Different effects

Just Rukia musing about the three important guys in her life. Plus a lil Byakuya/Rukia moment.

Japanese words :

Nii-sama – older brother

Taichou – captain

Nakama – comrade/companion

Gikongan – Artificial Spirit Pill

It's strange…

Rukia mused to herself as she stood silently, a few inches away from the three bickering men in front of her, well, two of them at least. The other male just stood silently, ignoring the crude behavior of the other two with an expressionless face. It was befitting of Nii-sama's personality anyway as Rukia noted with an amused look. Although the loud yelling and the non-stop tongue lashing between Ichigo and Renji suits their personality as well. She massaged her slightly throbbing temple with a sigh. Don't they know better than to act so…"lowly" in front of Nii-sama… Besides, there's nothing to argue about anyway. Nii-sama's judgment has always been right… Well, to her anyway…

"If the two of you have nothing better to say than you should not have said anything at all in the first place…" Rukia's eyes darted back to the slightly annoyed captain as he spoke, using his usual deep voice.

Her eyes then widen in surprised when his eyes found hers, "Come, Rukia," he turned to make his leave, knowing that she would follow him.

"H-hait, Nii-sama!" it took her a few seconds to recollect herself from his steady gaze.

"B-but, Taichou!!" her eyes shifted to the rattled red-haired Shinigami who tried to stall his own captain.

Renji…

Her trusted Nakama since her days in Rukongai. In the beginning, she had always thought that they would always be together until the end. Inseparable. However, their budding relationship had been obstructed greatly thanks to her adoption by the Kuchiki. And not once did she try to forget about him. She was glad that she never did. Who would have thought that after how many years of limited awkward and stifled confrontations between the two of them, he had suddenly risk his life just to save hers. Meaning in those past years, he too still clings to whatever is left of their friendship. Their actions, though from the outside seemed rude and impolite to one another had always mirrored how natural their relationship is. A relationship that she would never dreamt to end. And what has become of their friendship now? He's still her Nakama, her best friend. But lately, she has always thought of him as the occasionally annoying older brother, who likes to criticize and bullies the little sister (who in the end bullies the older brother back). An important person in her life none the less, Rukia thought with a fond smile.

"Renji's right!! We're not done yet, Byakuya!!" another shout caught Rukia's attention. Her eyes drifted to the usual scowling face of…

Ichigo…

Her relationship with Ichigo has always seemed mysterious to her. Mysterious, since the two of them had been able to create an unbreakable bond between them in such a short period of time. Not just their bond, but their unwavering trust as well. She had always known about her inability to make a strong and solid friendship with anyone so she was quite surprised that she could build a strong friendship between a living human who is only fifteen years old. He was one of those few people that she can easily and most importantly naturally get along with, just like Renji (plus his attitude is about the same with Mr. Weird Eyebrows…). Perhaps their special bond was created and molded due to their cooperation and teamwork as partners in exterminating Hollows…or perhaps it is because of his similarities with Kaien-dono… Rukia shook her head subconsciously. No. Ichigo would always be Ichigo. Thinking like that would be an insult to him, not to mention to Kaien-dono… Never the less, Ichigo's name had popped itself inside her limited best friend list, not to mention he had become one of her most trusted Nakama. How could he not be since he had risk his life so many times to rescue her and personally tried to keep her away from any danger (even though playing the damsel in distress part was mortifying for her…). So similar to Renji. Rukia grinned. Yep, this particular human had become another one of her important people in her life.

How close I am with the two of them…

The two people who she trusted and depended with her life.

"Hei, Byakuya! Are you listening to me!" Ichigo continued shouting.

But Nii-sama did not make any motion to stop. The only respond that the substitute shinigami got was the flapping sound of Byakuya's scarf. Ichigo's eyes twitched.

"HEI!!"

"Rukia…" Hearing Nii-sama's subtle command, the petite shinigami quickly let out a hurried "later" to her comrades before…

"Oh no! Missy!!"

Ichigo had swiftly grabbed her left arm, stopping her from leaving. Though he had managed to do it gently yet securely.

"I said we're not finish yet, didn't I?" his scowl deepened but he wasn't looking at her. His eyes were still fixated at the moving captain, "Byakuya! Your lil sis is not going anywhere until we settle this!!"

Rukia let out a frustrated sigh. What was Ichigo thinking? It's not like Nii-sama would stop just because she wasn't following him anymore… Besides, if that strawberry thinks he can just do whatever he pleases with her he's so wro-…

Byakuya stopped walking.

"That's better," Ichigo smirked, finally letting go off her arm.

Rukia pulled her arm away slowly, thoughts of inflicting pain to her orange haired best friend disappeared, her eyes glued to the captain's back. She didn't think he would have actually stopped.

Byakuya Nii-sama…

As she finished her thought, Byakuya gracefully turned back around.

And she softly gasped. His eyes had landed on hers for the second time. And for the second time she had the same trouble of recollecting herself from his gaze. There was no disgust or anything negative emitting from his eyes. In fact, his gaze had always been so unreadable to her that she could only manage to pick up instances of unknown emotions that flicker in his dark eyes but nothing else. But whenever his eyes would meet hers, she would always feel so…so…

Scared?

No. Eventhough his stares were still unnerving for her to take sometimes, Byakuya's presence has been growing less and less intimidating to her as time flew by. Unless of course, he wanted his presence to be intimidating…But that is another matter all together! And sometimes, just like Ichigo, she could even draw out the strength she needed just from his presence. No, not just strength, but peace and tranquility of the mind that she always needed, just like she did back then when her resolve had wavered during her execution at the Soukyoku Hill.

Lowly?

Perhaps. Deep in her heart, she always feels that whatever she did or accomplish were never up to the standards of the rule-bounded Kuchiki family. Rukia shook her head. No, pleasing her adopted family was never that important to her. To her, everything only matters when Byakuya himself acknowledge her success. Acknowledge her. Only by him.

Weird then?

…even she herself can't explain this one…

Her thoughts were disrupted when she saw him slowly and silently making his way back to the group, making the knowing smirk on Ichigo's face even wider as both men stared at each other. Though Renji looked as if he was at loss for word.

Then he stopped just in front of her.

Her heartbeat rate increases. Her sight glued to his black shinigami robe, didn't dare to venture higher. Why did he stop in front of her? Was he displeased with her action?

How far it seems I am from him…

Then his right hand twitched slightly.

"So, you changed you're mind, Taichou?" Renji asked finally, eyes slightly narrowed than before.

Byakuya remained quiet.

"Heh!" Ichigo let out an arrogant scoff, his smirk still plastered on his face, "Now, as I was saying-,"

How different the two of them are from him…

Ichigo's voice suddenly dissipated from her hearing range when she felt warmth covering her left hand. Instinctly, she laced her fingers with his long ones as heat rushed up to her face. At that moment, she couldn't help but notice the warmth that was radiating from his presence in front of her.

And yet, how only he can affect me like this…

Ichigo didn't notice as he continued on with his ranting but Renji's eyes widen tremendously, "T-Taichou…?" he gawked at Byakuya's small action.

Rukia suddenly found it difficult to breathe in a normal pace as all her senses were focused at their intertwined hands. Her face grew hot, not to mention getting even redder, "…N-Nii…" Nii-sama had never shown any public display of affection to her before. Even when both of them were at the Kuchiki Mansion, their home, there would always be an invincible wall between them. A wall that she had always wanted to break, through her achievements and success. Even though, during some of their interaction, the wall would crack a bit, then he would falter, and she would hope… Just for something like this.

Rukia unconsciously rubbed her thumb against his skin.

Affectionate gestures that she had longed to receive from him. A sign of acknowledgement and acceptance…

She could feel him squeezing her hand slightly or maybe it was only her over imaginative mind. Well, whatever it is, it's really getting an effect from her.

"Come, Rukia," his tone was commanding and at the same time soft to her ears.

He carefully pulled her along with him. His touch felt strong and at the same time comforting.

Rukia let her legs walked on their own since her mind was still clouded with shock and disbelief, moving in pace with him beside her.

As the two of them ignored the continuous yelling and objections from the other two men, and as the two of them walked together, hand-in-hand, towards their home, Rukia secretly glanced at the man beside her, curious to his reaction. Though their hands were still a primary focus for her.

"Do you wish to say something, Rukia?" once again he caught her off guard.

Surprised, she tried to cast her gaze away but his eyes hold hers steady, "I…uhh…" Dammit! Why is she always like this when she's with him? Only then did she lower her gaze in defeat until she saw their clasped hands.

His hand is still warm.

Her eyes focused at the sight. Her mind, her senses and her touch, everything tells her that this is real, that this is no longer a fantasy that she had long longed for. And she locked eyes with his once again, this time with resolve, "No, Nii-sama," she ended with a smile.

She squeezed his hand softly.

Emotions flickered in his eyes before his gaze returned to the path in front of them.

And even though he didn't copy her smile, her lips curved even wider when he squeezed her hands back with equal tenderness.

Eventhough the two of them can't express themselves in words, their actions can speak even louder than the words itself. And that is all that matters…

The two of them watched in silence as the retreating figures gradually disappeared from their sight.

"Well, that went well!" Renji remarked, suddenly feeling very angry as he gave an accusing stare at the shinigami beside him.

"Hei! It's not my fault that Byakuya suddenly went all…body language at her!!" Ichigo retorted back with the same heat.

Both went quiet for a while…

"Seriously," Renji let out sigh, "The issue earlier wasn't even settled yet…" he scratched his head in frustration.

Ichigo punched one hand into the other, "If that bastard thinks that his ungodly, creepy seaweed ambassador (refer to the Bleach in Beach manga) creation is going to become the new brand for the Gikongan, then he's got another thing coming for him!!!" he shouted to the world.

"…seaweed ambassador…" Renji muttered to himself.

"I mean, geez! Chappy is bad enough with all the 'pyon pyon' crap coming out of it's mouth…! I can't imagine what the seaweed will say…"

"…probably, 'brat brat' or something close to that…"

"…"

"It SO must not happen!!"

END

Author's Note :

Wow, the ending was crack…

For those who haven't read the 4 page Bleach in Beach manga, it's about the Shinigami gang having a sand sculpture contest at the beach. Inoue and Rangiku tried to create something using erotic method… Ichigo, Renji and Ikkaku created a sand castle which was destroyed thanks to Yachiru. While Rukia and Byakuya created their own sand sculptures. Rukia with her Chappy sculpture. Byakuya with his Seaweed Ambassador sculpture. I like Rukia's expression when she saw his work. Her vision of Nii-sama went all sparkly-sparkly! And now you know the existence of the almighty Seaweed!

Comments and reviews are very much appreciated!