kon felt like the luckiest man in the world, simply because Nee-san needed him. She needed him to fight away the monsters of the dark, the monsters that she herself couldn't face. He had lost count of the times she would whimper out foreign names that soon grew to be familiar. The most common name called out was "Kaien-dono", and Nee-san's voice was always filled with fear whenever she called out that name. "Kaien-dono" was someone who had hurt Nee-san, Kon was sure of it. If he weren't so against killing, he would have been very tempted to murder this "Kaien-dono" forever daring to hurt his Nee-san.

But Kon wasn't a killer, so instead he worked on making Nee-san laugh. He wanted to make her laugh so hard that the sadness in her eyes would completely fade away. Ichigo had that same feeling, except all Ichigo ever did was get Nee-san so angry that she would scream herself blue in the face. It was an unspoken truce between the two men. Make her forget. Give her new memories to take away the bad.

Kon would ramble on about women such as Orihime with their wonderful valleys of the Gods. Ichigo would insult her drawings. Kon would complain about Ichigo's awful looks. Ichigo would make fun of her height. Kon would make plans for the day that he and Nee-san ran away to Hawaii and lived out the rest of their days on the beach. Ichigo would brag about his Soul Reaper skills.

And sometimes, for just a small moment, Rukia would lose that sad look in her eyes and she would laugh and she wouldn't stop laughing. She would laugh so hard that she would complain of sore ribs afterward, and Ichigo (while sporting a black eye, or other such injuries) would watch her with something like amazement. And Kon knew that at those times, Ichigo was seeing the Rukia the same way Kon saw her - someone who was the most beautiful person in the world when she was happy.

To Kon, those two months were paradise.

And then Rukia was taken. He didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. She was taken by Soul Society and as he later learned was doomed to die because she had saved Ichigo, had saved Ichigo's family, had saved him. Ichigo came home, covered with bandages, and with no Rukia. That first night, neither of them slept. They sat in the dark, staring at the open closet door completely aware of the fact that she was gone.

"She was crying."

They were the only words that Ichigo spoke that night. He had taken one of her blankets from the closet and was just holding it in his hands, staring down at it.

"Then, you had better get her back so that we can cheer her up."

And Ichigo left home several days later and Kon took his body and became "Ichigo". During the day he was fine, but when night came, just like Nee-san, Kon couldn't escape his demons. In his dreams, all he would see was Nee-san having the life chocked out of her by the scientists of the Twelfth Division. Sometimes she would be burned, other times frozen, and sometimes she would be chopped into tiny pieces. He would take her blanket then and breathe in her scent. It had a calming affect on him.

When Ichigo did come home, it was without Nee-san. She wanted to stay in Soul Society was all Ichigo said as he slumped down on his bed and turned on his side to better stare at the wall. Kon didn't understand it. Why wouldn't she come home? Why would she stay with the bastards who tried to kill her? Nee-san was a Soul Reaper, she belonged with Soul Reapers, or so logic said. But Nee-san was so much more than a Soul Reaper. So much more.

Nee-san finally did return. She greeted him with a kick to the face and he had almost died of bliss. Only his Nee-san could say, "I love you too" with a kick to the face. Judging from Ichigo's bruised cheeks and bleeding nose, he had had a similar welcome. She was back, right where she belonged with them.

Through a strange and bizarre turn of events, Nee-san ended up becoming part of the Kurosaki household. Isshin and the twins absolutely loved her and Kon was back sleeping in her arms each night. Of course, he had to be back in Yuzu's bed before the little girl woke up, but he was willing to work with the situation. And Nee-san didn't have as many nightmares anymore. But when she did, they were even more horrible than before. This time she would whimper out Ichigo's name (usually followed by "fool", "bastard", and "go home") and she would start shaking uncontrollably.

But even that wasn't as bad as it was now.

Orihime had been kidnapped by the Arrancar. Kon didn't know that much about this new enemy besides the one fact that they were led by a former Soul Reaper, the Soul Reaper who had tried to kill Nee-san. And Ichigo had gone off with that pansy of a seamstress and that horrible giant who loved to prey on cute, innocent little stuffed lions, to rescue her. Nee-san had been taken back to Soul Society in order to stop her from going to the world of Hollows. And Kon was glad. Better for Nee-san to stay as far away from anything that could hurt her even more.

And so it was a surprise when Ichigo came back with not Orihime but a bleeding Nee-san in his arms. Nee-san was barely even breathing and there was a broken blade stuck in her thin little body. They had had to call in the Captain of the Fourth Division in order to heal her. Nee-san hadn't made any noise as they had pulled the blade out of her. It was only when they turned off the light to allow her some rest that she began screaming. She had fired a powerful kidou blast through the roof of Urahara's shop in her panicked attempt to get some light into the room.

Nee-san was home with them now. She detested the shadows and had started sleeping in the clinic with the light on. Ichigo hardly ever left her side now and he was always watching her. Rukia killed an Espada with her Shikai, he stated. The dead look in her eyes was overpowering now. Nee-san looked like she wanted to laugh but had forgotten how. She had more nightmares now, and had screamed out the name: "Kaien-dono" more than once.

The whole family and all of Rukia's friends had now fallen to the task of destroying the unhappiness in her eyes. And slowly, she was starting to heal. She still refused to talk about what happened, and she still had nightmares, but she was healing. She was stubborn. She would heal no matter how long it would take. Nothing could keep Rukia Kuchiki down for long.

Kon could see it as clearly as he could see the way that Ichigo looked at her when he thought no one else was watching.

He and Ichigo really were two fools in love. But it was Rukia, so maybe they weren't really fools after all.