I know! Such a quick update! Unfortunately, I'm not usually like this, but let's enjoy it while we can.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded to the first chapter, whether it be by adding this story to your favourites, alerts, or reviewing. I really appreciate it. (:
Yes, yes, I changed the title of this. Because I was looking at one of my old screen names and I was all "Zomg that fits perfectly!"
So yes. Read. :D

Disclaimer: Tite Kubo owns Bleach.

Paper Hearts

Chapter Two: Crash Tragic

"It's not like it's your fault, ya know," Kuukaku shifted her eyes to Yoruichi, both of her elbows leaning against the countertop.

"You wouldn't say that if you were me," she shook her head, her free locks of violet hair freely following suit.

"Well, I'm not you. So I'm sayin' it."

A small grin ghosted along Yoruichi's lips before disappearing.

"Nothing seems to be working," she pulled a stool up to the counter and rested her head in her arms, looking up at Kuukaku. "It's like I never existed to her."

Kuukaku took another swig of whatever it was that she had concocted this time around, then pushed the glass aside, waving her finger at Yoruichi.

"Then yer gonna have to do somethin' about it."

"…"

"Don'tcha look at me like that, Yoruichi," she sauntered over to the other side of the counter, throwing an arm over Yoruichi's shoulders. "I can't have you of all people bein' so depressed all the time. You're gonna have to be more direct. Kisuke can't do all yer dirty work, she was your little plaything to begin with," she added, pressing her cheek against Yoruichi's before being swatted away.

'Plaything?'

"I don't want to approach her directly. If something went wrong, I'd never get her back," she said the last part regretfully, turning away from Kuukaku.

'I love her.'

"Hey, if she fell in love with you once, you can get her to do it again."

"Not that easy."

"Or is it?" Kuukaku rubbed at her imaginary chin stubble before dodging another hit from Yoruichi. "I'm just sayin'," she shrugged. "It's a start."

"I don't want to start all over," Yoruichi frowned, swerving in her rotating stool to face the counter again. "I just want her to remember."

"If you try, ya might jog her memory."

Yoruichi glanced off into space, her eyebrows drawn together in thought as her fingertips drummed lightly against the hard surface. "What's the date tomorrow?"

"Hell if I know."

Yoruichi gently rolled her eyes, hopping up from her stool to check the calendar posted on the kitchen wall. It was still on the page for May. Then again, she was no housewife and she was the only person who lived in this gargantuan house, so certain things like calendars and dirty dishes were neglected. She flipped the pages to August and with a small smile, let go of the calendar, all the sheets going back into place and May was once again the front page.

"Well? What's that little smirk for?"

"Tomorrow is Tuesday."

"And on the third day…" Kuukaku began in a southern drawl, being abruptly cut off by the dark hand thwacking the back of her head.

"Shut up. Tuesday means that Kisuke has another session with her tomorrow," she responded with a slight smile, sliding back onto her stool.

"Gonna pull your moves on 'er?" Kuukaku elbowed her companion in the ribs with a wink and Yoruichi scoffed in response.

"If he doesn't piss her off too much, I might have an idea," Yoruichi curved her slim fingers around the handle of her coffee cup, though it remained otherwise untouched.

"Care to enlighten me?"

Yoruichi ran a smooth, cocoa hand through her hair with a light shake of her head. "I think I'm keeping this one to myself."

"Alright. Whatever it is, jus' don't scare her off," Kuukaku laughed, grabbing her keys from counter and slipping them into her pocket as she ignored the scowl Yoruichi sent her. "Anyway, you goin' to Rangiku's party tonight?"

"I thought she was staying with Soi?"

"Yep. It starts 'round seven tonight, so you should go," she walked toward the foyer, idly hanging in the area between inside the kitchen and the entrance of the house as she assessed Yoruichi's expression.

"Soi wouldn't let her throw a party. Not in her apartment," the goddess turned her head with a befuddled look on her face. "How in the hell did Rangiku pull that off?"

"Who cares?" Kuukaku shrugged it off, obviously not interested in how it happened. "Doesn't really matter. But if I don't see you there, I'ma kick yer ass," she added with a malicious grin, opening the front door shutting it behind her with a final smirk as she went.

Yoruichi smiled for only a moment, holding her gaze on the closed door before it was swept away as she glanced around her oversized kitchen, her oversized dining room. She'd inherited this place from her parents, and it was a beautiful house with dark, hardwood floors, a curved staircase that led to the upstairs which held enough rooms for her to start a hotel business. Soft, plush carpets covered the bedroom floors, the walls were traditional colours, though they held a certain elegance. Expensive paintings, photographs, and light fixtures were carefully placed among the walls. Every appliance was topnotch, everything was perfect. But now the house seemed far bigger than it ever had, emptier than it ever was. It lost a certain atmosphere that she had grown attached to.

A sigh heaved her shoulders up then down and she fumbled with the necklace resting against her collarbone, moving the clasp to the back of her neck.

Everything was perfect, so perfect.

And then that perfection had been shattered into shards of what could have been and even of what was. Memories forgotten, love lost, and a future that had once been paved was stripped from it's own foundations, leaving her lost and broken, unsure and angry.

As material as she seemed, Yoruichi could care less about items of value, she simply owned them because she could. She merely had the money to buy most anything she wanted, so she used it to her advantage. She had an extravagant lifestyle, though that wasn't what mattered to her. It never was. So when she had finally stumbled upon what it was that she truly wanted, it was like the wealth had fallen from her hands, entirely forgotten. Smiles and quickening heartbeats replaced money, sensual touches and blushes took the place of expensive cars and late night parties.

Soi had filled the void in her chest the moment they'd met and now that hole was gaping more than ever.

--x--

Soifon groaned as her apartment door made a 'click' behind her back, slumping downward slightly. Her eyes narrowed just as a yawn escaped her and she rubbed her eyes numbly with the back of her hand. Exhausted from college, she lacked the energy, not to mention the motivation, to hold herself up any longer and simply allowed her body to rather ungracefully drag down to the cool tile floor, lifeless limbs following behind. She nearly expected her worn exterior to stop responding, embracing the thought of a comatose state. Any escape from this exhaustion. Her weary eyes shifted sluggishly to her navy blue backpack, discarded on the floor beside her. She imagined the ungodly amount of textbooks that it contained, lolling her head forward into her hands.

'God, I can't do this anymore.'

She cocked her head to the side, craning her neck faintly as her shoulders heaved up to some extent at the sight of her distressed living room. An apple core, potato chip bags, an unpleasant amount of soda cans (whether they were empty or not, she wasn't sure), popcorn bags, cereal boxes, a sleeping Rangiku and other various things that needed to immediately be relocated to a trash can were strewn out about the room. She could not, and would not tolerate living in this mess. Doing so would drive her mad, she could hardly bare the thought of leaving her bed unmade in the morning.

She grudgingly brought herself to stand from the floor, hooking one of her backpack straps onto her right hand as she trudged over to the couch. Her eyes glanced from her backpack, to Rangiku, then to her backpack once again. Lifting it higher into the hair, she unzipped her backpack and, without a word, dumped the massive contents of her own schoolwork onto Rangiku's back with a blank expression. The older woman jumped a good few inches with a startled yelp, causing some of the loose leaf papers to fly into the air before gliding back down to the floor. And only then did a smirk trace the lines of Soifon's lips.

"Graahhggg, Soi-chan," she winced as a textbook or two connected with the floor from her movement.

Soifon twitched involuntarily at her name being said in such a manner.

"Wake up, this place is a mess," she murmured before walking into the kitchen in hopes of quieting her grumbling stomach.

"Just," Rangiku rested her hand over her mouth as she yawned, the other arm extending into the air for a stretch. "Give me few more…minutes," her words trailed off until she flopped back down onto the couch, one arm draped over the edge.

Soifon shuffled through the contents of her refrigerator, settling on a salad she had bought at a restaurant the night before.

"No, you've had all day to sleep, which you probably have--" she cut herself off at the sight of Rangiku snoring lightly against a pillow and a frown creased Soifon's slender brow.

She sighed, pulling a stool up at the counter before seating herself and delving into her salad. Rangiku had been staying with her for three weeks now, and it bothered her slightly that she was becoming used to having a roommate. She had been so accustomed to living on her own, fending for herself, building up impenetrable walls. Rangiku was nowhere near even beginning to knock down those walls, but Soifon was beginning to get habitual with waking her friend at odd hours of the afternoon, ordering them takeout, halfheartedly listening to the latest gossip, and Rangiku's welcoming presence was nice to have around. She didn't want to grow attached, the older girl wouldn't be staying long. The original plan actually had been that Rangiku needed a place to stay for the night. One night turned into two, two turned to three, and so on. She could be taking off at any time.

The only reason she was staying in the first place was because of problems between her and Gin, which had led to a temporary separation. They'd be back together in no time, Soifon knew that much. On a regular day, they were nearly impossible to pry off of one another. As much as Ichimaru gave Soi the chills, Rangiku loved him and that was that. She wasn't informed of what had occurred between the two, but regardless, things would be back to normal sooner or later.

Her stormy eyes relocated themselves back to the dozing Rangiku as she popped a grape into her mouth.

"Rangiku-san, it's already 5:30," she mumbled, impaling a few pieces of lettuce on her fork.

To Soifon's surprise, the blonde's head popped up almost immediately and her frenzied eyes scanned the room. "It's 5:30 already!? I still have to clean and shower and my hair, and oh, my, the makeup, and the music, the booze, crap, the booze!" Her rambling sentence concluded as she grabbed a pair of car keys and bolted out of the door without giving Soi as much as a glance.

However, she was already irritated.

'…Booze?'

--x--

"You what?" the Chinese girl stood from her seat on the couch, her fists clenching rather traditionally at her sides.

Rangiku winced at the severity of her companion's response, attempting to counter the curling back of Soifon's lips (which displayed her two rows of teeth to be clamped rather tightly), with an innocent smile of her own.

"It's just a simple get-together, I'd hardly even call it a party, Soi-chan," she reasoned, her voice balancing dangerously as the nervousness in her eyes shone through. She bit her lip in apprehension, suddenly finding a particular lamp to be exceptionally interesting. Anything was interesting when trying to avoid Soi's glare.

"How many people?" the younger girl nearly growled, the words rumbling angrily from her throat.

"Only a few, I promise," Rangiku chirped, gaining the confidence to look Soifon in the eyes again, smile ever present.

Soifon sighed, rubbing her temple in slow circles. She weighed the options in her mind, remaining silent for a fair amount of time as she sifted through her thoughts.

'I'm too tired for this.'

If Rangiku kept to her word, there wasn't much to worry about. She could just sleep through whatever little event they were having and ignore it completely. If.

Her tired eyes closed for a brief moment before she surrendered.

"Alright," her eyelids lifted and she crossed her arms, rubbing one of her hands along her opposite bicep. "Fine, just make sure it isn't loud."

Rangiku did all but leap from the couch and encased Soifon into a bone crushing hug, squealing her gratitude.

"Oh, thank you, Soifon! I'll make this up to you, I promise!"

Soifon scowled, awkwardly neither receiving or reciprocating the hug as she failed to remember Rangiku's frantic mentioning of the word 'booze' earlier.

--x--

In effort to escape the booming of the bass that filled her apartment, that in which would surely result in trouble with her landlord, Soifon slipped unseen into her bedroom, neglecting to lock her door. She didn't bother to change clothes, it simply wasn't a priority, the exhaustion was far too overwhelming. Sleep beckoned her to her cozy, soft blankets and she complied, slipping underneath the warm security of her ridiculously thick comforter. Her cheek nuzzled drowsily into her cottony pillow, lulling her into a welcoming doze. She briefly imagined the mess she'd undoubtedly be left to clean in the morning, a tad of resentment forming toward allowing Rangiku to stay in the first place. Her expression warped into a scowl as she thought about Rangiku's failure to keep her promise. Soifon hated parties and that hate increased tenfold when such blasphemy took place in her own apartment. She could feel herself beginning to become worked up all over again.

She quickly pushed those thoughts aside, however, slipping further into the pleasant coma that was her sleep. Rest was just something more important than dwelling on Rangiku's unreliability at the moment. Random bursts and jolts of music, along with the vibrations it caused, quaked through her apartment and caused her thin brows to furrow and her small fingers subconsciously curled tighter around her blankets, though her body ignored the inconvenience otherwise.

She shifted slightly, sinking herself further beneath the haven that her blankets provided. A small, nearly non-existent smile tugged at her lips as her body fully relaxed, relishing in her own peaceful, sleep induced bliss. Her small smile was quickly replaced with a scowl as she heard her bedroom door being flung open, banging obnoxiously against the wall, which would most likely have a dent from the doorknob.

"Anyone in he-- oh," golden eyes locked on a moving form beneath a mountain of blankets. She opened her mouth to speak once more but was cut off by the continuous shifting on the bed as the small frame of what appeared to be a teenager emerged from the mass of blankets, her hair slightly ruffled atop her head and her steely gaze burned ashen holes into the intruder's skin.

The older girl's jaw shifted in effort to close her mouth, but her lips remained slightly parted as her topaz eyes assessed her surroundings and fought the urge to verbally conclude that this, in fact, was not the bathroom. It didn't surprise her much, Rangiku was hardly holding herself up out there from the amount of alcohol in her system, let alone able to relay legitimate directions, even in an apartment.

Though it didn't matter, she was hardly headed that way. A peek into Soi's room had gone awry and she figured she may as well shut the door and return to the party before her heart fell to brittle pieces within herself.

The left corner of her lips twitched slightly and she leaned her body to rest one arm extended along the frame of the door as her fingers curled around it. Her other hand lay dormant against her hip and she cracked a one sided, not to mention fake, grin. Soifon's scowl refused to falter.

"The party's in the living room," her groggy voice indicated as her narrowing eyes did little to let up on her menacing glare. She retreated back beneath her covers without waiting for the other girl to respond. After a few moments passed and her bedroom door failed to close, a dismissive hand rose into the air, waving her intruder off. "This room's off limits," her nearly incoherent voice slurred into the air, yet it remained firm.

Yoruichi did her best to ignore being brushed off by the girl who had once been her world.

"Mind telling me where the bathroom is, kid?" the older of the two asked, fully aware that it was an unnecessary question considering the mediocre size of the apartment, and also because Yoruichi knew this apartment like the back of her hand, inside and out. There were only two or three more doors to check; that would most likely be a more efficient way to find it as well. But she prodded, regardless. Curiosity was getting the better of her, she hadn't known Soi was home. She cast aside the way her heart had flown up into her throat and then down into her stomach, convulsing in obvious pain.

Soi balled her fists into her sheets and her teeth ground uncomfortably together. Once more, she graced her visitor with her disgruntled presence as she removed her head from beneath the blankets.

"I'm nineteen," she seethed before jabbing her finger toward the door across from her bedroom. "And the bathroom is across the hall."

The older girl's head whipped around, violet tresses following suit before she turned back to flash another smile at Soifon.

"Ah, thanks," she said with a nod before crossing the hall and closing the bathroom door quietly behind her, contradicting the mass of noise emitting from the living room.

Soifon fought the urge to scream as she rather tumultuously tore herself out of bed and slammed her bedroom door.

--x--

Yoruichi maneuvered around the numerous bodies flooding Soi's apartment, her eyes scanning for Kuukaku. The place was anything but big, though she couldn't seem to find her friend anywhere within it. Unintentionally grinding against one or two faceless people, she pushed through to the sliding doors that opened up to the small balcony outside. There was she was, surprisingly coherent and talking with Renji of all people.

She waited in silence, leaning against the building and letting her gaze drift up to the stars. Her chest cramped for a moment before she looked away, down at the city below as she bit her bottom lip.

Memories were always something she cherished, though now she wished she forget like Soi had.

"Oi, Yoruichi-san," Renji tipped his drink to her and she gave him a small nod upon being noticed.

"Mind if I speak with Kuukaku?" she murmured distantly and Renji scratched at the back of his head, already heading toward the inside of the apartment.

"She's yours," he said with a sympathetic smile as he slipped inside.

Yoruichi meandered over to the railing, leaning against it with her arms crossed and resting on the metal. Kuukaku kept her eyes forward, staring off into the city of Tokyo. The dim light of the moon illuminated her pale skin and dark hair, also emanating a certain shine from Yoruichi's topaz colored eyes. Otherwise, her demeanor was mellow, from her relaxed posture to the absent expression on her face.

"You seem strangely sober," the Shihouin piped up with a smirk, though her words lacked substance.

"I didn't drink much."

"Is the world coming to an end?" Yoruichi smiled to herself, nudging Kuukaku. "I mean come on, how many parties do you attend that you don't drink yourself senseless?"

"Wanted to keep an eye on you," Kuukaku answered forwardly, finally turning her head to look at Yoruichi. "I know you smile for everyone an' all that stuff, but it's all hollow. Someone's gotta watch over you so you don't go doin' somethin' stupid."

Yoruichi paused, a bit taken aback.

"I wouldn't…"

"You're like me, Yoruichi. Pretty reckless. And when a reckless person's been through the shit you have been, you don't know what can happen."

She cupped a dark hand over her eyes and drew in a rickety breath. Kuukaku remained still, watching her with careful eyes. Yoruichi opened her mouth to respond, but she found her mouth to be dry and words were out of reach, so she sealed her lips into a tight line, holding her arms securely around herself. Shaking her head over and over, she felt unable to do anything else.

"Hey, kid," Kuukaku pulled her best friend into an embrace and Yoruichi rested her chin on her shoulder, closing her eyes. "Don't cry at a party, it's not prom," she said with a strange smile and a sad glow in her eyes as Yoruichi shook gently.

Something about having Soi so close, so within her reach, yet unattainable nearly broke her. Something about putting so much of herself into one person only to have it backfire in a way she never could have imagined made her feel fragile and she could feel her heart tear like paper, shredding.

----

Aww, Kuukaku does have a heart.
I nearly cried writing this, I need help.

And man, it's hard writing Yoruichi when she's not all chirpy and witty and just…herself. Cheer up, kid!

Review?