A rare and unusual couple but something tugs me to write about it so here goes… I was kind of upset at the time when I wrote this—so the mood of the story is going to sound rather sour.

- Zerolr -

Disclamer: I don't own Bleach, all rights go to Tite Kubo

Pairing: Gin – Rukia

Rating: T (for now I guess)

Setting: Alternate universe

The Art of Manipulation

Chapter 1 – Desperate Much…

Humid, hot and sticky. The heavy weight of summer crushed Kakakura town with a power that hasn't been seen in years. The record for the hottest day of the year hit in July and Rukia ran then slowed to a jog and practically crawled to her apartment dropping the keys on the counter collapsing exhausted on the sofa.

Everything seemed to be going bad for her. She had her car towed yesterday, an overdue fee added to her already sky rocketing light bill and Ichigo, the guy that she kinda-sorta-liked-but-didn't-tell-him-straight-up, has declared himself with Orihime—her so called best friend.

She looked at the cell phone she pulled out of her pocket.

I can call Renji, but I think he's had enough of my constant pissing and moaning. Shit. I feel so miserable.

Her arm dropped and the cell phone fell from her fingers to the carpet floor. Soon enough, she was asleep.

The next day rang with similar and/or newer problems. Her step-brother Byakuya left a message on her answering machine saying that he ISN'T planning on letting her borrow the money anytime soon even thought he was a filthy rich attorney. She cursed him and the phone, and when she went to pick it up to call the taxi—the lights went out.

Great. The fucken public utility company wanted their money now.

She threw the phone with the base and sunk to the ground and broke down in tears.

How can it get any worse? How? She thought. With only the cell phone working, her only light, and beacon of hope. Renji.

"Yeah, sure I'll off today. I'll pick you up. Huh? What's a matter, Rukia? Your voice sounds really shaky."

There she was slobbering, hiccupping and brawling her eyes out, buggers all over the place. Wetting her secretarial clothes as Renji's car parked right outside the hospital she worked in.

He did his best to console her. He could understand the dire straights she found herself in since he too, had a crappy-ass job and virtually no one to support him. Unhooking his seat belt, he hugged her and held her close, knowing that saying anything really wasn't going to help. The only words that would be appropriate to say at this moment would be, "Here is 10,000 dollars," or, "I love you." And neither was a valid option for him at this moment. He know that words like, "It will get better," or "Just keep trying," "Never give up,"—or even, "Pray and go to church," was only going to make it worse. Those things didn't solve anything. They were just words and words are exactly what they are—words.

Rukia lifted her head from Renji's chest and wiped the tears off her swollen eyes and smiled a bit.

"Thank you Renji."

"I didn't do much, but I'm glad to help."

There was a slight pause and awkward moment. He looked down at her in question.

"Is there something wrong?" he asked.

She seemed to start shaking her head, but stopped and reached out her right hand to let it rest on his cheek. She suddenly inched to kiss him but Renji stopped her.

"Rukia, what are you doing?"

Flustered, she picked up her things.

"Didn't you like me?!" she asked, her bottom lip slightly trembling as she pushed open the car door.

"Yeah, but I don't feel like that any more—I like some else."

"Well fuck you then," came the abrupt reply to equally counter the abrupt answer.

"Rukia…" Renji's voice came out soft and warm in his usual gruff tone, "You're really stressed and frustrated, you don't have any feelings for me…you never really did."

Rukia bit her lip as Renji drove off, those last words lingering floating around her mind.

You never really did…

End Chapter

Notes: Sorry for the really short chapter, it was all orignially supposed to be one large chapter but, it dragged so much that I've separated them in parts. The second chapter coming soon! I need to fluff it up and add some more things to it. It will be up later today (3/31/2009) or tommorow (4/1/2009) Thanks for reading!