Chapter Two

"Lieutenant Renji Abarai," A cool voice said to the red head with tattoos. Renji had been called into his captain's office for something. He had yet to figure out the reason, but usually when he's called in so formally by scroll, he was either in trouble or someone had just been promoted. Renji blinked slowly and looked down at his captain who was sitting in front of him.

The large oak wood desk reeked of higher class and aristocracy. It was a long desk with cherry blossom trees craved into the sides, along with braces and petals around the sides. On top was a stack of papers and an ink set with brush, all of the items on the desk were organized to perfection. Renji always grimaced at the orderliness. He wasn't use to such cleanliness, it made him sick, but he would never reveal that to his superior officer.

"Yes Captain Kuchiki?" Renji said with a respectful tone. He stood straight and orderly just for Byakuya. He hated doing this, but he never wanted to seem weak at all to his captain.

"About Rukia," Byakuya started slowly. He sighed softly and turned his back to his subordinate. Byakuya never showed emotion, but for some reason now was the hardest for him to hide it. 'Am I getting weak?' He thought to himself he then head someone clear their throat.


"Renji," He started again. "Did you see Rukia at all today?"

"Um Captain I-"

"You know that I gave you orders not to go see her correct? And I do hope you know when to follow them Renji. However since I know the emotional link you did share with her years ago, I will allow a little time to see her before she dies," Byakuya closed his eyes and waited for a response from his Lieutenant.

"Captain," Renji sounded moved, but also slightly confused. It was very unlike his cold, stoic Captain to bestow privileges such as those onto his subordinates, he didn't even give Rukia such honor before she was sent to the human world. He nodded slowly and thought on his words. It was a great chance for Renji to help a soon to be executed friend. He needed to find Ichigo though, even though he hated the orange-haired Shinigami poser, he had to help him. It was one of Rukia's dying wishes of course so he had to oblige her no matter how he felt. As long as she was happy, he could go one. However the thought of her out of his life, her life being erased from this existence never really took affect until he actually thought about it. Now he was plotting on how to get her out of this mess. He would do anything to help her, even if it meant forming a very unwanted alliance with Ichigo Kurosaki.

"Renji," Byakuya said coolly. "You are dismissed."

"Oh yes Captain and thank you very much," The Lieutenant of the 6th Squad bowed to his superior officer and walked out. A relieved sigh did not escape the sharp ears of the every alert Captain Kuchiki. He smirked to himself, but then it quickly dropped as he stared at the cherry blossom trees. Slowly the proud trees lost their petals and soon a large gust of air would blow the beautiful petals out of the Squad 6 courtyard and onward out to the other parts to Soul Society.

'At a time I too wished to be just as them. Without a care in the world, and being able to fly into any part of the world I wanted to, but that is not the path of a noble,' Byakuya thought bitterly. He then turned back to his desk to continue the work at hand.

Renji walked out of the Squad 6 courtyard and closed his eyes softly. He started to try and track Ichigo through all the reitsu in the Soul Society. That was not an easy task, even if he was a lieutenant. He tried to track him as hard as he could, but ended up with nothing. He sighed softly and shunpoed off looking for him. He hated the fact that he could be so easily manipulated by the young Kuchiki girl. He cursed his very soul to hell because he didn't want to help her relationship with Ichigo. She loved Ichigo, but Renji loved her as well.

'What about Renji Abarai? When is it my turn to get the girl in the end and surpass all the odds to save her and defeat my captain?' Renji groaned in annoyance and stopped on a small roof overlooking Squad 4. He sat on his bottom and frowned.

"Why doesn't she love me?"

"Maybe because you aren't trying the right way Renji," A soft feminine voice from behind him called out. Renji turned around to stare at the legs of a certain Squad 10 Lieutenant.

"Skipping out on work again Rangiku?" Renji asked with a bored tone and looked up at her. A warm happy smile greeted his sullen expression. She frowned and leaned down to his face.

"Work is so boring don'tcha know Renji?" Rangiku purred softly and grinned at him. She patted his head and sighed taking a seat next to him her long strawberry blonde locks shifting as she looked up into the sky. "But that's not important, what's with the long face? Why are you so sad sweetie? It's not normal Renji behavior. You usually have very few emotions and sadness isn't one of them."

"It's nothing Rangiku I just-"

"Bull crap!" Rangiku scolded and sighed softly. She wore a cute little pout and leaned into him whispering. "It's Rukia isn't it?"

"W-What?" Renji stuttered with a blush. He looked at his fellow Lieutenant and then turned away. He didn't want to admit it out loud, but Rangiku was right. He then turned to look at her again and frowned. "Yeah…"

"Just as I thought," Rangiku said and pulled back from being close to him. She folded her legs under her form to sit and released a thoughtful sigh. "Well Renji, we all knew this was going to come. Especially since you haven't talked to her until you captured her in the human world, after 100 years she would drift from your grasp. You can't expect her to stay with you for so long sweetie. Not speaking to her for so long is like a slap in the face saying you aren't interested."

"But I just," Renji paused and moment staring at the rooftop. "I don't know! I wanted her to be happy. I mean she's a noble now, even if I was still her friend, we couldn't be together. That fact drives me insane, but it's even more insane that she's so fixed on Ichigo."

"So that's his name," Rangiku said softly and looked into space in thought. "It means "one who protects" doesn't it? Or was it just "strawberry" Renji?"

"Hell if I know! Do you know where he is? Rukia needs me to find him…"

"Well," Rangiku started softly. "Captain Zaraki was just battling him, so I have no clue where he is now. Oh wait! I know where! Captain Ukitake told me that he was with a woman named Yoruichi. Ask Captain Ukitake, he probably knows where she took him."

"Thanks Rangiku!" Renji jumped to his feet and jumped off of the roof using his Shunpo to speed off. Rangiku watched him grow that new found enthusiasm and blinked in utter confusion. She could not fathom the reasons why he would be happy that he could find Ichigo. They were supposed to be enemies fighting for Rukia's love, but then she thought more on it. Maybe he came to terms with the fact that she loves Ichigo and only Ichigo. Maybe he's just going to let them get together. That was very noble of Renji, but so very unlike him to give up a fight so easily. Something had to be up.

"What could you be thinking Abarai-kun?" Rangiku mumbled to herself and didn't feel the presence looming behind her.

"Slacking off again Matsumoto?" A familiar voice from behind asked. The temperature around them seemed to drop ten degrees. Rangiku blinked and spun around scared.

"C-Captain Hitsugaya! W-What are you doing here!? I thought you were off helping Ukitake-taicho with his paperwork!" Rangiku said and started to back up slowly. Her captain took a step forward following her slowly, as though he were an animal cornering his prey. She stared up at him with a helpless look to meet cold angry blue eyes of her captain's. For someone so small, he was to be respected highly, but also feared.

"We got finished early Rangiku," He grabbed her arm and pulled her up softly. "Come on, we have work to finish!"

And with that she was pulled with a whine to finish her paperwork. Oh how she hated paperwork.

"A greater power than we can contradict. Hath thwarted our intents."

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

"I assume you don't care about Rukia's life!" Yelled an angry violet haired female to a young substitute soul reaper, she gave him the most furious glare. All Ichigo could do was look away. He was never intimidated so easily, but a look like that, especially from a girl nearly killed him. "WELL I'M WAITING! Are you gonna go head first into a fight again you dumbass!?"

"No…" He said softly as he glanced at her face, he quickly looked down ashamed. "They got so close to saving her…"

"YOU IDIOT!" Rukia screamed as she glared at Ichigo. She wore her white kimono and gripped it tightly. "I TOLD YOU NOT TO COME BACK! I told you to stay away and-"

"As if I'd listen to you!" Ichigo screamed back and glared. "I wouldn't let you throw away your life you idiot! Besides I'm doing you a favor here and I promised I protect you Rukia, so shut up and let me protect you!."

"Ichigo…" Rukia said softly and had a sad look.

Ichigo turned to Hanataro and smiled, nodding in gratitude. He then turned to Byakuya who was staring him down. He glared back at the noble and gripped his sword tightly. He noted the new spiritual pressure slowly making its way here. He then turned back and saw a white haired captain. He looked at him in question, but then turned to Byakuya and pulled out her sword fully.

"Well if you aren't going to move, then I guess I'm going to have to make you move," Ichigo said with a smirk and got into a stance.

"How dare you speak to me in such a manner boy," Byakuya said coldly and pulled out his sword slowly. "I suppose I will have to teach you not to be so full of yourself. You can give up now if you'd like. However seeing as how you're being very disrespectful, you don't get the right to be able to surrender peacefully so we can arrest you. Now let us begin."

"Fine by me!" Ichigo cried out and charged him, but Byakuya was already behind him. He blinked slowly and blocked the attack as best he could. He started loosing blood slowly. Then Yoruichi appeared.

"Ichigo, you idiot! I told you that you weren't ready to talk on Byakuya," Yoruichi said angrily and looked at Byakuya. "Long time no see Little Byakuya..."

Then everything was a blur for Ichigo.

"No they didn't," Yoruichi said snapping Ichigo out of his thoughts. She pulled up the Zanpakuto doll and sighed softly. "Now while you were asleep I promised to get you ready with bankai. You will be trained by one person who knows you best in this world. Stab your sword through the doll."

Ichigo blinked and stood slowly. He held out his sword and walked to the doll. After staring at it in question for a moment he did as Yoruichi ordered and stabbed it. His Zanpakuto disappeared and turned into Zangetsu. He blinked slowly in surprise and saw all the different swords appear out of the ground. He noticed Yoruichi disappear and turned to Zangetsu.

"Ichigo," He said in a cool deep voice, picking up a sword he turned to him. "You will have to fight me to achieve bankai and save Rukia. Find a sword; find one that can defeat me."

"Find a sword?" He asked and looked around at all the swords. Then without warning Zangetsu charged him. Ichigo blinked unarmed and his eyes went wide, he ran off as Zangetsu slashed at him. He started to pick up weapons to fight with. He picked up a large jagged edged sword and helped it up to block. With a stroke of bad luck the sword block in half and Ichigo was slashed. He then jumped away and ran with blood running down his chest.

"Heh this should be entertaining," Yoruichi purred with a smirk on her face.

"Tempt not a desperate man."

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

"Captain Ukitake!"

"Yes Kiyone?" Called her white haired captain, he looked down at her from where he had opened the door. A soft warm smile graced his handsome features. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yes sir," Kiyone started and moved to the side. She let Renji step beside her and bow low. "Lieutenant Abarai is here, he wants to ask you something."

"Good Afternoon Captain Ukitake," Renji said and stood straight. Kiyone bowed and left the two males to their business. Renji looked a little down at the Captain and blushed in slight embarrassment.

"Well this is a pleasant surprise Renji, please come inside," Jushiro said with a smile and walked inside his office and sat behind his desk. Renji closed the door behind him and took a seat in front of the Captain's desk. He sighed softly and looked down. Jushiro blinked at the melancholy Lieutenant and scratched the back of his head. Ukitake was the type of person anyone could go to for advice and he'd keep it completely confidential. He was use to handling people who seemed very trouble just like Renji.

"Captain," Renji started slowly and looked at him frowning. "I know I could get in a lot of trouble for this, but I've come to the decision, I want to save Rukia. I just need to find Ichigo and Yoruichi; do you know where they ran off to? Rangiku said that you saw them run off somewhere."

Renji looked down waiting for the Captain to say something to him. He was waiting for him to through the book at him, arrest him, lock him up for hundreds of years. He didn't like going against Captain Ukitake, he was one of the nicer captains. It was like having Momo hold her sword to Captain Unohana. It just isn't something that would be natural to happen. He wanted the Squad 13 Captain to have a little remorse for him, especially since Rukia was one of his subordinates.

"Renji," Ukitake said with a smile. "Look at me okay?"

The Lieutenant lifted his sad eyes and blinked in confusion at the smile he was being given. He nodded slowly and waited for the Captain to speak.

"Good," Ukitake got up from his desk and locked the door to his office. He then closed all the windows and blinds. He sat down and lit a candle. "Alright Renji, you and I are safe to speak of this. Captain Kyoraku and I are trying to help save her as well. We both see it as she should not be punished for this. Especially since the crime was in good merit. However where Yoruichi took the ryoka, Ichigo, I think that you should try her old training ground. She made it a long time ago with her friend Kisuke Urahara. She might be hiding there. It's right near the second division, but it's down in a forest area."

"Captain Ukitake," Renji said in surprise. "Thank you so much for your help. Oh well, what are you and Captain Kyoraku trying to do?"

"We're going to break the Sōkyoku,"

End Chapter 2

Author Note: I'm not very pleased with Chapter 2, to me it seemed a little rushed. Sorry guys, but I hope you still like it.