Diabolical Scheme, Take One

Byakuya had, as he had heard people say, a diabolical scheme. He pondered the phrase, and found it good. Not something he'd normally use, but it would probably seem accurate from the view of everyone else who heard of it. The truth was that he had grown frustrated with both his fruitless search for a suitable husband for Rukia and with the Kurosaki boy's seeming inability to get over his childish refusal to just propose and get it over with.

Of course, the fact that the one time he had made his own deluded attempt at sharing his feelings Rukia had slapped him so hard in the face that he went flying and hit the wall opposite probably didn't help, but Byakuya just couldn't seem to be able to place the blame on his much-maligned but much-beloved little sister.

It was all the Kurosaki boy's fault.

So Byakuya had concocted this scheme in order to force the boy into action. Either he would marry Rukia, or Byakuya would have an excuse to kill him. Byakuya actually rather hoped that the boy would be stupid enough to provide the latter, but he would settle for the former if it would ensure Rukia's happiness. And if he did kill the boy, he could call the whole thing off anyway because Rukia would surely be upset.

But for now, all he had to do was set things in motion. Everything should proceed normally from there...

He sat back and allowed himself a brief smile before calling Rukia in.

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"WHAT THE FUCK?"

That was all Renji managed to say before he apparently had a heart attack and toppled over backward. All that was visible of him were his feet and a lingering spray of sake in the air.

Tatsuki, who was there because Rukia had always liked her and regretted not being able to get to know her better during their time on earth together and because she liked playing drinking games with Renji, simply made a face and took another swig, her face unreadable in the bar's gloom. "That's the most freaking disturbing thing I've ever heard," she informed them all flatly. She considered this, and then added, "And I grew up with Chizuru."

Orihime had been silent through these reactions, and was ponderously waving her chopsticks around her head. Uryuu was forced to keep leaning away from her so as not to lose an eye. He looked disturbed as it was, but only adjusted his glasses and watched his wife warily out of the corner of his still-attached eyes. After a moment, said weapon of mass destruction came out with, "Eeeeeeew."

There was silence around the table, though Rukia imagined that she could hear Renji twitching on the ground, possibly in the throes of shock-induced death.

For her part, Rukia was blushing furiously, something she didn't often do. It was just so... it was such a strange thing to have to tell them.

"But isn't he your brother, Rukia-chan?" Orihime, always useful for breaking an uncomfortable silence.

Rukia shrugged ruefully. "Not really," she said, though in truth that thought had occured to her as well. "There's no blood relation. I am simply the sister of his former wife. As you know."

"But still, Rukia-chan..." Orihime shook her head, her glorious mane of golden-brown hair swinging around to smack poor, abused Uryuu in the face repeatedly. "It's a little... creepy that you're going to marry him."

There was a muffled choking sound from the vicinity of Renji's corpse at the word "marry."

"And what about Kurosaki-kun?"

Rukia grimaced. "What about him?" she asked. "It'll be a bit awkward convincing him that there's no good reason to throw a fit once he finds out, but... that's why I have you." She looked hopefully around the table. "I thought that perhaps you could all help me tell him, and then help me tie him to a tree until he calms down. I don't think he likes Nii-sa- I mean, Byakuya-sama- much." It felt so wrong calling him Byakuya-sama, but it would feel even more wrong marrying him while still thinking of him as Nii-sama.

There had been a group twitch at the moment of confusion, and Renji's feet slipped down sideways. Rukia wondered briefly if she really had killed him, and then dismissed his odd behavior as a combination of shock and Renji-ness.

Tatsuki surprised her then by laughing. "You're gonna have one helluva time doing that," she said. "If I know Ichigo, he's gonna try to kill 'im."

"That is precisely the problem," Rukia said. "I don't want him to do anything stupid, but, well, it is Ichigo. Stupid is what he does."

There was general agreement, even from Renji, who showed his enthusiasm for this concept by trying to sit back up, and though all he managed to do was roll his feet back into view the point was recieved.

"So what are we going to do?" Orihime asked. She would have preferred to argue, but her mind was stuffed up by the sheer enormity of the horror she was experiencing. "Oh!" She brightened slightly as an idea occured to her. After all, if there was nothing she could say, she had to at least protect Kurosaki-kun. "You could write him a letter!"

"Oh, please," Tatsuki groaned, rolling her eyes. "A Dear John letter?"

Rukia gave her a blank stare. "Who's John?"

"Never mind."

"But Rukia-chan," Orihime cut in, "you really shouldn't do this. Kurosaki-kun will be so sad. And I don't think you want to-"

"There's nothing you can say," Rukia said. "It has been decided. But a letter may do the trick." She rose from the table, nodded curtly to them all, and jumped neatly over Renji's body on the way out. It wasn't until some time later that it occured to the remaining group that she had left them the bill.

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Some time later, Ichigo returned to his office to find Rukia mysteriously absent and, neatly centered on his desk, a note. Though usually he ignored paperwork, he had mental scarring from the one other time he had found a non-business related note- he could tell it wasn't business because Rukia had used her note paper rather than the special, expensive brand she insisted upon using for important documents- in Rukia's hand, and so he decided to read this one immediately.

Captain Kurosaki, -oh, shit, she was calling him Captain. This was bad.

I have left this note to inform you that I will be taking leave from work for several months in order to assist in the planning of my wedding. An invitation to the ceremony should arrive by butterfly in approximately six weeks, but I shall not be seeing you until the event, as I will be very busy and so will you. Sentarou and Kiyone have kindly agreed to cover my duties in my absence, and will contact me should there be any trouble.

Signed,

Vice-Captain Kuchiki Rukia

PS: As you may recieve inquiries, my groom to be is Byakuya-sama.

PPS: I have also asked Sentarou and Kiyone to restrain you.

When Ukitatke made his weekly visit to his old headquarters ten minutes later, he was shocked to find that all was left of his faithful third-seats was a groaning pile of singed goo.

((Okay, this is indeed a weird idea, but who ever said I was normal? Eh, the writing's not really up to my usual standards, but it's all I've got. As you may have guessed, this comes directly after Maid of Honor. xP And Diabolical Scheme, Take Two should be out soon.

Yours truly,

Silence.

By the way, in light of the most recent chapter...

Mayuri-san is a psycho stalker. Also, he is possibly a pedophile. That is all.))