I didn't know whether to post this cause I always thought there was just something a bit off with the ending, but see, I relented. This is a future fic, where Ichigo and Rukia are MARRIED (squeals randomly) and yes, Byakuya has requested their presence. Enjoy. It's crack, by the way.
Spoilers: Everywhere. Majorly for the Soul Society arc, so yep.
A Brother's Request
Rukia straightened her hakama for the hundredth time, wondering what on Soul Society had Byakuya Nii-sama requested her sole audience for. Were her sandals on the right feet? Were there any suggestive love-bites or swollen lips? Nope, all was neat and tidy as usual.
So many things to worry about in ten minutes, Rukia thought.
Ichigo sulked somewhere beside her, occasionally looking up to see if Rukia had suffered a heart attack. That bastard Byakuya, what the hell was he up to this time? There was absolutely nothing that Rukia had done wrong, and if it was Ichigo himself who had done something that the scarf wearing asshole disapproved of, he would confront Ichigo himself, no doubt about that.
He furrowed his brows, thinking. The marriage in Soul Society had gone fine without any flukes of any sort of nature. The sake was of top-notch quality, the food was exquisite (Yuzu's credit), their wedding attire had been intricately, painstakingly and meticulously spotless, for god's sake.
And if Ichigo's own opinion was to be asked, the wedding night had gone without any flukes as well, thank you very much.
What, he just remembered that he didn't want Kurosaki Ichigo to bang his little sister anymore?
They were bound for the Living World in two days. Anyway, why did Byakuya want to see Rukia alone? To bid his little sister farewell, maybe give her a hug in private, as his tender side wasn't to be revealed in public?
To give an informal goodbye was so not Byakuya, that tradition-following fancy pansy stooge.
Ichigo looked up at Rukia. She was extremely fidgety all right, and he reached forward to put a hand on her shoulder.
She jumped, not surprisingly, and looked around, eyes wide and lips tense, so much so that she appeared constipated.
"Relax a little."
Rukia stared at him for a while more, before moving forward to put her arms around his shoulders, for security in his embrace. Ichigo patted her back consolingly, thanking whoever arranged such things that Yuzu and Karin were nice sixteen year old girls.
"We didn't do anything wrong, right?"
"Nope. Not a damn thing."
"D'you think he's mad at me? Or you?"
Ichigo pulled away and kissed her, a slow, reassuring one. Rukia sighed, her shoulders relaxed, tension seeping away slowly.
"I really, really don't have a clue. Just…take it the best you can if he throws anything at you."
Rukia's eyes widened in indignation.
"Ichigo, Nii-sama doesn't throw things!"
He, in spite of his worry for her worrisome state, let out an exasperated puff of air.
"I didn't mean it like that, I-"
A servant in a light blue kimono peered at the couple from the bamboo door in the corner of the room. She was addressed as Rin, and she'd been living with and serving the Kuchikis for many years. Rukia-sama was seated in the middle of the room, looking very healthy indeed.
The orange haired boy, who didn't look any older than fifteen, had his hand on Rukia-sama's shoulder, the wedding band on his ring finger obvious enough for Rin to see. It was rumoured among the servants that the boy that Kuchiki-sama adopted - Rin cancelled out the word mentally.
Kuchiki-sama had made it known that Rukia-sama wasn't adopted a while ago, but she was actually the sister of his late wife and Rin's late mistress, Hisana-sama. Rin hadn't been very surprised when the truth came rolling out of the tongues of the other eager household gossips, actually. Rukia-sama looked so much like Hisana-sama, that it was believable and, almost, expected.
Where was her train of thought again? Oh yes, Rukia-sama's husband.
He was rumoured to have been one of the five or four human Ryoka that had broken into Soul Society, somehow, to save Rukia-sama herself three years back. And he, Kurosaki Ichigo, had defeated one of the best men in the eleventh division, Kuchiki-sama's vice captain, the eleventh division captain and Kuchiki-sama himself. And Kurosaki Ichigo had achieved bankai even if he was merely a human.
That was the work of a prodigy, and Rin was honored to be in his presence.
Rin could feel wafts of his reiatsu in the room, and she could tell that he was very, very strong. Orange hair? Her thoughts wandered. Was it dyed? And his zanpakuto was so big-
"Rin? Is that you?"
She jumped. She had been discovered, and she groveled, cheeks pink with embarrassment.
"Rukia-sama, my deepest apolo-"
Rukia-sama waved her misdeeds away with a hand, and the boy straightened up, his brows furrowing even more.
"Did Byakuya Nii-sama send you?"
Rin bowed her head respectfully, feeling the satisfaction of her head touching the bamboo mats, the satisfaction of serving such admirable and strong people.
"Yes, Rukia-sama. Byakuya-sama requests you in his quarters."
She raised her head, and couldn't help glancing at Kurosaki-sama.
Rukia-sama sighed and got up, and Kurosaki-sama released her hand. They had been holding hands all along? Rin promised herself to keep that secret. Even if they were married, the other servants would, with no doubt, spread this piece of news like wildfire.
"Ichigo. I'll be okay."
Kurosaki-sama nodded, but he stood up, too.
Rin bowed her head in his direction, and turned to her mistress.
"Rukia-sama, I'll bring you to Byakuya-sama's quarters."
Rukia-sama turned back to look at the boy in the room sent him a brief but majorly confident smile. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his hakama, and nodded once again.
Rin held out an arm, her head bowed respectfully once more.
"This way, Rukia-sama."
The servant, Rin, pushed open sliding bamboo doors of Nii-sama's study, and Rukia stepped into the room, her socked feet landing with little thuds on the floor.
Byakuya Nii-sama looked up from his writing, and looked straight at her. Not through her, like before, but at her. Like she was being put through the funny machine in the Kurosaki clinic that let other people see your bones.
She knelt down on the waiting pillow, and bowed her head respectfully.
"You requested my audience, Byakuya Nii-sama."
He put his brush down and made a graceful gesture with his right hand that Rukia, in her younger years of awe and idolization, had failed to copy despite many tries in front of the privacy of the bathroom mirror.
"Sit with me, Rukia."
Rukia obeyed, feeling useless and clumsy as she made her way (lumbered, like an elephant, she thought) to the seat opposite Nii-sama.
He poured a cup of tea for himself and her with flourish, and took a dainty sip. The inside of Rukia's mouth was very dry, but she didn't dare reach for the cup of tea.
"Do not look so worried, Rukia."
MOST UNDIGNIFIED, RUKIA!!!
"You seem to be under the impression that I have requested your audience for the sole purpose of reprimanding you. Is that true?"
Rukia bowed her head, her hands fiddling with her obi.
He shut his eyes for a second, and opened them again.
"You need not be worried, Rukia. There is no reprimand in this meeting."
Rukia let out a breath that she had been holding in, and Nii-sama pretended not to notice.
"I must commend you first, Rukia, for the way the wedding was handled. You can send your husband my thanks for his well appreciated cooperation."
"Thank you, Nii-sama."
"You will be making your way to the Kurosaki residences in the Living World in two days, is that correct? Be sure to remember that the servants are at your disposal to bring your every possession to your new home."
He said 'human world' with a hint of concealed distaste, and Rukia knew that he wasn't very reassured with the idea of his sister staying in foreign land.
"Yes, Nii-sama. Ichigo's father, Kurosaki Isshin, used to be a captain here. He should be able to look out for us well, Nii-sama. I will be all right."
He looked at her again, and there was a flash of something in his eyes that she couldn't place.
"Kurosaki Isshin? Yes, I knew that man. Though sometimes…inappropriate, he is trustworthy."
"He's quite funny sometimes, Nii-sama."
Rukia was glad that her relationship with her brother had lost a little of its aridity and detachment. Maybe it was the burden of his promise to her sister that had made him so cold, but it didn't really matter what it really was.
Nii-sama was better now, and she liked him that way. Plus, she was glad that he hadn't brought her here to reprimand her for anything.
He pondered for a while, his cool gaze resting on her.
"If you find that you are not…satisfied with your happiness, the House of Kuchiki will not abandon you, is that understood?"
Rukia looked up at him, grateful. Very, very grateful and very relieved that he didn't call her here to admonish her.
"Yes! Thank you, Nii-sama. I am very grateful."
He studied her, and the feeling of her bones being presented for everyone to see came again.
"Rukia, I have a favour to ask of you when you are in the Living World."
Rukia blinked. Now this was new. She picked up the slowly cooling teacup in front of her to hide her confusion and curiousity.
"I would like you to…"
Rukia dropped the teacup.
Ichigo had completed his two hundred and eighty second pace around the room when Rukia returned, escorted by the servant girl.
She appeared to be unharmed and unhurt, both emotionally and physically, but her cheeks were very, very pink.
He rushed towards her, nodding quick thanks and a hurried dismissal to the servant girl.
"Rukia, what did he say?"
She held out a hesitant hand to him. Her eyes seemed glazed over.
That bastard…if he said anything bad, I'll kill him. Even if he IS now my brother in law, I will kill him. I'll moon-fang him and to HELL with his goddamn Senbonzakura, I'll cut through that and ki-
"Let me sit down first, Ichigo."
He lowered Rukia onto one of the bamboo cushions, and she crossed her legs and placed an elbow on each of them.
"What did he want?"
His tone was rough, and she looked up at him, the pink flush ebbing away.
"He didn't say anything bad, Ichigo. It's just that…he had a favour to ask of me, and it was rather sudden, so…"
Ichigo was confused.
"So…Byakuya, in essence, didn't do anything. So…I don't need to kill him?"
Rukia shook her head.
"No. And don't look so disappointed. Okay, er, he said that he was glad the wedding went well, and he wanted me to send his thanks to you."
Ichigo was surprised. Very surprised. So surprised that he had absolutely nothing to say except a vague sound that could be spelt as 'huh'.
"And he made inquiries about where we would be staying, and he seemed to be very much assured."
Now Ichigo had gotten over his surprised state and was back to being confused. He scratched his head.
"So, uh, what was Byakuya's request? You're building up some good tension here, really."
Rukia bit her lip and beckoned Ichigo closer.
"He wanted me to buy something back for him from the Living World."
Ichigo shrugged. So that was it?
"From Urahara's, right?"
She shook her head vehemently, as though she was speaking of the forbidden.
"So…what did he want you to buy, Rukia?!"
She gritted her teeth, and revealed it in a mortified whisper.
"He wanted me to buy the shampoo that Inoue-san uses."
Ichigo leapt back at least two meters.
Rukia grabbed his shoulders and made him sit down, clamping a hand over his mouth.
"Shh! Do you want him to hear you? If Nii-sama found out I told you…"
Ichigo realized that Nii-sama would unleash a hell lot of wrath if he found out what Rukia had revealed.
Blackmail worthy stuff indeed.
"So, uh, we're getting this stuff for the guy?"
"…I suppose so. It's not a lot to ask for, right?"
Ichigo's shoulders slumped.
We'd better give him ten whole fucking boxes.
HEEHEE. I couldn't resist. I was reading chapter 300 of the manga, and I saw I think slide 16. And Byakuya's hair looked so soft and shiny, thus this fic was spawned. Review kthx, and tell me what you guys were expecting. :D