Renji sat and watched his friend as she took the lieutenant of squad nine under Ichigo Kurosaki who would be captain. As the head captain made them both their appropriate titles he noticed how proud his friend looked. After all she was a noble and she finally got what she deserved.

A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. Rukia was shuffling her feet in anticipation. Rukia was staring at Ichigo with love and pride in her eyes. Renji smiled at her, he had never seen her so happy. How could she not be though? She was going to be married to that soon-to-be captain in just a few weeks.

He looked back up at his friend, Ember, who he had known for as long as he'd known Rukia. Ember had long straight hair and bright green eyes filled with determination. She had disappeared for a long time, not long after she and Renji had joined squad eleven all of those years ago, and went to the world of the living.

Without meaning to Renji drifted into that time when he first me that fiery, young red head. In the Rukon district. So many years ago before the soul reaper academy. In the time where he and Rukia were poor and living on the streets.


A young Renji poked around the corner of the house that held the nobles who were visiting the seventy-eighth division of the Rukon. A younger, smaller Rukia peeked around him. "Can you see anything Renji?" she asked straining her head for a glance. Renji sighed "No. Nothing at all. There's too many people in the way."

There was a group of people outside the house but not a very big one. A generous amount of spiritual pressure was coming from the building. Rukia frowned "Well, then what are we waiting for?" she said turning to her friends, then she turned and walked out of the shadows that they were hiding in. "Rukia!" Renji hissed then he followed behind her and their other friends did the same.

As the group got to the front of the crowd the door t the building opened, revealing a man in shinigami robes.

The man smiled at the crowd and stepped out revealing more people who must have been his family. An older woman who must have been his wife was dressed in a lovely kimono, a boy who looked about eighteen also dressed in shinigami robes, and four younger girls in different patterns of kimonos.

The man bowed slightly to the crowd, "Thank you all for welcoming me and my family into your town. My son has just been inducted into the thirteen guard squad." As he announced this the crowd cheered. The man held up his hands for silence and the crowd obeyed.

"Let me introduce my family. I am Alexander Italli and this is my family," he gestured to the people standing next to him. "First, my wife, Aiko" the woman smiled and bowed respectfully. Her brown hair was tied in a neat bun. "Next my son, Alexander. Xandar for short." The boy bowed like his mother. He had red hair like his father with green eyes to match. "And finally my daughters: Gabriella, Serena, Marina, and Ember." As the girl names were called they bowed immediately. All except for the girl at the end. The girl with the long red hair and green eyes. The one they called Ember.

To Rukia it looked as if she thought about not bowing but decided against it. Her eyes portrayed rebellion but no shame. Unlike her sisters hair, whose were all pinned up like their mother's, Ember's was down and it fell to her mid-back. If you looked at her parents you could see it was her father she resembled most and not her mother. She was pretty but had a tomboy feel to her.

Rukia couldn't help but look, she wanted to meet this girl but was afraid to approach a noble. Ember has been looking down most of the time but she could feel someone's eyes on her now. She looked up and saw the petite girl with raven hair and violet eyes looking at her.

To Ember she looked nice enough and she had never really had friends. "Maybe she wants to be my friend" Ember thought. Ember raised her hand and waved at Rukia. Rukia smiled in return and waved back. Renji looked down at his small friend like she was crazy but Rukia wasn't paying attention. It wasn't until then that Renji realized the red head at the end of the line. He had been focusing on the two shinigami in front of him.

At that moment the crowd clapped and started dispersing. Except for Renji and Rukia's group. Ember's father came and put a hand on his daughter's shoulder. "Are you ready sweetheart?" he asked her softly. Ember looked up at her father with the same eyes reflected in a younger face, "Papa? May I stay here for awhile? I want to play." she asked.

Alexander looked over at the children who were watching them across the street the he looked at his wife. Aiko smiled and nodded her approval. Alexander smiled then looked at his youngest daughter, the only one out of all his daughters with the most spiritual pressure, "Be back at the gate before the stars come out and tell the guard exactly who you are."

Ember grinned and nodded. She took a step forward but then ran back and hugged her father tightly, "Thank you, Papa." She then proceeded to walk over to the other children.

When Ember reached the group of five a hint of a blush went to her cheeks. Rukia saw this and stepped forward with a smile "Hi, I'm Rukia. What's your name?" Rukia asked. Ember smiled "I'm Ember" she replied smiling as well. Rukia jerked her thumb at the boys behind her "this is Renji, Karu, Jariah, and Tessai." Ember waved "Nice to meet you" she greeted. Renji stepped forward "So what's a noble like you doing in this area?" he asked. Glaring, Rukia yelled "Renji! That's so rude." "No it's ok. I would be suspicious too," Ember said calmly "The truth is I have no idea what we're doing her. My father just said we were taking a trip on my brother's behalf."

Ember looked down "If you want to go I will." she said sounding sad. Rukia looked up at her "No! We don't wan to you go! We thought you would like to hang out." she told her hoping she could smooth over Renji's comment. Rukia really wanted to be friends with Ember. "Really?" ember asked curious. "Absolutely" Rukia confirmed.

The girls smiled at each other. Then Renji spoke up "Can you fight?" he asked Ember. Ember looked back at him "Yes, I'm the best in my class but I'm not sure if I would waste my breath on you" she replied in a sarcastic voice. Renji's jaw dropped but Ember just laughed "Just kidding, Renji right?" Renji nodded then smiled "You're pretty tough for a noble, huh?" he asked. Ember smiled and nodded. "Well then I guess we'll get along fine" Renji said as they headed off down the road.