Hi there! (^-^)/

It was inevitable, I simply had to write a Gin x Rukia fan fiction, there was no other way or I would never be able to say my life was full xD My two most favourite Bleach characters together… Mufufufu~ ( ´艸`) Originally it was supposed to be a one-shot, but it came out a little bit long, so I divided it into two parts (・ω・)

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. If I did, this story might not have been just a fan fiction xD

Please note that English isn't my first language, and so do forgive me any mistakes.

Enjoy~!


Illusive Impressions
by
Asagiri


Part I


«She had always thought that for him, she was just an object to tease…»

Rukia had just graduated from the Shinigami Academy and was following her new adoptive brother, captain of the 6th Division, Kuchiki Byakuya. He was showing her around the main buildings of Seireitei, when a peculiar man crossed their path.

It was the first time Rukia met Ichimaru Gin, the recently nominated captain of the 3rd Division.

From the first glance she found him repelling and before he even got a chance to show himself from some good side (she doubted he had any), she right off the bat labelled him as a creepy and malicious man. Those squinting eyes, slender build, thin fingers and especially that grin… Everything about him screamed that he was wicked and dangerous and that she should be extremely careful around him. She was genuinely frightened of him.

"Mornin', Capt'n Kuchiki-san, how's yer day?" he greeted her brother, while his wide smile didn't waver even a bit.

"It is well, thank you, Ichimaru," Byakuya replied casually and she wondered how he could so calmly interact with this man. Couldn't he see that under that smiling and pleasant-like surface were hidden malevolent intentions?

"An' what do we 'ave 'ere?" Gin asked, curiously looking at Rukia as if he hadn't noticed her before. And how she wished it would remain so!

"This is Rukia, my sister," the Kuchiki heir explained. "For the time being she is in my Division, but when she gets accustomed to Gotei-13, she shall probably go to a different one."

The silver-haired captain looked her up and down, assessing carefully and therefore making her awfully uneasy to the point she wanted to hide behind her Nii-sama. However not wanting to act as a coward, she somehow withstood his unnerving stare.

"Hullo, Rukia-chan," he said cheerfully after a moment.

"Good morning, Captain Ichimaru," she replied politely with a deep bow, proud of herself that she didn't stammer. She could feel beads of cold sweat streaming down her back and her hands were trembling slightly. It took all her strong will not to give in to her instincts and run away.

"Hmm… Maybe ya'll end up in my Division, who knows?" he wondered aloud and putting his hand on her head he laughed, "Nah, ya're too weensy."

Rukia didn't know how to react to this. Should she apologise for her height? Should she take it as a joke and chuckle with him? Should she feel insulted? Blinking few times, she arrived at a simple conclusion that she was at a loss, so all she could do was stand there and stare at him dumbly. But at the same time she was glad that she might not become his subordinate.

"I wish ya a good day, Capt'n Kuchiki-san, Rukia-chan," Gin said happily and with a wave of his hand, he continued on his way.

«She had always thought that his actions had a deeper, usually malicious meaning…»

Rukia had just been transferred to the 13th Division (how she rejoiced in her heart it wasn't the 3rd!) and had a feeling it might be the place she belonged to. Everyone was nice to her and even though she was a Kuchiki, they treated her as if she was one of them, their companion. Thanks to Captain Ukitake and Lieutenant Shiba for the first time she felt she could be herself, she felt normal. And welcome.

That was why she couldn't fail them. At the moment she was on a mission in the Human World as a part of a Hollow-exterminating squad. There were six of them.

Against around thirty Hollows.

Six rookies stood no chance against them or actually two of the rookies, for one was dead, two were seriously wounded, another one was trying to tend their injuries, and so it was only Rukia and her last companion who were trying their very best to fend off Hollows' attack. They were trapped in a dead alley, already exhausted from the fight.

They had contacted Soul Society for a back-up, but who knew when someone would arrive. And they didn't have much time – with every second their bodies were feeling more and more sluggish, the time of their reactions was becoming slower, their reiatsu weaker, their zanpakutōs heavier, their minds less focused. In short, the fatigue was mercilessly beginning to take its toll on them.

"I'll try to distract those two big and then you finish them off," Rukia said to her companion and before he managed to reply, she ran on the building's wall and jumping in the air, she started an incantation for a Spell. "Hadō no san— Ugh!"

Suddenly behind her appeared another Hollow and hit her square on the back, sending her flying. She crashed hard into a roof and scraped against it painfully for few metres. She wanted to quickly get up, but her body refused to move; it seemed she had reached her limit. And what was worse, a rhino-like Hollow was charging at her. She closed her eyes ready to receive a fatal blow.

Then, unexpectedly, she felt someone pulling her by her waist and she found herself pressed protectively against someone's chest.

"Ikorose, Shinsō."

"Captain Ichimaru…" she breathed out with eyes wide in surprise, recognising the voice.

"Ah, made it in time. Hold on tight an' leave the rest to us," Gin told her referring to himself and his lieutenant. His tone was as carefree as always.

Without thinking much, she put her arms around his neck. From the corner of her eye with amazement she observed as he in the means of seconds eliminated all the Hollows. He was a truly terrifying fighter, however she felt safe holding onto him. At least she didn't feel threatened by anything nor anyone except Ichimaru himself.

"T'was the last one, I s'ppose," he commented. "Ya're 'kay there, Rukia-chan?"

"Yes, you can put me down now, Captain Ichimaru," she told him awkwardly, but there was no reaction from him as if he hadn't heard her.

The 4th Division's members that had come with the back-up were already treating her companions' injuries and when they were ready to move the wounded, they departed for Soul Society. Rukia still wasn't able to free herself from his hold and with every moment she felt more and more uneasy.

"Captain Ichimaru, what is the condition of Kuchiki Rukia?" inquired one of the medics, noticing her being carried by the silver-haired captain.

"She's fine," Gin answered cheerfully with a wide grin. "Nothin' too serious, but I'll take 'er to the 4th Division, just in case."

"Understood, sir."

"Captain Ichimaru, I can walk there by myself," Rukia said, this time loudly enough that there was no way he couldn't have heard her.

"I've to make sure Capt'n Kuchiki-san's lil' sis is safe and sound," he replied after a pause in that exasperatingly blithe manner.

"I'm really fine," she said forcibly, trying not to hiss at him in irritation. Why did everyone view her through the prism of her family when she wasn't even a Kuchiki by blood? Keeping her annoyance to herself, she added politely, "And I wouldn't want you to devote your precious time for something this trivial, sir."

"Nonsense," Gin chuckled at her excessively formal way of addressing him. "An' 4th Division is right next to mine, so few minutes won't kill me."

Rukia had never felt more embarrassed in her life.

And what was worse – after this mission Nii-sama made sure that she wouldn't get any seated position and therefore wouldn't be sent on any mission that might put her in danger. All over again she could hear whispers behind her back mocking her that she was the very precious and fragile Kuchiki girl.

Of course she blamed it on Ichimaru, that bastard.

«She had always thought that he relished in her suffering…»

Kaien-dono had died…

No, she had killed him.

Today had been his funeral, yet Rukia hadn't attended it for she didn't think she could face his family – she wasn't worthy enough. Her presence would only profane the sacred ceremony. Even if she tried apologising as fervently as possible, putting her whole self into the words and no matter how much she regretted her deed, it would be only an offence to them. Because she was despicable. She was unforgivable. And above all, she was weak. Not only physically, but her heart too was one of the weakest things that ever existed. How come it had got the right to even come into existence was beyond her.

She still could feel his blood on her hands, smell its metallic odour. No matter how many times she washed them, she couldn't get rid of those stains, they were haunting her, reminding her of her sin.

And he had even thanked her!

For what? Being a coward? For saving her own pitiful life at the cost of his?

Rukia was walking near the place of Kaien-dono's death. She was crying hard, her tears getting mixed with the rain that was heavily pouring down from the leaden sky. Yes, the weather quite suited her current mood. It seemed that the sun would never appear again, at least not for her. Not that she deserve it, anyway.

She didn't know where she was going. Because of the rain and tears, she could see practically nothing in front of her, but honestly she couldn't care less. She was drenched to the bone, her body was numb, just like her mind and heart.

The petite Shinigami suddenly tripped over a tree root and fell to the muddy ground. She lay like this for few moments and then rolled over on her back. The rain was hitting her face, forcing her to close her eyes. A fleeting observation passed through her mind that her eyelids were getting heavier and heavier and that maybe she was on a good way to getting hypothermia. She might even die, but that perspective didn't frighten her; quite the contrary – she found it rather comforting.

To die a lone death, away from others, forgotten just like it should be, just like she deserved it…

However her dark musings were disturbed by a voice scarcely audible through the sound of the pouring rain.

"Rukia-chan?"

No, not him, passed through her mind as a grimace of displeasure found its way to her face.

"Rukia-chan?" he repeated and she felt him putting his hand on her arm. She slowly lifted her heavy eyelids and saw him crouching over her with an umbrella.

"Leave me alone, Ichimaru," she said in a weak voice, not caring she was rude to her superior.

"Ar'ya all right? Everyone's lookin' fer ya," Gin said and moving his hand to her cheek he noticed worriedly, "Ya're freezin'."

She didn't reply, only continued to stare at him with glassy eyes. However finding his expression weird (he looked kind of concerned with his brows knitted together and without his signature wide smile), she looked away from him.

"Ya'll get sick like that," he spoke again and made an attempt to lift her up, but she somehow shoved him away.

"I told you to leave me alone, Ichimaru," she repeated roughly, this time with some force to her voice and leaning against the tree she dragged herself up, her legs barely supporting her. He tried to help her, but she pushed his hands away.

"What's wrong with ya?" Gin asked, catching her wrist.

"None of your business," Rukia hissed, trying to pull her hand away, but his grip was firm.

"'Tis 'bout Shiba-kun, ain't it?" he questioned her straightforwardly.

The images of her deceased commanding officer flashed through her mind and her eyes clouded with sorrow. Soon they began filling with more tears and she averted her gaze away from the silver-haired captain. Kaien-dono. It hurt so much… The fact that he was gone… And that she was the one who had taken his life… She would never be able to atone for this… There was no forgiveness for her.

"He's dead, ya can't do anythin' 'bout it," the captain of the 3rd Division told her gently, squeezing her wrist in an attempt of comfort.

"Shut up," the petite Shinigami growled, looking angrily at him and made another attempt to free herself from his grasp.

Not discouraged, he continued, "Ya did everythin' to save 'im, but 'twas too late."

"I killed him, don't you understand?" Rukia yelled at him, finally snatching her hand away from his grip.

"'Twasn't ya who killed 'im!" he raised his voice. It seemed he was getting weary from her pertinacious self-blaming.

"Go to Hell, Ichimaru!" she spat at him vehemently. He knew nothing of what had happened that day! How could he assume anything? He had no right!

"Why can't ya accept ya ain't at fault?" the silver-haired captain asked her in a gentler tone but still some tension resounded in it. "Why d'ya beat yerself up fer somethin' ya ain't responsible fer?"

Rukia only glared at him and made an attempt to go away, even though her legs felt weak.

Undaunted, Gin persisted, "Shiba-kun stupidly rush'd into enemy's lair without learnin' the situation first. If anythin'—"

"Shut up!" she bellowed at him and with contemptuous glare she cruelly added in a growl, "You disgust me. Go away."

An emotion passed across his face but he quickly masked it and his face took on the look of impassiveness. "I'm not leavin' withou'cha," he told her firmly.

"Just do me a favour and go kill yourself," she snapped at him.

"Ya leave me no other choice, Rukia," Gin said coldly, however a grin made its way to his face and before she could react, she felt a hit to the back of her head and the world went black.

«She had always thought that for him, she was simply an entertainment…»

Rukia was hurriedly walking towards her Division's Headquarters, but when she was turning a corner, suddenly someone appeared right in front of her. She managed to catch a sight of captain's white haori and so not wanting to bump into any of her superiors (after all it could be Captain Zaraki or Captain Kurotsuchi), she clumsily jumped backwards and loosing her footing, she tripped and fell on her butt.

"Oya, Rukia-chan, what're ya doin' on the floor?" came an amused voice of none other than Ichimaru Gin.

Her ears turned scarlet; thankfully they were covered with her hair so her embarrassment wasn't too evident. She didn't know what was worse – falling over in front of the captain of the 3rd Division or running into him. At least he wasn't laughing his arse off at her expense. However he did something much more disturbing…

To her horror he extended his hand offering her a help in getting up. But she didn't want to touch him! A chill ran down her spine at the very thought of it. However it would be rude of her if she didn't accept his help…

"Well?" he asked her, tilting his head to the side. "D'ya intend to spend yer whole day on the floor?"

Tentatively shaking her head, she grudgingly grasped his hand and allowed him to lift her off the ground.

"I don't bite, see?" he chuckled, still holding her hand, his trademark grin as wide as ever.

To Rukia's surprise, his touch wasn't as repelling as she thought it would be. Actually his hand was nicely warm, when she had thought it would be all sticky and cold. Despite his slim physique, his grip felt strong, too. And for being – well, Ichimaru – it was… caring even.

Eventually he let go of her hand and ruffling her hair, he told her, "Ya should train yer balance some more."

Before she could say anything, he disappeared.

«She had always thought that his life mission was to make her miserable…»

Rukia was walking with guards down the bridge from the Shrine of Penitence towards the Sōkyoku Hill. She didn't feel anything, didn't fear anything, she had no regrets, only hope that Ichigo and others would somehow get out of this alive. She had made a decision that for her last wish she would beg Captain-Commander Yamamoto to spare their lives and send them home. It wasn't much, was it?

Her heart was tranquil, however this changed when she saw Ichimaru casually striding in her direction.

He started with taunting her wickedly for her rudeness, only to say he was joking once she apologised. After that he revealed the reason why he had come here – that he dropped by to tease her. Not that she expected anything else. Every time he appeared before her, he teased her maliciously, therefore she didn't think this time would be any different. And to rile her up just before her execution? He just couldn't miss this opportunity, could he?

Then he agitated her with a seemingly offhand comment that Renji was still alive, just to voice her fears that he would die soon anyway. And he started on such nonsense as the reason Renji had got cut up was because he had made an attempt to rescue her. But the worst of his taunting was yet to come…

"Are you afraid?" Gin asked out of blue.

Her eyes widened in shock at this question, but she quickly narrowed them in a glare, trying to push away any unnecessary thoughts that threatened to surface in the back of her mind. No, she wasn't afraid. She had accepted her fate by now. She wasn't afraid, she wasn't…

"D'ya want me to save ya?" he offered nonchalantly without paying attention to the alarmed guards. "Not just you. Abarai-kun and the others, too."

"What?" Rukia asked in a weak voice. She honestly had no idea what he was up to. Was he serious? How could he save her? Or her friends? He was strong, yes, but… Besides what was in it for him? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. Then why? Maybe…

Unexpectedly, the silver-haired captain put his hand on her head. "Just kiddin'."

She looked at him disbelievingly. He just didn't…! No! NO!

"Bye-bye, Rukia-chan. Next time we shall meet in front of the Sōkyoku," he told her and turning on his heel, he sauntered away.

And she let out a long, painful cry at the top of her lungs, for he shattered her resolution. Just when she had accepted her impending death…! He gave her what she didn't wish for, what she was too afraid to hold onto, what she hadn't allowed herself to feel… The hope of surviving… He had made her want to live again!

She had never hated him more.

«She had always thought that one day he would do her in, one way or another…»

Rukia had absolutely no idea what was going on.

Captain Aizen appeared to be back from the dead and apparently wasn't that kind and affable person everyone had thought he was. He turned out to be a master of deception and his zanpakutō suited his treacherous character well. Up till now a veil of illusion surrounded him and his schemes, but finally he had shown his true colours.

He was a traitor and with him two other captains. She couldn't believe that Captain Tōsen, the champion of justice, was one of them, of all people. But somehow she wasn't surprised to know that the other one was Ichimaru. If there was someone involved in a big and devious scheme – it had to be him.

Aizen got really talkative and with self-satisfaction disclosed that he was the one who had sentenced her to death in the flames of Sōkyoku. In order to do that he had assassinated the entire Central 46 Chambers. He even admitted to experiments on Hollows, Pluses and even Shinigamis. From his words she gathered that he was the one who had created the Hollow that had taken the control of Kaien-dono's body and had led him to his death.

If all those revelations were hard to believe in, then Rukia had no more doubts after witnessing him cut Renji and Ichigo down and blast Captain Komamura – a man who was supposed to be close to Aizen – with a high level Destructive Spell.

All because he wanted more power. For what purpose – she didn't know, but she was in the possession of a tool that could make it possible. From what Aizen had told them, its name was Hōgyoku and it was a substance that could dissolve the boundary between Shinigami and Hollow creating a new superior existence. It had been created by Urahara, who had once implanted it into her soul, unbeknownst to her.

And Aizen wanted to extract it from her.

He was at the moment admiring the effect of his Spell on Captain Komamura. Rukia wanted to use this opportunity to escape, but unfortunately her body was too weary from the overwhelming reiatsu surrounding her. Besides, just a second after the thought of a getaway crossed her mind, Ichimaru appeared next to her, grabbing her by the red collar she was wearing since the day she had been transferred to the Shrine of Penitence.

"Ya skipp'd the incantation fer a Spell at the 90th level, how terrifyin'!" he said merrily to Aizen without even sparing her a glance. "When did ya become able to do that?"

Rukia was dejectedly beginning to accept her fate – that she would die on this Hill after all. If not reduced to ashes by Sōkyoku, then killed by Aizen's hand. Her downhearted thoughts, however, were disturbed by a soft, almost inaudible voice.

"Everythin' will be all right."

Rukia's eyes widened in surprise. It was Ichimaru, she would recognise his creepy voice and way of talking any time. She dared to take a look at him, but his eyes were fixed on Aizen to whose explanation he commented:

"I see, so Spells on this level are more difficult to handle after all."

Even though Rukia was sure she had heard him right, she didn't believe him. She never had nor would, for that matter. And sure, when Aizen approached them, he casually handed her to his old captain. She concluded that once again it had been an attempt to tease her. Unfortunately for him, she was already too resigned to even care.

That was why she did nothing, only stared when Aizen thrust his hand into her chest. She flinched at first expecting pain, but there was none. With morbid amazement she observed him take out a small object out of her and then she hit the ground when he let her fall to admire the Hōgyoku. Surprisingly, the hole in her chest disappeared seconds later. Was she… all right?

"Unfortunately you are no longer of any use to me," suddenly she heard Aizen and once again he grabbed her by the collar and raised in the air, "Kill her, Gin."

So she would be dying on this Hill, after all.

"It can't be helped…" Ichimaru said as nonchalantly as usual.

With difficulty she turned her head to look at him. So he had lied in the end. Nothing will be all right. It was ironic that he, who had forced a hope of survival on her, would be the one to finish her off. He must be delighted at this, no doubt – a perfectly devious ploy. Strangely yet, she noted, the smile on his face wasn't as wide as usual.

"Ikorose, Shinsō," he said after a moment and Rukia braced herself for her impending death.

But once again it didn't come. Her brother was there in time to save her.

"Nii-sama…" she whispered in surprise, but soon it changed into horror when she noticed that he was wounded. Ichimaru's sword had pierced right through him injuring him badly.

"Why? Why did you save me?" she was asking him in despair. "Why, Nii-sama?"

Seeing her brother in such state, Rukia could feel her hatred towards that silver-haired traitor grow even stronger. She'd have never supposed she could be capable of such great animosity, but this man did something unforgivable.

«She had always thought that he simply loved taunting her…»

Rukia was lying on the ground wounded quite badly after a lone fight with some Arrancars in Hueco Mundo. She had won, though right now her body was all battered up and refused to move. She was keeping her hand on her abdomen where was a deep cut that bled profusely and unfortunately her attempts on staunching it were ineffective. At this rate she was going to die. She just hoped that her friends were all right and that Soul Society would win this war.

The petite Shinigami closed her eyes, breathing out heavily. So this was it?

"Ara, Rukia-chan, ya ain't lookin' good," suddenly came a voice. His voice. She didn't want to look at him, especially if his face would be the last one she would see before dying. Could it get any worse?

"Ichimaru," Rukia hissed spitefully coughing on her own blood. She opened her heavy lidded eyes to glare at him. Shit, his presence didn't bode anything good. And he was covered in blood. Bad sign. With the last bits of strength, she lifted her Sode no Shirayuki and pointed it at him.

"That's dangerous, ya know?" Gin told her cheerfully and with a swift movement he easily took her zanpakutō. "Come, I don't want ya dyin' 'ere on me."

She didn't have the strength to fight him and so she could do nothing when he gently lifted her up and with Shunpo quickly made his way somewhere.

"Just hold in there," he told her softly, tightening his grip on her.

She was slowly losing her consciousness, however the last thing she saw were his eyes.

Full of worry.

When Rukia woke up, she was genuinely surprised to find herself surrounded by her friends. Inoue was healing her, at the moment focusing on her minor cuts, for she had already taken care of the most life-threatening ones. Next to her she saw concerned faces of Renji, Ichigo, Sado and Ishida…

Moreover, it seemed they were in the Human World, in Karakura Town.

At first, Rukia didn't know what was going on, she was completely at a loss. Not that she complained – quite on the contrary – but she had a hard time believing the surroundings she found herself in. Was it a dream? An illusion? Because it definitely wasn't what she had expected to see after regaining her consciousness (if she would, in the first place). What had happened with Ichimaru?

"What—" she started, knitting her eyebrows, but was cut off by Ichigo.

"We WON!" he told her with a wide grin and was immediately joined by the rest in loud and cheerful cries of triumph.

"How? But…" she didn't know what to say to this. And she just couldn't rejoice with them for she still was too confused. Everything was great and all, but where did Ichimaru fit into this? All puzzles had been pieced together, however there was one left that seemed to be from a completely different puzzle set.

"Well, we somehow managed to defeat most of the Arrancars, few fled though," Ichigo started explaining, here and there backed with eager nods of other boys and Inoue. "But then there was a battle with Aizen…" he trailed off, adding to the suspense. "And you won't believe what happened!"

"What?" she whispered hoarsely, not really knowing what to expect.

"Ichimaru," Renji said as if it clarified everything.

Rukia frowned at his ambiguousness, however this one name made her agitated, arising her curiosity to hear the rest of the story, but at the same time she began to feel a little bit edgy. "What about him?"

"He killed him and ran off."

Now that was unexpected! "What?" she asked, wanting to make sure she had heard that right.

"Ichimaru. Killed. Aizen," Ichigo said slowly so the meaning of those words could reach her more easily.

Rukia only blinked few times trying to understand the information she had just been told. It wasn't that simple. This made no sense! But— but it was Ichimaru! The Ichimaru! The most heartless, malicious, cruel, spiteful, twisted and sick fox in the whole universe! How could have it happened? Was the world coming to an end?

"No-one could believe it," Ishida remarked, seeing her more than evident disbelief. "Aizen too seemed surprised."

"Yeah," added Ichigo. "Everyone was so dumbfounded, no-one even started pursuing him."

The petite Shinigami somehow forced herself to accept their words to be true, but there was another thing that perplexed her to no end. Why, before losing her consciousness, had she seen him of all people? That had had to be some twisted dream, right? A delirium at the verge of the death… Because it couldn't have possibly been as if… No… Just no…

"How… how was I saved?" she asked tentatively, preparing herself for another revelation.

"About that…" Renji began but hesitated a little as if he too had a hard time believing what he was about to say. "Well, it seems when Ichimaru ran off, he somehow found himself near you. Guess, some human emotions awoke in him and he brought you to Inoue."

"I see…" Rukia said, however she understood absolutely nothing. She furrowed her brows in a deep thought. So it hadn't been some kind of a twisted dream… But why would he do that? Hadn't he been running away that time? But if he had taken her to Inoue, then… "Where is he now?"

"He's been transported to a cell," supplied Renji.

"What's going to happen with him?" she asked, unable to shush a small worry that was stroking her heart. Did it mean that he had sacrificed his own freedom to save her life? But why? What was in it for him? Because there just had to be something!

"Don't know, probably a trial…" he guessed. "And then who knows…?" the crimson-haired Shinigami trailed off, but everyone knew that the highest penalty was among one of the most possible verdicts.

Rukia nodded her head slowly, "I see…"

She really was glad to be alive, however it meant she was indebted for a lifetime to a man she absolutely despised.


Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed the first part! (^ε^)

Until the second part! Cheers!

朝霧 -Asagiri-