A/N: Hey everyone, hope you enjoyed the holidays and New Year! Here's a new chapter to enjoy before I have to go back to working hard at school! Bleach is by Kubo. Warning: Some OOC with Rukia, because after what had happened, she doesn't want to be around Ichigo and is still angry- but she has to deal with him. Notes at the bottom for translations and other information.


Pray that You Always Understand Me

"But you purposely dropped it to get rid of it, right? Do you really want trash back?" He asked. She turned to him, anger in her eyes.

"This isn't stupid matters of 'Finders keepers', Ichigo! You have no right to look inside it or keep it if I request it back."

"Rukia, was this the reason you isolated yourself for months?" His voice surprised her. She couldn't speak, hearing what sounded like pain in his voice. He avoided her eyes, putting his attention on the letter.

She didn't hear him whisper it to himself. He finally looked up to meet her eyes and stared at her.

"I'll give you the love letter back in three months, make you get over it. I'll remain nakama or not." He told her. She could only stare at him in disbelief before glaring at him.

"What the hell do you mean get over it?! I was over it!" She punched him in his stomach, making him double over.

"B-bitch…" He grimaced.

"You're such an ass! Why are you even doing this, what makes you think I'll comply?" She challenged him.

"Comply?" He paused, and she could see him thinking up something. "I'll always be there, unless this letter gets into the hands of the people in school for some reason…" he murmured.

Fear stabbed her as the world faded to darkness; the last thing she saw was his face.

-

Rukia's eyes sprung open as she sat up quickly. It wasn't the Kurosaki residence; she wasn't in Ichigo's room anymore. She could feel her soft blanket under her hand, and her pale walls didn't hurt her eyes. She sighed in relief to see she was in the Kuchiki home, her room. She didn't see the boy anywhere, only her Chappy toys.

She wiped the perspiration from her forehead. Even though the dream wasn't dark with monsters like normal nightmares were, it still had induced her to a sweat. The dream really bothered her- it felt so real, like Ichigo really did have the letter. Rukia couldn't remember what had happened yesterday- she had a terrible feeling in her stomach that what was from her dream wasn't her imagination. She got out of her bed and stretched, yawning in the sunlight. She walked across to where the letter should be-where she hoped it still would be. She looked, and her heart stopped when it wasn't there. She scrambled, checking everywhere for the envelope, but it was nowhere in sight.

Her heart dropped, as she finally remembered everything from yesterday.

The letter…

Ichigo…

3 months…

Blackmail…

Ichigo had the letter. She didn't know why, he only threatened her of leaking it throughout the school. It seemed like a nightmare because it was unbelievable- Ichigo, one of her only friends. He acted so weird; it almost scared her at how out of character he acted.

Rukia stopped thinking about it when she saw the clock and realized she had to get ready for school. She hurried to get dressed and gather the school work she left sprawled out the night before, being preoccupied by what had happened an hour before. Once she was all ready, she opened her bedroom door and walked out into the large hallway, closing it behind her.

She walked down the wooden floor past several paintings relatives had bought for the family. Most paintings were of traditional tea houses of shrines in a serene landscape, wind blowing seen by the swaying wind chimes. Rukia would pass by these at least twice a day, the same never-changing scenery. The memory of the times Ichigo would comment about how stupid the paintings were popped into her mind, but quickly dissipated by her anger. She was furious at him; she said she wouldn't forgive him.

She walked down the stairs, seeing the servants and maids walking around the house busily. Her brother must have something important going on today, she thought.

Kuchiki Byakuya was the CEO of a large company of traditional garb with chain stores across Japan, after taking on the family business. Even though Rukia is under the family name, she and everyone else knew she wasn't an actual Kuchiki. She was adopted into the family by Byakuya, who had married her sister, Hisana.

Rukia lived in an orphanage for most of her childhood up until she turned 13 years old. She had come back from the low public school that the orphans attended to find an expensive-looking car right outside. When she walked into the orphanage, one of the caretakers ran up to her, and dragged her to one of the offices that held orphan files and where people who were interested in adopting to meet an orphan. The first thing she noticed in the room she had been few times before were two large men.

They both wore professional suits that looked rather expensive, also wearing stoic masks with piercing eyes.


"Rukia-chan, this is Kuchiki Byakuya. He would like to officially adopt you." The caretaker explained to her. Rukia stared up at the young-looking men, figuring he was the one she said was Kuchiki Byakuya.

"Adopt me?" Rukia whispered, surprised. Her eyes widened in disbelief.

"They said they've been looking for you. Now, please sign this paper and all of her adoption papers will be finished." The caretaker passed Byakuya a sheet of paper as he carefully read everything quickly, and then placed it on the desk. He took out a fountain pen as he made each stroke on the paper, leaving Rukia staring at the fluid movements. Once he was finished, he handed the paper back to the awe-struck caretaker, standing straight once again.

"Then the adoption process is finished." She handed him a large folder of papers, then turned towards her. "You are now Kuchiki Rukia. Go get your things and come back down quickly to leave." Rukia nodded and shuffled out of the room.

She, Rukia- Kuchiki Rukia- had a family, and was no longer an orphan. She now had a family name.

But why?

-

"What is it, Rukia-san?" The Kuchiki elder gave the girl a warm smile. It had been about a week since she first came to the large home and was shown her new room that as barren of any filth, color, or life. She mostly remained silent as many advised her during long and tedious ceremonies she had to endure. She didn't even know that they Kuchiki family was a powerful family in Japan, living across the country.

"Excuse me for asking, but why was I adopted?" She said. No one told her anything, and the last time she had seen Kuchiki Byakuya, the man with him told her she was to call him brother.

"Byakuya-sama had a wife named Hisana. She was a very beautiful woman that Byakuya met and fell in love, much to the rules of the family being against his decision. She told of a younger sister she had that she was still searching for. We finally found her younger sister- you." He told her of the story.

"M-my sister? I had a sister? Where is she now?" Rukia asked, alarmed.

"I'm sorry, but Hisana-sama had passed away about a year ago from illness." He told her.

"…Ah, I'm sorry for bursting out." Rukia dropped, staring at the floor. That was the reason why she was here- she actually had family, looking for her. She looked up to see Byakuya coming up to her.

"Byakuya-sama." The elder bowed politely.

"Byakuya nii-sama." Rukia called him, bowing as well. Byakuya paused, staring down at Rukia. He turned forward and continues walking, saying nothing.


Rukia walked to the kitchen to find her breakfast waiting for on the large table.

"Itadakimasu." She said as she sat in front of the dish, then picked up her utensil and began eating. A couple of minutes later she was finished as she wiped the crumbs from around her mouth, and stood up. She left the table and picked up her school bag and walked towards the front door, leaned over to put on her shoes.

It was then there was a knock at the door right in front of her, making her stand up. The servants probably didn't hear the thumping, so Rukia opened it herself.

"Hai?" She said, but then froze in place. The familiar site of orange that she did not want to see stood casually in front of her.

"Yo." He greeted her, holding his hand up. Rukia stood for a moment gaping at him before snapping back, glaring at him.

"Ichigo! What the hell are you doing here?!" She exclaimed, too annoyed to watch her volume.

"What, I just came so we can go to school." Ichigo said. Rukia gawked at his stupidity, remembering she questioned him on their friendship. She was about to yell at him when the cold voice called out behind her.

"Kurosaki Ichigo." Ichigo could see Byakuya looming behind Rukia, giving him a disdain stare.

"Hey." Ichigo greeted him, acting his usual self.

"Ah, Nii-sama!" Rukia turned in surprise to see him staring back at Ichigo.

"I was just leaving now; please have a good day for work." She bowed to him, turning back to the boy outside.

"Yes." Byakuya said, still glaring at Ichigo. Rukia closed the door behind her, not before giving Ichigo a swift quick in the shin.

"What was that for?!" Ichigo muttered, glaring at her.

"Coming here, dumbass! What the hell made you think I'd welcome you, or Byakuya would greet you?" She matched his glare, but broke their gaze as she turned to start walking. Ichigo quickly followed.

"I didn't realize you'd be beyond pissed to just see me." Ichigo muttered, annoyed himself with her malicious behavior. Rukia could only give him an I-wish-you-were-dead-instead-of-pestering-me-right-now glare, proving his point.

"I have every right to be pissed at someone like you." She retorted at him, looking over her shoulder.

"Right, whatever." Ichigo muttered, knowing what she meant. He switched the subject as the two crossed the street. "Byakuya seemed calm today, better than last time." He commented. Rukia gave him an incredulous look.

"Are you kidding? Nii-sama was probably thrice cursing to see you again." Rukia guessed. Ichigo couldn't help but chuckle, knowing that was probably true.

Ever since Byakuya first met him one day when he went to Rukia's home to give her school work she missed, they had some sort of rivalry between each other. Rukia knew Byakuya didn't trust Ichigo as a commoner that seemed to want attention with his hair hanging around his sister, but Ichigo persisted.

Ichigo grinned when he remembered how he was able to annoy her brother to no end just by being there, and was able to take on several guards of his. Both were still not on good terms, especially with Ichigo calling him by his first name.

They soon arrived at school, where Rukia quickly disappeared to get away from him. Ichigo didn't mind when he noticed he was going to be late if he didn't hurry up.

After a change of shoes, Ichigo walked up to his class door and opened it up, being greeted by his friends.

"ICHIGOOOO!" Asano Keigo's voice was the first, as Ichigo walked past the boy.

"Mornin'." He said, ignoring Keigo. He walked over to his desk, greeting everyone else.

"You finally came, Kurosaki." Ishida commented, pointing at the clock. Everyone was curious why Ichigo was unusually late.

"Yeah." Ichigo said.

"What did you do, sleep in?" Arisawa Tatsuki asked.

"If I wasn't mistaken, he had walked to school with Kuchiki-san this morning." Kojima Mizuiro popped into the conversation. Ichigo glared at Mizuiro as everyone gave him a strange look.

"K-Kuchiki-san? Ichigo, you walked with her to school?! But you two live in two different directions, then that meant you were at-" Keigo began rambling, connecting two and two together. Ichigo punched him in the jaw.

"Kuchiki-san, really?! It's been so long since I've seen Kuchiki-san with us!" Inoue exclaimed in her bubbly voice, but then paused, looking up at the ceiling in deep thought. "The last time I saw Kuchiki-san was…"

"Since Shiba-sensei's death." Yasutora Chad completed Inoue's sentence. Everyone went quiet, knowing he was right. Ishida watched a slight flicker of emotion wash through Ichigo's face when Chad mentioned Shiba Kaien.

"How is Kuchiki-san anyway, Kurosaki?" Ishida asked him.

"What, she's fine. Same short and same temper." Ichigo said, leaned back in his chair.

"I'm so glad Kuchiki-san is fine!" Inoue smiled. "I wonder if she'd like to join us sometime and I can show her some of my new recipes." She thought of the dozen new dishes she wanted to let Kuchiki-san try, making everyone give her a wary smile.

The bell rang, and everyone looked up to see their teacher walk in.

"Alright, sit down!" Shihouin Yoruichi called out, dropping her bag onto her large desk in the front of the class. Everyone scurried to their seat and sat down as she opened a bottle of milk before continuing.

"Urahara-sensei will be here in the afternoon, alright? Let's get attendance done." She sighed as she placed the bottle down and picked up the attendance, not interested like always.

-

"Alright everyone, don't forget about to do your work tonight, and bring it back tomorrow!" Urahara Kisuke told them as the bell rang. He gave a mischievous smile to the students as they walked out of the room.

"Ah, that's right- Asano-kun and Kojima-kun, you two are staying for doing the class notes." He pointed to the pair. Keigo moaned, not wanting to stay after school any longer.

Ichigo packed up and walked down to the foot lockers, changing into his regular shoes. He closed it and turned around, remembering he had to go look for Rukia.

He scanned the hall to see if she was still in the classroom, and then scanned the foot lockers. He noticed the bobbing of a head of black hair relatively shorter than the rest of the crowd walking outside. He weaved his way through the others until he caught up with Rukia, who turned to see Ichigo.

"Ichigo? What do you want?" She asked him. She had a bad feeling about when she would be able to get to school work tonight. Ichigo was about to answer when they heard Inoue calling for them.

"Kurosaki-kun, Kuchiki-san!" She waved, motioning them to come over to her and the group of Ishida, Tatsuki, and Chad.

The pair went over where Rukia was attacked by Inoue as she circled her arms around Rukia, hugging her very tightly.

"Ah, Kuchiki-san! I'm so happy to see you again! You sure have been busy, have you?" She asked her, still embracing the smaller girl. Said girl was uncomfortable to have had the wind squeezed out of her a moment before.

"H-hello, Inoue-san. Ah, it's been a while- I've had a lot to do." She answered.

"Well since you're not busy anymore, come with us to get ice cream!" She declared cheerfully, finally releasing Rukia from her grip.

"Are you coming, Ichigo?" Tatsuki asked him. He looked over at her and shrugged his shoulders. He had nothing else to do, and had something to tell Rukia- he might as well stay if she was being dragged to ice cream.

"Come on, there's this stand at the park with the best vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce!" She exclaimed, starting to ramble on her first time finding the place. Rukia listened until they arrived to the stand and stood in line.

"One cone of strawberry, please." Rukia said. A moment after she was handed her own cone with the strawberry treat on it.

"Chocolate." Ichigo ordered.

"Here, that'll be 400 yen for the two of you." The man said as he handed Ichigo his cone. Ichigo gave him the exact amount and turned away. Rukia quickly turned and walked after him.

"Hey, you didn't have to pay for mine!" She scolded as they started walking to where the rest of them were.

"The guy asked for the money, I decided to just give it to him, it'd take you too long to find your own money." Ichigo explained, but he had a fairly good idea why the man did that.

They looked like a couple.

"I don't need you to pay for my food though. Here, let me repay you." Rukia dug into her schoolbag for some spare change, but Ichigo ignored her.

"Just enjoy the free ice cream, midget." He sighed.

"Kurosaki-kun, Kuchiki-san! Do you like the ice cream? Didn't I tell you it was good?" Inoue asked them. Rukia nodded, taking a small bite from her cone.

"Oi… Check out those big thugs walking across the street there." Tatsuki whispered quietly. Everyone turned their attention to see three men walking into an ally. They wore business-like clothes that were rather worn out, and had scars visible on them. Rukia swore she saw what looked like a tattoo under the head man's sleeve.

"Looks like Yakuza men." Ichigo muttered. He knew the Yakuza were evil gangs, and was even accused of being in one.

"What are they doing here?" Ishida asked, not afraid of the men that have most likely shot more than one person.

"Who knows, maybe they have business and decided to hold it in a nice neighborhood." Tatsuki suggested. It left a slight uncomfortable silence until Chad turned to Ichigo.

"We should probably leave." He said. Ichigo finished his cone and agreed.

"Seeing those men isn't a good thing. We should get away before we get in any sort of cross fire." Ishida suggested as he stood up and threw away the remaining of the ice cream cone. Inoue nodded as she stood up in suit and followed Ishida.

With no choice but to follow, Rukia sat u and started walking when she noticed another trio of men walked down the sidewalk across the street from the opposite direction. They had the same signs of being part of the Yakuza, but looked different from the men before. Rukia took a second take, looking carefully at the lead man.

"Oi Rukia, come on." Ichigo said. Rukia snapped out of her thoughts and looked over at Ichigo.

"Ah, right." She said and caught up to the group. They walked in silence for a few blocks until Chad and Tatsuki stopped.

"Well, I have to get to the dojo. Later." She said, waving.

"Bye, Tatsuki-chan!" Inoue called happily after her.

"I have… errands to run." Chad said as he crossed the street the other way.

"Later then, Chad." Ichigo told him.

"Since everyone is parting, I must get home and finish my homework. Bye Inoue, Ishida." Rukia gave the two a cheerful smile she used to act.

"Eh, you too, Kuchiki-san?! Well, see you tomorrow at school!" Inoue waved good bye to her as she went to cross the road towards the direction Chad left.

"Oi, wait Rukia!" Ichigo said as he followed, forgetting about saying good bye to the pair.

"There went Kurosaki…" Ishida muttered, smirking.

"Hm?" Inoue looked at Ishida questioningly. "What do you mean, Ishida-kun?"

-

"Ichigo, what are you doing?" Rukia asked exasperated.

"We're going to my house." He said.

"What, I'm going home! The hell I'll go to your house." She scoffed.

"You still have some of your stupid horror Manga at my place that you need to pick up, by the way." He muttered.

"Damn it…" Rukia mumbled.

"We're already here." Ichigo said. Rukia looked up to see the Kurosaki Clinic once again. They went through another encounter of Kurosaki Isshin but soon made it up to Ichigo's room.

"Give me my books, now." Rukia demanded, standing rooted to the middle of his floor.

"Fine let me find it. It was all over my room I had to put it in my closet." Ichigo sighed as he walked to the shelf. Rukia watched over his shoulder the best she could as he rummaged through the closet.

"Here's one." Ichigo tossed a black metallic book behind him, Rukia catching it.

"I've been looking for this one!" She exclaimed, leafing the pages.

"Here's two more." He handed the thick books to her. Rukia nodded as she looked at the titles when she noticed something in Ichigo's closet.

"Ichigo, what's that frilly-looking thing in your closet?" She walked forward to get a better look, taking it out of his closet.

"Wait, Rukia-" Ichigo protested, but she ignored him, only to gape at it.

"It's a… dress." Her monotone voice said out loud. It was small but puffy, with lace and drills all over. She stared over at Ichigo.

"Is there any more disturbing secrets you'd like to tell me?" Ichigo grabbed the dress from out of her hands, turning pink.

"It's from the Old Man! He kept giving me these weird dresses or costumes for you to try on. Of course I just hid them in my closet." He explained. Rukia looked into the closet and could see similar shapes inside.

"He wanted me to wear THAT?" She pointed to the dress in Ichigo's hands in disbelief. "Why are you wasting space for them?"

"What, do you want to try one on?" Ichigo smirked, holding out the dress to her. "Of course you'd look like more of a little kid in them that has problems." Rukia answered him with a furious glare and a rough kick to both shins.

-

"Ishida-kun, what do you think is wrong with Kuchiki-san?" Inoue turned to Ishida after said girl left and a certain boy followed after her.

"I'm not quite sure, but Kurosaki seems to be putting a lot of effort to being by her. It looks like she is very angry with him." Ishida commented. They walked down the street together past the small shops.

"I don't get it- they never were angry at each other. Is Kuchiki-san still hurting about Shiba-sensei? He must have been a special teacher to her." Inoue mumbled worriedly. Ishida gave Inoue a side glance, seeing her upset.

"I'm sure it's nothing terrible, Inoue-san. Don't worry about it; we'll just have to see what happens." Ishida assured her.


A/N: I hope you enjoyed! This chapter was a little bit longer than usual, but not by much. Reviews are MUCH appreciated, thank you!

Pray that You Always Understand Me- Brennan Alleyne

Notes:
-sama- Honorable suffix
Nii-sama- Honorable brother
Itadekimasu- "Time to eat."
400 yen- Roughly $4 or around that much
Yakuza- The Japanese mafia, known to have very colorful tatoos that can cover a man's whole body- tatoos are not very liked in Japan as it is consider almost criminal to get one.