Disclaimer: Last time I checked, Bleach was still centered heavily on Inoue. I dislike Orihime. Inference: I do not own Bleach. We love logic, don't we?

Written For: Chiremae, who challenged me to write a sort-of happy story between Gin and Rukia. Keep in mind that she never said the story had to be in reality. For more details and explanations of the story, refer to the Author's Note at the very end of this story.

Powered By: Melitza and her wonderful "ginger tinted bright". It's a must read, and I don't recommend stories unless I think they're absolutely stellar.

Summary: Gin. Rukia. One moment suspended in time. One impossible delusion. One brutal truth of reality. "And what if I said I could save you right now?"

Perchance to Dream
-She will never open her eyes again in this world-

They find her in the aftermath of a battle, half crushed underneath the foundation of a building and barely breathing.

She is bleeding from a severe head wound and the nurses say in monotone voices that she will die. Grimmjow sneers and kicks her body in disdain and vulgar pleasure. She neither stirs nor makes a sound. They want to leave her in the ruins of Karakura Town, where the princess of Soul Society can rest in the remainders of all that she has failed to protect. But Aizen tells them with a casual air to bring the girl back to Hueco Mundo, for there is always the slight chance that she will wake up.

But the days drag by and time counts the hours with steady indifference. She stays alive through Aizen's preparations, but her eyes do not see and her body does not move. She becomes old news in Hueco Mundo, a boring, rotting vegetable of a person. But for all her lifelessness in her new home, she never fails to bring one visitor to her side.

Sometimes he stays for a couple minutes, other times, a couple hours. The chair is worn in from his constant presence. He sometimes stares at her with that smile on his face and triumphant laughter in his serpentine eyes. Other times, he talks to her in that smooth and deceitful tone of his, spilling forth lies that enter her ears one way or another. Whether she hears them or not, he could care less. But he enjoys retelling the story of her near brush with execution. He lingers on the part where they talked and where he crushed her spirit in one devastating blow. The words always bring a brighter smile to his face.

She listens patiently, with a beating heart, a working mind, and a pair of eternally closed amethyst eyes.

He sometimes wonders why she doesn't wake up.

He can't begin to comprehend why.

She wraps her hand securely around his arm, smiling back at him with a pair of twinkling, violet eyes. "You came late today, Gin!" She admonishes with a happy, thoughtful expression on her open and brightly lit face. The clouds float above the two of them, a sea of blue dominated by wisps and trails of fluffy white. She imagines they must all be rabbit shaped and clutches tighter at her boyfriend's sleeve. "Where are you taking me?"

He turns his head down to look at her, a strange smile (so strange to others, but invisible in its insincerity to her) flitting briefly across his pale features. She does not think him to be handsome like her orange-haired neighbor, Ichigo or her stern but kind boss, Byakuya. She does not think to consider such terms as attractiveness of features at all. He is Gin and he is always by her side—she does not wonder to question more. She doesn't think to question the perpetually sunny weather or the lack of murder and despair that normally permeates reality. A part of her mind sometimes brings back memories of conversations she's never had before, and sometimes, Ichigo or Byakuya will ask her an odd question quite unbefitting of them. But that too, she disregards. "Saaa…who knows, Kuchiki? It'll be a surprise. Just trust me."

"And what if I said I could save you right now?"

"You wouldn't. You can't."

"I can. Ah, release her."

She winces at the sharp flare of pain suddenly ripping through her skull and for a moment, the sky is no longer blue but white—endlessly white, and the smile on Gin's face isn't comforting but terrifying. The words reverberate through her head, nonexistent but powerful and present only to her. Her hand slips from its grip on Gin's sleeve and she stares blankly at the never-ending meadow stretched out before her. "Eh? What's wrong?" He asks her, eyebrows furrowing in concern (and she believes he cares, believes it like a dying man believes in his own immortality).

"Is this real?" Her voice isn't happy, but morose and somber, pitched lower and carrying with it something of a trace of power and determination. "Are you real?" She must be going insane, she thinks and digs her nails into her head. She doesn't notice that she does not bleed as she should. But the pain passes soon enough and they are walking through a meadow, arm-in-arm like young lovers, as the bunny-shaped clouds float serenely above them. Time rewinds itself, erasing mistakes and mishaps like a wrong piece of code stuck in a machine. Of course she doesn't realize that she has been in this meadow for her entire life, or that Gin merely appeared one day as her lover—as a fabrication and a lie.

"Is that Ichigo?" He asks, pointing a thin finger towards a distant figure standing casually on the grass, hands sunk deep into jean pockets. She squints and nods in confirmation, waving in a broad gesture for him to come over and join them. She notices after a while that though her neighbor seems to be walking towards them, he is neither coming closer nor retreating further away from them. How strange, she muses and shrugs her shoulder in complacent confusion.

"Oy, Ichigo! Walk faster!" She shouts, her voice echoing back to her and she frowns in displeasure at the eerie feeling stealing across her skin. Gin lays a reassuring hand on her head and she leans into his warmth, smiling softly and serenely. For a moment, she forgets all about Ichigo and his plight to always reach for her in this dream, but never to even so much as be able to hold her. Ichigo, the boy cursed to forever push the rock of his love's passion up an impossible hill, the boy whose spirit is crushed as that same rock plummets back down just to wound him evermore. But she doesn't know that, not in this strange setting of a nightmarish quality.

"Is he really who you want him to be?" Byakuya's voice is soft over the nape of her neck, the words sending shocks of electricity up and down her body. She shivers and barely manages to turn around and look at him, feeling Gin's hold on her loosen so as to nearly become invisible. "Take a closer look at his face, Rukia and tell me if this is the man who you would die for. Tell me."

She gazes back at her boss in curiosity and trepidation. The world behind her blurs, the green of the meadows smearing messily into the blue and white of the sky. She looks back at where she knows Gin is, ever there in her dreams and in her waking moments (but just how awake is she in this reality that is but a dream of reality?) She sees nothing but an indistinct combination of tan skin and a pair of shining, flickering eyes. Blurred. The image changes to one of orange hair and burning amber eyes, then to an identical replica of the austere and noble man behind her. Denial kisses her lips and seals her eyes shut.

Something is slithering around her, wrapping her tightly in its deadly grasp. A flash of narrow eyes that smile when there is no amusement to be found, a hand leading her away from the stifling darkness. Can't breathe. A tiny wisp of hope, blown out of her heart as easily as evil was unleashed from Pandora's box. And still those eyes smiling, smiling. A bitter hatred. Consumption of the worst kind, taking root in her.

Blood splashing everywhere, guilt, and those eyes—always smiling even as the mouth pulls into a soft frown. Can't die. Not yet. Fire and burning buildings, a wave of nauseating pain dragging her down. Screams. Chaos. Nothing.

"You didn't think I'd actually save you, did you?"

Silence. A festering wound torn asunder and it feels like a thousand ants running up and down her arm, through her skin to infest and replicate in her blood.

"Oops, my bad. See ya."

Those goddamn eyes.

One day, he watches her shift soundlessly in the room, shifting halfway between the stuffy, ill silence and the recycled atmosphere. It's a simple movement of her arm that catches his eyes, just a little shift to the right, but she moves and his eyes gleam with excitement. He waits longer for something more, a greater indication of awareness. He waits for the cold silence of monotony to shatter. Her lips move, murmuring in a voice less substantial than the oxygen he breathes. He leans closer and closer, his senses on alert for her first words—consciously said or not.

"Won't…save…" She mumbles deliriously and he pulls back with the tiniest of frowns decorating his face. She says no more and he is left to sit by her side, twisting and turning her only words of two years gone past.

He wonders what it could mean.

She's not sure how she's here, standing before a shimmering altar with a veil covering her face and bouquet of flowers in her hands. There's a strange anticipation in her heart, fluttering madly for release; it is not that happiness it should be. The smiles on her guests' faces are strangely plastered on and insincere, like a child's attempt to glue a smile from a modeling magazine onto a picture of their mother. She doesn't like the strange feeling—the heavy sadness that permeates her blood and swims like a virus. For a moment, she wonders why she's here at all and why everything seems so surreal.

But there's no time to think about such things and delusions are only strong if they can last. Hers flicker like shadows in the face of the burning sun, but night always falls and rouses them. In the end, she will always be a victim of her own flaws and weaknesses. So it is that inevitably, her mouth curls up sweetly into a blossoming expression, and her love is falsely real as she gazes at her husband-to-be. Gin's face is excited and brimming with anticipation. She forces herself to reciprocate and soon forces her mind into thinking she's happy this way, happy here with him.

The priest coughs once awkwardly and she clutches the withering flowers tightly. She's happy, really. She's about to be married to love of her life. She's happy, happy, happy. She finds tears trickling down the sides of her face—a last regret of the part of her mind that knows the truth and the stark disillusioned picture of what is happening.

She's so happy, she could die.

"Do you, Kuchiki Rukia, agree to take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

She chokes, wonders what the sudden stabbing in her heart is saying, and watches as her vision blurs behind a curtain of tears.

Aizen comes in one day, patiently waiting in the same spot Gin has occupied for years now. He face is pleasant enough, kind hands pausing to pat the comatose Rukia gently on the head, but his tone is cold and cruel. "I trust you will be more than capable of disposing of her? I find her presence here of no longer use to me. Soul Society seems to have given her up for the vultures and the dead. My bargaining chip has expired and so the opportunity has come and gone. It's really a shame that she never woke up."

Gin looks a bit wistfully at the pale face, the black halo of fanned out hair, and the closed eyes of rich amethyst before nodding. "Whatever you say, I'll take care of it as soon as you leave."

Aizen's smile is almost fatherly as he turns to close the door behind him. "I always can count on you, Gin."

Gin's hands are warm and soothing as he steadies her and he whispers sweet nothings in her ears. She allows herself to be lulled into his security, to fall into his arms without caring for the consequences—dangerous as they will be. "We've wanted the for forever, ever since we first met. Just say yes, Rukia. And then we will have a beautiful life together." He says and she so, so wants to believe him.

The priest waits expectantly for her answer and she smiles, confidence brimming in her heart as she says the words that will prove to be her last in this coma delusion of hers.


He stands above her, Shinso in an unreleased state and brings it down on her heart, watching as the blood sprays over him completely. Her shallow, deathly breaths are cut short painfully and he lays a spindly hand on her forehead. He knows she can't hear him now, wherever she is, but he doesn't care. He never has cared before.

"Sa, Rukia-chan…maybe in the next life, we can play together some more?" He asks and laughs, twisting Shinso out of her now-limp body.

And even now, even now…

He smiles.

Author's Notes: For my confused readers, the last He Smiles line in bold means he smiles for both the wedding in Rukia's comatose delusion and in the last real scene, when he kills her. You'll find that you will have to reread this to really understand this. I didn't mean for this to be a very shallow piece, but to be more of one that reflects on human nature. I purposefully made Rukia's dreams in normal font and what was really going in italics to contrast with normal stories, where dreams are in italics and normal settings are in normal font. I wanted you guys to feel as though the dream she was having (in this case, a very dark, macabre nightmare) was more real than what was actually happening. Liked? Hated it? I wouldn't mind a couple comments. It's my first time doing something of this sort.