Okay, so I just wanted to try writing from a girl's point of view in first person, and Rukia seemed like the perfect candidate.

Disclaimer: I don't own bleach… but I would like Rukia as a present if any of you are willing to buy…


Cold

The soft knock on the door woke me up. My eyelids felt heavy, my body stiff, as it usually was after I woke up. I hadn't really been getting much sleep lately, but that wasn't something new, I hadn't been sleeping well for a long time. Ever since… well, it doesn't really do well to dwell on the past…

"I'm awake," I tried to call out, though it was more of a mumble that got muffled by my pillow. The knocking stopped though, so I guess whoever it was had sharp ears.

Sunlight pored through the window screen, making small horizontal lines on the wall in front of me.

I lay there for a while, counting the bars. 16…

The soft knock on my door again.

"Coming," I called out properly this time, dragging myself out of bed and wobbling towards the door. Whoever it was had better have a good reason for… oh…

His cold, grey eyes stared back at me, my words died in my throat, my brain stopped working.

"Good morning," he greeted me in his usual calm tone. More like emotionless…

"Nii-sama," the words that escaped my mouth sounded more like a shock than a greeting. But, truthfully, they did reflect how I felt.

"It's late Rukia," he stated. It could have been something of a scolding, but it just sounded just like a statement.

"I'm sorry," I apologized, going into a short bow. It now struck me that I had no idea what time it was. "I'll be ready in a minute."

"That won't be necessary, you missed the meeting anyway," he replied with the same dead tone he always used. Like it was something insignificant that happened every day.

Oh crap, the meeting… My eyes widened as I remembered, was it this late already?

"Just get ready," he turned to leave, "and make sure you don't miss the next one."

"Yes Nii-sama," I replied in an apologetic tone, closing the door behind me and breathing a sigh of relief. All encounters with Nii-sama seemed to be either uncomfortably quiet, or comments on something I had failed to do…

I shook my head, trying to shake the thoughts out of it, but it didn't seem to be working. Whatever, I should get ready.

Clothes were, as usual, set down on the table before me, perfectly folded, also as usual.

I went over and picked them up, finding an extra robe in them, not as usual. Some of the servants must have thought that it was too cold outside. I went over and opened the blinds, the grounds of the estate littered with autumn leaves, signaling winters approach. Well, it is cold, but not that cold. And I have an ice based soul slayer; you think they'd know that I'd be a bit more resistant to the weather…

My night robe dropped onto the floor as I mused of what to do now that I had a free morning, since I'd missed the meeting, and I sure as hell couldn't drop in this late. The old man would kill me.


I found Nii-sama in the main hall, busy working over something. I didn't feel like going up and seeing what it was. More like I didn't feel courageous enough to do it…

So I crept out of the mansion, or at least tried to.

"Rukia, where are you going?" Byakuya called out without lifting his head from the parchment, and I know he didn't lift his head up because my gaze was fixed directly on the back of his head while I'd been trying to get away. Maybe that's what alerted him, or maybe he has an eye on the back of his head...

"You aren't wearing the robe I set out for you," He continued his work. Yup, definitely an eye on the back of his head. Wait… did he just say…

"You set out?" the word blurted out of my mouth before I could stop them. Note to self, think before you speak.

"Yes, is there a problem?" he continued to work, his utter detachment almost driving me up a wall. You'd think I'd have gotten used to it by now...

"No, it's just that…" I struggled to come up with a good excuse.

"It's not that cold outside," I spoke my mind again. Think before you speak, think before you speak...

"Alright then," the comment didn't even seem to touch him, "be back before dinner."

"Yes, Nii-sama," I moved out of the house as quickly as I could without seeming like I was running.


Soul society can be a very boring place.

With nothing to do and no one to spend time with, wandering the streets can get very boring. Extremely boring. 'Make funny faces at wandering kids' boring…

"Something wrong with your face?" the sound of his voice caught me by surprise.

"Weird eyebrows, meeting over already?" I recover quickly, smiling as I saw his face turn red with anger.

"I do not have weird eyebrows," he snapped back, and then stopped and hit me with his wittiest of comebacks, "Shorty…"

I said it was his wittiest of comebacks, I never said it'd be any good.

"Well yeah, meeting finished early," he sighed as he leaned against a wall, "why didn't you come?"

"I, umm… overslept," I admitted.

"Ah, Captain Kuchiki had to say that you were ill today, apologized on your behalf and everything," he turned his gaze up towards the sky; he seemed to do that a lot when he talked about Nii-sama. I think he tries to measure how much further he still has left to go.

"Really?" Nii-sama had taken the fall for me? Maybe that's why he seemed so dissatisfied today. It made me feel even worse about oversleeping...

"Yeah well anyway," he turned back towards me, "Want to do anything today, just walk around?"

"No thanks," I declined. I'd been walking around soul society for too long anyway. But I really didn't want to go back to the mansion either, it was a bit boring. Well, more than a bit boring.

"Oh… well, think I can drop by for a while?" he tried again. Yes! That'd be great!

"Sure, why not," I replied nonchalantly, trying to mimic Nii-sama's tone. Anything to stave off the boredom…


"Good evening Renji," Nii-sama opened the door to the mansion. Both of us stiffened, like an electric current had passed through us. Well, I felt one pass through me anyway.

He had this odd look on his face though, one of those looks that I'd noticed before, that appeared for a moment and then faded. I never had been able to place it.

"G… Good evening captain," Renji stuttered back. Couldn't blame him, I did the same. But that wouldn't stop me from teasing him about that later.

"It's good that you came, I was going to send someone out to look for you," Nii-sama moved back inside towards the paper littered desk.

"W… why captain?" Renji's voice quivered, like he was about to be punished for something.

"Orders," he handed a large stack of paper to Renji, "deliver these do the twelfth squad, get them signed by captain Kurotsuchi and then give them to captain Unohana of the fourth division, by today."

He'd stressed on the last words, his tone of voice deflecting from indifferent to demanding, the only other way I had ever heard him speak. Both were scary though.

Renji gulped as he took the stack of papers. Well, anyone would, Kurotsuchi was a freak, and no one wanted to go near him. I remember when I had to go to his lab once… On second thought, I'd rather not…


"Dinner's ready," I called out, but got no reply. Just typical...

I moved back towards the main hall. And why did he have to pick today to give all the servants a holiday?

"Nii-sama," I said softly as I entered the room. But I was still able to make dinner, so I guess it's no big deal.

"Yes Rukia?" He looked up from the papers; that took me by surprise, since I didn't expect him to actually look up from his papers.

"Umm.. dinner… it's ready…" I felt terribly awkward. Damn it Rukia, how many years has it been? Why can't you get a straight sentence out?

"Oh," he looked at me for a moment then turned back to his papers, "I have a bit of work to finish up, leave a bowl for me."

"Okay," I backed out of the room, feeling a bit disheartened. It's not like I made dinner every day.

I set the bowl down on the table, covering it up with a plate to keep it warm. Eating slower than usual, not even trying to fool myself about the fact that I was waiting for Nii-sama to show up. They give captains too much work…

Dinner ended, no Nii-sama. I sighed as I got up and headed too my room hoping he'd eat it before it got too cold.

I slipped back into my nightgown and picked up one of the books on my bedside table. The one I'd fallen asleep while reading yesterday. I flicked through it, trying to remember where I'd left it, settling on a part that seemed familiar.


"Ah, no, you don't have to do that," he placed his hand on her shoulder, causing her body to stiffen. He must have noticed that too, because he immediately drew it back.

"Sorry," she stood up strai…

I stopped reading, and got up off the bed. I was feeling very thirsty all of the sudden.


The bowl was still there, ice cold by now, I assumed. It seemed like such a wasted effort.

I grabbed a glass of water and inched closer to the main hall again. The light was still lit, Nii-sama was still working, but that didn't make me feel any better. He was always working…

I considered throwing the food away, but left it. I'd throw it away tomorrow morning. When I wake up and find it still untouched…


I crept back under the covers, the dim lamplight catching the edge of the thick robe that was still lying on the desk.

Maybe I should have worn it. Though the weather outside really wasn't that cold.

But inside the house it was freezing…


Hmm… hope everyone liked it.

This was fun to write… maybe I'll do more…

Anyway… review please.