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Chapter One: The children who were forced to grow up
Kuchiki Byakuya was numb. He was a person with no emotions, indifferent to everything and everyone.
Everyone thought that he was so aloof just because he was a royal. Kuchikis were the royal family, the rulers of the world after death. Served by nobles from the four great noble families (Ukitake, Shiba, Shihouin and Unohana) and also minor noble families, the Kuchikis were the law. Everyone obeyed them, and few people dared questioned their authority.
However, little people knew of the fact that Kuchiki Byakuya was an empty shell, and nobody knew how scarred he was inside.
As a child prodigy, he reached bankai when he first held his sword when he was three. Everybody was amazed by this achievement, the first time of its kind. Everybody, except his otou-sama and okaa-sama.
"Otou-sama, Okaa-sama!" were the first few words little Byakuya shouted when he burst into the dining room. "Guess what? I attained both shikai and bankai! Her name is Senbonzakura! She is so beautiful and graceful, just like you, okaa-sama!" Little Byakuya happily said as he seated himself on the chair that was much, much taller than himself.
"I do not see anything that you should be happy about, Byakuya, Even if you receive your bankai, there is still along way to go before you are even worthy of being the heir of the Kuchiki family. Senbonzakura is a weak sword, for a weak person like you. What can one thousand pink petals do against me?" Kuchiki Isamu, captain of the sixth squad replied coldly. "Please conduct yourself, for you are in no proper state for any of the servants to see."
At these words, Kuchiki Byakuya's smile was completely wiped off his face. Lowering his head, he answered softly, "I understand, otou-sama."
Isamu and his wife stood up and beckoned to their personal servant, Yomi, and left the room, leaving little Byakuya to his own thoughts.
One might ask why Kuchiki Isamu and Kuchiki Shima were so cold to their child. The simple reason was jealousy.
Kuchiki Ginrei was the king of Soul Society and at the same time, the Captain of the prestigious First Squad. Kuchiki Ginrei saw the darkness in his own son's heart, and to prevent Soul Society from crumbling under Kuchiki Isamu's rule, secretly named his grandson as his heir. However, the young and innocent Kuchiki knew nothing about this.
The young Kuchiki loved his grandfather a lot. Kuchiki Ginrei was his father figure, something he was deprived of. Kuchiki Ginrei was always there for Byakuya, whether it was Byakuya begging him to tell him a story about Chappy or it was about learning how to balance while holding a sword that was more than twice one's height.
Kuchiki Isamu knew about this, but carried on hoping that one day; his father would change his mind.
But he didn't. Not even when he was on his death bed.
Kuchiki Ginrei lay on his death bed. Even though he knew he was going to die soon, he could not stop himself from smiling when he saw his four year-old grandson by his bedside.
Stripping himself of his scarf, he gestured for both Byakuya and his otou-sama to go nearer to him. He gently wrapped his scarf around the shocked heir's kuya's neck and said in a proud voice, "I now announce the 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan, the King of Soul Society, to be you, Byakuya-sama."
Upon hearing these words, Kuchiki Isamu stormed out of the room, Kuchiki Shima following him.
They were not present at both the grand funeral and the initiation of the new king.
So, the new king had to stand alone, tiny and afraid in front of all the intimidating elders, no one beside him to defend him while the elders openly criticized him.
Byakuya thought sadly, otou-sama and okaa-sama are so different from the parents I see at rukongai. Over there, during festivals, the parents will lift the children to their shoulders let them see over the crowd, but for me, the only times I see them smile at me is when there are guests to the house. But even so, they are so far away from me. After Ginrei-sama died, they were even colder to me. What can I do to let them love me?
So, he devised a plan to earn the love of his parents. It consisted of giving flowers to the few people he knew and loved.
For this plan to carry out, he needed to find someone, and this someone was Aunt Yoruichi.
¬At the house of the Shihouin¬
"Aunt Yoruichi! I am here!" The tiny version of Byakuya beamed as he raced up to her, his height only reaching her knees, and held out his arms to be hugged.
Yoruichi smiled back as she lifted Byakuya up in her arms easily. "Yo! So you've finally decided to come to see me, I was beginning to think that you forgot about me."
Little Byakuya pouted slightly, "I won't forget you ever! You were the one who taught me how to shunpo, you were the only person who had time to play tag with me."
Yoruichi snorted, "Now let me tell you the truth, all those royals have no time in their hands at all. After Shima married over, she never came to visit me any more."
"Okaa-sama?" Little Byakyua lifted his head to look at her questioningly.
"Yep. Who else? So what have you come to see me for?" Yoruichi smiled kindly at the little boy whom she loved.
"What flowers does Okaa-sama like?" Byakuya asked innocently, looking up at her with his big grey eyes.
"Roses, all women love roses." Yoruichi smiled as she pecked him on the forehead.
Little Byakuya clapped his tiny hands joyfully, "I want to pick flowers for you, Okaa-sama, Aunt Retsu, Aunt Rena and Aunt Senbonzakura!"
Yoruichi smiled inwardly, he was so innocent and young. Putting Byakuya back on the floor, she petted his head, "Do drop by when you pick me some flowers, Byachan!"
Byakuya nodded happily and bounced off to 'pick flowers for okaa-sama'.
Yoruichi watched him sadly as he went. Don't break his heart, Shima…
¬Back at the Kuchiki manor¬
Byakuya clapped his hands happily as he looked at the five bunches of roses neatly tied up with ribbons. Attached to the ribbons were 'Sukia dayo' messages.
These were the results of hard work as he decided that every rose in each bunch had to be a different colour. Therefore, due to a certain very determined Kuchiki head, many roses in the pristine Kuchiki gardens magically disappeared.
Byakuya thought happily, I will give the first bunch to okaa-sama. She will be delighted.
So, he happily sprinted off, holding five bunches of roses that were bigger than himself, to find his okaa-sama.
Byakuya found her reading by the river that ran through the Kuchiki manor. Stopping behind her, he looked up at her with shiny gray eyes before bowing respectfully.
Kuchiki Shima looked over her shoulder to see her young son. Nodding her head in response, she stated, "Please do not run around like this. What will the servants say when they see you?"
Little Byakuya felt slightly hurt at his mother's comment but said nothing. Instead he happily held out the biggest bunch of roses to her. "This is for you okaa-sama!"
Kuchiki Shima took the roses and disdainfully dropped them into the river. "Surely the newly appointed Kuchiki head have much better things to do than collecting flowers, Kuchiki-sama."
She left Byakuya at the bank, stunned. So he was now 'Kuchiki-sama' in the eyes of everyone. However that didn't change the fact that the way okaa-sama said it, it somehow hurt a lot. He looked at the bunch of roses that were disappearing around the bend of the river. Slowly, the happy shine in Byakuya's eyes disappeared. All was left was hatred.
Looking down at the bunches of roses he was holding, he slowly dropped them into the river and watched them drift away.
After this incident, Kuchiki Byakuya grew colder and colder, to a point where even when his otou-sama and okaa-sama announced that they were leaving the manor, and left him to take care of both the first squad and sixth squad, he didn't even express anything.
Even when his Aunt Yoruichi left for the material world, he didn't flinch. Kuchiki Byakuya was left all alone, every one he used to love left him. All in a year.
Kuchiki Byakuya swore, after everyone left him that he would become the strongest Shinigami, alive or dead, he swore that cherry blossoms will become the symbol of fear. Both came true. No one had been so strong; no one had been so feared, for Kuchiki Byakuya couldn't love anymore. He was merciless. Every single Shinigami agreed that if there was something their King lacked it was love.
A thousand years later, Rukia was born.
Rukia didn't have an easy life. Abandoned when she was born, she was left to survive on nothing by herself. That was until Abarai Renji and Kira Izuru appeared in her life.
Under the night sky, a five-year old, raven haired girl collapsed into a huge puddle of mud, too exhausted to go on anymore. She was hungry; the last thing she ate was rotten orange peel, tossed carelessly on the middle of the road. Thinking back, that could be a few days ago, or perhaps a few weeks, she didn't know.
A noise nearby startled her. She knew it could be the 'bad men', but she didn't care. She was simply too tired. Closing her violet eyes, the little girl smiled sadly, she was going to come to an end like how the old woman who took care of her till she was four died. Bad men.
However, when she opened her eyes a few minutes later, two tall men were standing in front of her. The red-haired one held out his hand to her.
"Hey, you look tired. You can always join me and Kira, we grew up the hard way too. I am Renji. What's your name anyway?"
Suddenly finding the energy to move, the little girl trustingly gave her hand to the man named Renji. Smiling, she said, "Rukia, my name is Rukia."
¬End of flashback¬
After joining Renji and Kira, Rukia learnt that, she was like them, souls with higher spiritual energy. They were people who needed food to survive. So, every single day, they went out to steal food, water from the wealthier people.
Kira had shrugged his shoulders and said, "They don't even need to eat it. Food is just a bonus. They have no spiritual energy after all."
Under the care of Renji and Kira, Rukia grew happier each day. However, happiness never lasts forever.
One day, people clad in black came and pulled Kira away, saying that he was, "leaking too much energy."
According to what little Rukia heard while she was stealing food, these people in black were called Shinigamis and were extremely strong. After Kira got taken away, he never came back.
Quietly mourning, Rukia continued her life with Renji. One day while Renji and Rukia were at a hill top overlooking the 78th district of Rukongai, Renji quietly said, "I think I want to join the Academy."
Rukia felt her heart sink, surely, not him too?
Catching her expression, Renji quickly added, "I promise I will come back every week! I will bring food for you each week."
Biding her tears not to fall, Rukia motioned for him to leave. Renji was gone that evening.
After that, Rukia would patiently wait for him at the hill top every week. Every week, he didn't come. Finally, Rukia turned away from the hill top silently. I don't want to wait anymore.
Renji was the last support that the now eleven year old girl had. Finding food proved increasingly harder as the wealthier families now knew their little tricks of stealing food. Everyday, she grew thinner and thinner, on the brink of collapsing. Unable to take the harshness of Rukongai anymore, she grew sick. When she was sick, the people that she had nightmares of came. The bad men.
She was tormented badly and left to bleed to death on the street. Snow started to fall heavily as she lay in a painful position.
Hey, it is snowing. It is my birthday…
"Okaa-san, other children have birthdays, when was mine?" A tiny Rukia chirped to her 'mother'.
"Yours? Let's see now, it was a day that had heavy snow. It was written on the paper that was tucked into your little blanket. It said, "Rukia, born during a blizzard."
Bending down, the 'mother' kissed little Rukia's forehead. "It means whenever it snows, it is your birthday."
¬End of flashback¬
Before Rukia shut her violet eyes, she whispered, "Happy Birthday Rukia."
Kuchiki Byakuya was certainly not in a very good mood. Sighing softly as he dragged himself out of his warm bed, he put on his scarf, haori and kenseiken, the befitting image of a king.
Senbonzakura, bless her, had told, or rather ordered him to take a night walk in, of all places, the dirty, dusty streets of 78th street of Rukongai, and threatened to refuse to release until he went.
"Whatever you want to show me, it better be good." Byakuya said warningly.
"You will never regret it!" Senbonzakura smiled brightly as she flicked her sleeve at him. Then in a more thoughtful and serious tone, she said, "It will change your life, perhaps, forever."
"My life does not need changing." Byakuya stated.
Senbonzakura was silent, lapsing into her own thoughts.
Resisting the urge to sigh, Kuchiki Byakuya softly let himself out of the Kuchiki side gate into the dark winter night.
Preview for chapter 2: Meeting.
When he arrived, he knew immediately what Senbonzakura wanted him to see. Lying beneath a pile of snow, skin glowing eerily, was a petite little girl who looked like a fallen angel.
Senbonzakura said softly, "That's her."
This time it was different. Senbonzakura was practically shouting the reason at him.
She said it was love.
But she forgot something. Kuchiki Byakuya does not and cannot love.
Please give me lots of pretty reviews! Flames are appreciated too!
Dear ByakuMama, RenjiPapa, readers, I have no inspiration for ByakuRenji…
So sorry! Help me out!
Tomorrow: 3 exams, Social Studies, Biology, History…
Wish me luck!