A/N: All right, for all of you that read my other story The Small Print, this is Rukia's and Byakuya's side of the story concerning what happened between them during those five months she was in Soul Society. You don't have to read The Small Print to read this, this story in itself can be independent, though there may be a referene or two but nothing too important.
Well anyway, CH. 1, Enjoy!
"Is there no other way?" Asked Byakuya; he was sitting in front of the Kuchiki elders.
"This is the only way, she is the one chosen by the Kuchiki council to carry out the task," said the tallest elder in the middle.
"Can you not choose another woman?"
"We already did, you turned down three different opportunities with respectable young women from other noble clans; your rejection of our offers is what has brought us to this predicament."
"But this is improper, Rukia is also a Kuchiki it would bring shame-"
"You have no say in this Kuchiki Byakuya, too many times have you defied this council, such disrespect will no longer be permitted.," said the same elder
"If there is no other way… but I will not force this on her."
"Do you not realize how important this is?! We're speaking about-"
"Yes, I know, and I understand, but if Rukia chooses not to go through with it, then I will not force-"
"Rukia Kuchiki has no choice, she put herself at our disposition when she agreed and signed the papers for her adoption. She has the legal obligation to comply with our demands," said a different elder. Without saying anything, Byakuya stood up, as calmly as he could in such a situation, and walked out of there, a hint of anger in his cold gray eyes.
They walked in the rain; Ichigo carried all the bags and tried to cover himself with the giant rabbit but to no avail. Rukia looked at him through amethyst eyes as she held Chappy close. Ichigo caught her looking at him and she turned away quickly blushing. By the time they reached the house, Ichigo was soaking wet. Ichigo entered his room and was surprised to see Rukia coming inside as well.
"Can I sleep in your closet? I've been wanting to for a while now." Ichigo nodded; she sat on his bed.
"You know, I'm not that sleepy anymore, maybe I'll watch some television," said Rukia; then suddenly the lights went out.
"God must hate me," said Rukia sighing; she shrugged off Ichigo's jacket; then she found a letter inside one of the pockets; she took it out and read the envelope.
"To Kurosaki-kun from Orihime-chan," said Rukia; she was about to open the letter when Ichigo darted towards her to take the letter away.
"I wonder what's in here," said Rukia swaying the letter around for Ichigo to see it but not allowing him to take it.
His tall frame was much larger than hers and he caused her to fall back on the bed; he kept her pinned there hovering above her as he rested his weight on the two hands that rested on either side of her head. He was soaking wet from the rain and droplets of water dripped from his shirt to her body.
"Get off me carrot top you're soaking wet!" He quickly took of his wet shirt and returned to his spot. She couldn't help but look down his chiseled chest. Then she looked back up at him angered.
"You're still wet."
"Give me back the letter," said Ichigo dangerously.
"You're gonna have to take it from me then," said Rukia mischievously. She did not know what tempted her to do what she did next, perhaps it was the jealously sparking through her veins, perhaps the humor she found in it, or perhaps because his body hovered dangerously above her. But she placed the letter inside her bra. Ichigo glared at her.
"Give me the letter you little brat."
"Then I guess I'll have to take it from you," said Ichigo; his expression immediately changed and he gazed at her through hooded topaz eyes; Rukia's eyes widened.
"I…Ichigo, what do you think you're doing?"
"I'm taking back my letter…" she watched shocked as his skilled fingers unbuttoned the top part of her sundress; once he stopped the letter was present before him poking through the side of her bra; he took it and dangled it in front of her face, "got it."
"Well you must be happy now that you got your girlfriend's love letter," spat Rukia.
"Love letter?" Said Ichigo throwing the letter to the floor, "that was the grocery list for your birthday cake," said Ichigo hovering dangerously over her again.
"But if you didn't need it anymore why did you…?" She finally came into realization, he was clever, too clever.
"I wanted to chase you," said Ichigo as he tilted his head lower.
"Ichigo what…?" He silenced her by placing his fingers on her lips; he gently caressed her lower lip with his thumb then trailed his fingers up her cheek. Her eyes locked with his soft caring topaz orbs and her judgment was clouded. Her eyes fluttered closed as his face drew nearer; she could feel his warm breath tickling her lips.
"Rukia I…" but they were interrupted suddenly by the presence of three strange reiatsus. Ichigo immediately got off of her and Rukia sat up on the bed.
She recognized the three elders standing before her. They were the elders from the Kuchiki Clan, she had seen them many times but had never actually spoken to them; for that matter she did not even know their names since her brother Byakuya avoided speaking to her about the Clan's affairs. They looked at her and Ichigo disgustedly; she immediately stood up from the bed realizing the compromising situation they had stumbled into, Ichigo was shirtless and Rukia's hair was messy and her cheeks flushed. She kneeled down and bowed before them.
Ichigo had a bad feeling about this, there was something in those men's eyes that he did not trust. The way they looked at Rukia, like she was a rare breed of something. They looked at her with fascination, greed, and malice. Rukia did not notice this because she was still kneeling, but one of the men gave her an evil grin.
"Kuchiki Rukia?" Asked one of the elders questioning whether this was indeed her.
"Yes, it is I," said Rukia looking up at them and standing up.
"You have been summoned to a meeting with the elders of the Kuchiki Clan, you must come at this very moment, no questions asked."
Rukia nodded and walked towards them. Immediately Ichigo's hand shot out and he grabbed hold of her wrist. One of the elders looked outraged.
"Do not involve yourself in Kuchiki Clan affairs, your insolence will not be tolerated."
"Don't worry Ichigo, it's just a meeting, I'll be back before you know it, I promise," said Rukia smiling at him. Ichigo nodded and hesitantly let her go. One of the elders formed a portal on the wall, and she disappeared, smiling at him one last time before the door closed shut.
Rukia exit the spirit gate with the three elders; she noticed that they were now standing in front of the Kuchiki manor. Byakuya was standing there waiting for them. They approached him and Rukia immediately bowed.
"Nii-sama," said Rukia respectfully; she noticed that he did not meet her gaze. His pensive distant eyes looking at the elders without regarding her.
"Sleep, Rukia," said Byakuya, his eyes fixed cautiously on the elders, almost glaring at them. She was walking away when one of the elders grunted, and she paused.
"Our meeting will commence at sunset tomorrow, we expect to see you there without delay, Kuchiki Rukia." Rukia nodded and proceeded to walk inside the manor. She couldn't shake away the notion that something terribly horrible was going to happen, the elders' eyes were filled with malice, and there was a frightful worry in Byakuya's eyes. She knew her nii-sama as a very calm man, it was very difficult for anything to shake him, but yet, this time he failed horribly in hiding his inner dilemma.
The next morning did not go by without that same notion nagging at the back of Rukia's mind; there was a certain stillness in the air, and the shadows dancing along the corners seemed to be stalking her. As was accustomed, she had breakfast with Byakuya; his usually pensive distant eyes were filled with worry; when he noticed her realization of this he tried to mask it, but with little success.
She poured tea into his cup and he quickly glanced at her as he reached for it; then he looked away with usual coldness. He set the cup on the table and finally looked at her.
"Rukia, your fate rests in your hands alone, do not let anyone persuade you into taking a path that will stray you from the road you have already chosen," he said; then he stood and left, leaving a very confused Rukia behind.
The rest of her day was spent wandering the Kuchiki manor since she was not allowed to leave the premises until after the meeting, which left her wondering even more just what this meeting would be about. She had never realized just how big this place was; even though she was a Kuchiki, she did not spend much time here because she was always on missions or stayed in the Squad thirteen quarters. The halls were long a grand, and there were many gardens.
She chose to go hunting, but returned shortly when she remembered she needed to attend the meeting. A couple of female servants grabbed her as soon as she entered her room, and dragged her to the restroom, where they bathed her and dressed her properly for the occasion.
Rukia was walking towards the temple in which the Kuchiki Clan gathered for their meetings. She was wearing an elegant yet uncomfortable Kimono, she hated dressing like this, but given the occasion dressing up was required of her. She lowered her gaze to the floor as she drew closer to the temple. When she looked up she saw her nii-sama standing by the doors, his eyes were shut and his arms crossed over his chest; it seemed as if he had been waiting for her to arrive. Once he heard her footsteps draw close, he looked at her through cold distant eyes. She approached him and bowed slightly; he looked at her and walked away, his cold gaze no longer meeting her.
"Nii-sama, will you be attending the meeting?"
"This is strictly between yourself and the elders. It is not my meeting to attend."
"Then why are you here?" Asked Rukia confused; he briefly looked at her before walking away without saying a word. She watched him as he left and then looked down to the floor and smiled; although vague, this must have been Byakuya's way of showing his support for her.
She turned back to the door and observed it fearfully. The doors to the temple were vast and luxurious. There were elegant designs; all were either religious or held historical figures of the Kuchiki family; the beautiful images were imprinted in gold, silver, and with valuable gems. She grabbed one of the handles and knocked on the door; immediately the taunting vast doors opened for her, and she walked into the highly unwelcoming darkness.
The dark hall was lit only by torches, which led to another door at the end of the hall. She took a deep breath, and walked towards her destination. Once she knocked on the door, it opened, and she walked into a room that appeared more of a court that a meeting room. The Kuchiki elders stood in front of her in rows, and she took sat on the only chair in the center. She recognized the man in the middle as one of the elders that came for her, and the other two men she had seen were on either side of her.
"All right, this meeting will now commence, Kuchiki Rukia, has Byakuya-sama told you what this meeting is about?"
"No sir, he has not," said Rukia.
"Are you aware that when you joined the clan in adoption, you submitted to Kuchiki laws and rules?"
"Yes sir, I am aware."
"And you of course know, that the elders hold the right to marry off or unite clan members to serve the clan's benefit?" Rukia nodded, fearfully, as she saw where this conversation was going. "And of course, you would comply to our demand of joining you to the individual we see fit." Rukia paused for a moment, she could not hide the melancholic expression on her face. Of course she didn't want to, but she definitely had to, she didn't want to bring any more shame to her clan, to her brother. 'I'm sorry Ichigo,' she thought.
"Yes, I would," she said.
"Good, there will be no problems then, you accept?"
"Yes," said Rukia calmly but sadly.
"Perfect, you will need to produce and heir with Byakuya Kuchiki within the time span of two years," said the head elder; then the elders began to rise to leave. Rukia could not hide the shock on her face, and without thinking she spoke.
"I have to marry nii-sama?!"
"Of course not, only if you'd like, you do however need to produce and heir," said the head elder; all the other elders left, and only he and the two that had been with him before were left; Rukia approached them.
"Byakuya-sama already knows about this, and he said he would agree to it, but only if you did."
"But, but I-"
"You do not have a choice, you may choose to flee with the ryoka boy if you'd like, but do you know in what position that would leave Byakuya-sama?" Rukia shook her head.
"Are you aware of the method in which Soul Society chooses its kings? Kings are chosen from each of the four noble clans, each clan has two terms, and it just so happens that very soon it will be the Kuchiki Clan's. Byakuya-sama was chosen, but he needs to produce an heir before taking the throne; if he does not produce one, then the clan will lose its turn, dishonoring the clan, and bringing great shame. A clan has never lost its turn before, it is unheard of, so have you any idea what that would be like for a Clan as powerful as the Kuchikis'?" Rukia remained silent, realizing now that there was no way out of this.
"Why me? There are many women that want to be with nii-sama, so why me?"
"Because, Byakuya has denied them all. You see dear Rukia, ever sine your sister's death, Byakuya has been…incapable of courting other women. We tried to match him up with other very beautiful noble women, but he refused. After he denied the third one, we and the other elders held a meeting to choose someone who was closer to Byakuya-sama."
"So you chose me?"
"Yes. Byakuya isn't close to many women; his closest female acquaintances are you and Yoruichi Shihoin, but Shihoin-san would be impossible since she is an outlaw now. That left us with cute little Rukia Kuchiki, the girl Byakuya has repeatedly put himself in danger for, and suddenly it made sense, you look exactly like her…Hisana, we thought that if he came to see her in you…then he would eventually give in."
"I see…" she said thoughtfully, no longer looking at them but rather at the floor, "so this is it then, I really have to do this?"
"Think of it as a favor to your dear nii-sama, which it is, you are saving him from the shame that would come upon him if he didn't take the throne. How many times has he not rescued you? Think of all he has done for you, does he not deserve at least this?"
"You're right," said Rukia giving in, but still very melancholic, "it would be selfish of me to deny him this."
Later that night, Rukia was hesitant to walk back to the manor, he would be there, and how would she tell him she accepted, how would she face him? Of course he did not want to be with her, he saw her as his sister, even thinking of themselves in such a way…it was revolting to them both. She wondered if she did the right thing, would Byakuya be thankful for her sacrifice? Or would he be angry with her for agreeing, perhaps he thought she would deny him, and in doing so save him from having to undergo something so morally disgusting.
It was already late when she walked into the dining room, hoping with every fiber of her being that he would not be there, that he had retired for the day…but alas, he was there. She bowed slightly in respect, then sat in front of him, and he never once turned to look at her as he ate. There was so much tension in the air that it would probably be difficult to cut through it even with her own zanpakuto. She sipped her tea cautiously, as he continued to do the same; then he finally turned to look at her.
"How was the meeting?"
"It-it went well."
"Did you accept?" He asked; Rukia nodded cautiously. Byakuya looked to the side then back at her, his cold gaze never changing. Perhaps Rukia's suspicions were right, he was going to be angry with her for accepting.
"Very well then," was all he said. They remained silent for another long period of time.
"Umm…nii-sama, are you all right with it?" She asked.
"That does not matter, the only thing that matters now is that we produce an heir." more silence.
"When are you planning on… doing that?" Asked Rukia; she had to blink a couple of times because the strange question emitted from her own mouth caused her to feel light-headed and sick.
"Whenever the time for it is appropriate," he said. 'And when will that be?' she felt like asking, but did not since it didn't feel like a wise thing to do, since the situation was already too awkward.
Everything was consumed in silence again. They ate quietly, and Rukia glanced at him from time to time when she knew he was not watching. She stared down at his hands, and at his impassive face; this situation did not seem to phase him even a bit. He took a sip of his tea, and she blushed embarrassed, just thinking that soon, those same lips would…she shook her head, clearing all awkward thoughts about her adoptive brother. But no matter how much her thoughts strayed to something more pleasant, they always returned to his lips, they appeared to be very soft, and full…the thought of something so tender against her own skin gave her the shivers.
Whenever she thought about any future relationship, because she'd yet to have one, she always pictured the man to be tough and a bit rough, kind of like Ichigo or Renji. She preferred strong, hard-headed men, those were her type, she herself was a noble, but could not see herself with one; she had never been attracted to soft, fashionable, proper men, those characteristics felt too superficial and boring to her. So imagining herself with Byakuya out of all people, was something difficult for her body to tolerate, he was too beautiful and soft for her liking.
She looked down at his hands, they were large and clearly the hands of a man, but…they could also be the hands of a muscular woman like Yoruichi or Nel, they were too perfect, too soft and smooth. His fingers were long and not in the least bit calloused, if anyone were to meet him without knowing who he was they would never guess that he was a soul reaper, and even more so a captain. His hands did not appear to be a sword-wielder's hands, there were no signs of scabs, scars, or anything along the lines; even her own hands were more damaged than his.
She took in a deep breath and the room spun around her when his hand reached out for a rice ball. Perhaps it was her own mind's exaggerated imagination, but she pictured him taking that peach-sized rice ball and caressing it, stroking it, squeezing it gently, his fingertips tracing over it sensually. She pictured his hands doing that to her own body, his thumb tracing over her breasts the way he did to that rice ball, and she felt like collapsing. She knew he was not doing this to her at the moment, and it was the rice ball that received his ministrations, but she knew that eventually…she too…her own breasts would become that hand's victims, it was inevitable. Suddenly it was all too much for her, she couldn't stand it any longer, she had to leave, she had to leave before she collapsed and went mad with anxiety.
"Nii-sama, I…goodnight," said Rukia standing up; her body was swaying a bit.
"Rukia?" Asked Byakuya the tiniest bit concerned as he noticed there was something wrong with her.
"I…I'm fine nii-sama," she said; she turned to leave but collapsed on the floor before walking away.