Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.

Deception One: Gifts

Rated: G

Word Count: 460

Gin found a certain satisfaction in catching Miss Kuchiki off guard.

They weren't too far apart in age difference, or in childhood memories: both grew up in the grimy riff-raff of society. However, while Gin was always cheerful and polite (or so it seemed), Rukia was brisk and solemn. A smile hardly ever grazed her pale, almost-androgynous face.

Gin decided to change that behind the scenes.

Every so often over her first years in Squad 13, a box of truffles would find itself on Miss Kuchiki's desk, tied with a silver ribbon and placed in a black box. Gin would smile broadly when he saw her walking around with the box under her arm, occasionally finding Renji and sharing some with him. Her smile was soft, barely noticeable, but there.

Then, books would arrive on Fridays—fairy tales, mostly, from the World of the Living, but glossy and new. They ranged beyond just fairy tales at times, to include a few horror tales, romance, drama, mystery—different sets of books on different Fridays. Gin would hear the pages of the books whispering as she turned them long into the night, sometimes chuckling to herself quietly, other times even gasping softly as some plot point was revealed.

And Gin would grin wider than ever and fall asleep to those innocent sounds.

Of course, Gin would also encounter Miss Kuchiki in the halls, and would have pleasant conversation with her. He would enquire about the book she held under her arm, she would say that it was a very good book about (pick one) A detective trying to catch a killer, space aliens dominating the Earth, or two young lovers torn away by war. They would talk a bit about the story, whether it was good, etc., and Miss Kuchiki could bow politely (if a little forced) and exited stage right.

But Gin saw that the smile that had once been non-existent was growing wider, more real.

And that was exactly what he wanted.

Two years later, the truffles and books stopped coming. Gin delighted in watching Miss Kuchiki wait patiently for the gifts that would never come, and grow more and more bewildered and depressed. Finally, the delicate marble statue that was Rukia was showing emotion. She went about her business, gave a forced polite hello to Gin, and still managed to smile just a little. But Gin could tell that he was winning.

Suddenly the gifts returned, as though the gift-giver had simply needed to replenish his funds (which was partially true). Miss Kuchiki was able to smile again. Whenever she had the chance, she would find Renji and they would read together under a tree until duty called.

These pleasant scenes were almost as cavity inducing as the truffles.