A/N: Hey all you lovely people! I'm finally updating! OHMYGOD! It's been ages since I've posted anything. Anyway, I'll be short here. New story, pretty complicated. You'll probably only get what's going on when I post the next chapter. Actually, this chapter has two parts since it's too long, the next chapter will come next week. This isn't AU, and there are probably no spoilers. And I know that I'm so friggin slow with updates, but I'll be pretty regular for the first few chapters atleast, they should come out weekly.

Anyway, check my profile for a new update, I've got some important information about my stories there.

MO-as-in-MOronic beta-read, as usual. For the record, she'll probably beta-read every chapter. Please ignore any grammatical mistakes or spelling mistakes that might have been missed, there probably are some in there.

Chapter 1(a)

"Ah! Another creation completed!" Kurotsuchi Mayuri-captain of the 12th squad exclaimed with a big smile.

"Congratulations, Mayuri-sama," Nemu calmly replied.

"It is quite impressive, isn't it, Nemu?" he said rather than asked with a proud tilt of his head.

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"Most people wouldn't comprehend the complexities behind the creation of this invention."

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"But seeing as how great I am, I obviously do!" He lifted his finger up dramatically to stress his point.

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"I'm quite the genius."

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"To come up with one extraordinary invention after the other."

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

The captain suddenly furrowed his brows, appearing to be troubled. He began to massage his temples. "And to consistently come up with one incredible invention or discovery after the other requires a lot of hard work, patience and determination."

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"But someone must do it!" Looking heavenward, balling up his fists.

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"For there is no greater sacrifice then that of others in the name of science and discovery."

"Well-said, Mayuri-sama."

Mayuri turned to look at Nemu. "Finally another word, Nemu. I didn't create you so you could embarrass me with your vocabulary…or lack thereof."

"Yes, Mayuri-sama," Nemu replied, bowing her head.

"Ah!" Mayuri dramatically flung himself towards the window, looking dejected. "Where to find a specimen worthy of my invention? I would test it on you, Nemu, like always. But the requirements of this machine demand a person of very high-level reiatsu."

"Shall I compose a list of possible candidates, Mayuri-sama?"

Mayuri ignored Nemu while he contemplated his dilemma. "Possible test specimen…who to choose, who to choose? AH!"

He suddenly got up and excitedly pointed outside. "I have found the perfect specimen! Bring that man here!"

"But Mayuri-sama, his acceptance would be unlikely."

"Use force if necessary!" He commanded happily, his yellow teeth perfectly in view.

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

Nemu suddenly vanished and reappeared a second later with the man trapped within her arms. "I have brought you the test subject, Mayuri-sama."

"Test subject? What is going on Mayuri?" the man looked at the both of them with surprised eyes.

"Kuchiki Byakuya, you are the perfect person to test out my new invention. Please come this way." The 12th captain turned around and walked away from them.

Byakuya looked at him like he was mad. "Mayuri, I suggest you make your lieutenant unhand me before-woah!"

He stumbled as the lieutenant pushed him forward, her arms still tightly wrapped around his waist. It was surprising how strong she was, her arms had him in a vice-like grip. He couldn't seem to shake her off.

"Please step inside," Mayuri said, stopping suddenly. Byakuya looked up and felt his eyes go wide.

It was some sort of metallic man-sized box. A glass door covered the front of it while the other sides that he could see were full of buttons and levers and multi-colored lights. The top of the contraption had a strange-looking shiny dome with an antenna of some sort pointing upwards. The whole thing looked like something out of a weird science-fiction novel he had the displeasure of reading once.

Nemu suddenly pushed him from behind and Byakuya stumbled right into the box. He turned around and narrowed his eyes with fury. Mayuri quickly shut the door infront of him, smiling wildly.

"Now now, we don't need you flash-stepping out of the box, Captain Kuchiki. That would make the whole test run sort of pointless."

"Mayuri, open the door or I blast it along with you in five seconds," Byakuya said, his voice running cold.

"That would be impossible; this box will take everything you throw at it as long as it's from the inside." He smiled towards Nemu. "I do think of everything, don't I, Nemu?"

"Yes, Mayuri-sama."

"Let's begin!" He happily clapped his hands and turned to the left of the metallic box. Byakuya watched with disbelief as the lieutenant took the right of the box. They were actually serious?

"Captain Kurotsuchi, I do not consent to this," Byakuya said loudly, once more trying to push the door open. The damn thing wouldn't budge.

"Captain Kuchiki, there is no greater sacrifice then that of others!" Byakuya paused to make sense of that. "Stand still and enjoy the ride," he heard the captain say from his left. Byakuya took out his sword and lashed out at all sides but it didn't even cause a scratch.

Suddenly, the machine started to vibrate, a whirring sound filling his ears…like something was spinning somewhere. The temperature began to drop all of a sudden, his breath soon coming out in little white clouds. He looked through the glass door to find everything blurring up as ice crystals began to form on the glass.

The whirring gradually became louder and louder until his head began to throb. He covered his ears to block out the sound but it didn't work. It just grew louder and stronger. The cold was so intense that he was quickly losing feeling of his extremities. His eyesight started to black out. Everything became hazy and he slowly slid down, his mind losing focus.

The last thought that came to his mind was how many times he could slash Mayuri before the bastard actually died.

"Kuchiki? Is that you?"

Byakuya suddenly opened his eyes, looking straight into the eyes of someone that was neither Mayuri nor his lieutenant.

"Hey man, you okay?"

He quietly lifted himself up to a seated position, ignoring the man to look at his surroundings. It seemed that he had fallen outside of the contraption sometime during his blackout. The door was now open, Byakuya wondered when that had happened.

He looked around at the rest of the room. It was definitely the same room but, for some reason, it seemed more spacious than before. He couldn't really say so since he hadn't properly looked around when he had been dragged in before. He looked out the window and frowned at seeing darkness outside. How long had he been out of it anyway?

"Oi, man, say something," the man from before waved his hand in front of Byakuya. Byakuya raised his eyebrows at his lack of respect but ignored it.

"How long was I unconscious?" he asked him.

"Oh, you can talk, good," the man said with a smile. Byakuya noted that he was from the twelfth squad. He couldn't help but dislike him at that moment.

"I don't know man, I just came here and found you lying on the floor. What the hell are you doing here anyway? And what in the name of all that's holy is that thing?" he said, pointed at the metallic box. "It looks like something from a bad science-fiction novel," the shinigami said with a laugh.

"You and me both," Byakuya muttered under his breath. He awkwardly tried to get up, his muscles screaming in protest.

"Woah, careful there," the man said, hands reaching out to help him. Byakuya raised his hand to stop him and got up himself.

"Where's your captain?"

"He's at the party right now, everyone's there," he supplied.

The bastard nearly kills him and still has the nerve to go to a party afterwards. Byakuya had one huge score to settle with Mayuri but killing him infront of everyone would probably be rude. And besides, he didn't feel up to fighting anyone for now.

He turned around but paused midway. He looked at the machine once again.

"Yeah," the 12th squad officer said. "you're wondering what it is to-HEY!"

Byakuya had removed his sword from its sheath and diagonally slashed at the machine. The top half slid to the floor and crashed, tiny bits and pieces of it scattering everywhere.

Now that had felt extremely satisfying.

"Damn, that could have made one fancy side-show attraction," the other person said sadly. Byakuya ignored him and headed for the door. "Hey, where're ya going?"

"None of your business."

The man laughed behind him. "I see; you're role-playing too. Awesome, man."

Byakuya raised an eyebrow at his lack of sense. The 12th squad members are all crazy. He turned around once again.

"Hey Byakuya, love the costume! Captain Kuchiki will love it!

Yes, all of them were crazy.

Byakuya quietly stepped through the Kuchiki Household gates, the two shinigami posted there greeting him as usual. He nodded and walked towards the doors, noting that there were a lot less people around than usual.

Was everyone at the party? He had informed his staff to not bother him with party invitations and the like so he did not really know which party everyone was attending. But if it meant more peace and quiet for him then it didn't really matter.

The servant near the door bowed humbly, greeting him like the other two. He told her to prepare his bath and walked on ahead.

"Byakuya-sama, Kuchiki-sama has been waiting for you," the servant said in a meek voice. Byakuya turned with a frown but the woman had already gone through another door to do her task.

It probably was a joke being played by someone, not even funny at that. He repressed the irritation he felt at the entire Gotei 13, especially at Mayuri and continued walking, taking a turn towards his sleeping quarters.

"And where have you been?" a voice came from infront of him.

Byakuya looked up and frowned. A woman was standing at the other end of the hallway, hands on her hips as she walked towards him. He could not recognize her since the corridor was dark except for the moonlight filtering through the windows on the left.

But her voice. It sounded oddly like-

"Who are you?" he asked in a clear voice.

She continued to walk closer. "This has got to be a joke, right? You choose to dress up as that instead of what I picked for you?"

The woman stepped infront of one of the windows and all of a sudden, he knew who she was.

"Rukia…is that you?"

She stopped a few feet from him, looking sardonic. "Oh you'd give anything to forget me, wouldn't you?

Byakuya's eyes widened to the size of saucers and his mouth dropped. She looked so…different. The most notable change being her hair.

It was long.

And not a few inches long, long-till-her-hips kind of long. The back of her hair was tied in a high pony-tail, leaving the front part open. Her trademark hair strand was still on her face, but her hair...it made her look so much more…older.

And it wasn't just her hair. Her eyes were less expressive than they usually were, she looked more serious. Even the way she held herself seemed more in-control. She seemed more confident in her skin, more sure of herself. Usually-more likely always- she would be shy and submissive whenever he was around her. Besides the greetings and the few formal questions, she would not talk about anything personal.

But the way she looked at him now, meeting him eye to eye, hands on her hips, even looking a tiny bit condescending?

It was a bit unnerving.

Whatever prank was going on, she was probably a part of it. Her acting skills had always been good, or so he heard.

Byakuya's annoyance sprang up again. He did not need this today. Not after what he had gone through. His muscles were still slightly stiff and he just needed to sleep.

"Rukia, I am not in the mood for games," he said coldly, walking ahead.

"Then why are you dressed up?" she asked as he passed by her.

"I am not dressed up," he said, irk reflecting in his tone.

She surprised him by suddenly bursting out laughing. "Nice impersonation there, dear. But who are you trying to impersonate anyway? That's not how the 6th Division captain acts."

He looked down on her. He was very tired and she was beginning to get on his nerves. "I know how I act, Rukia."

"Then you should have dressed up in the costume I gave you. For a 6th Division captain, you're pretty inaccurate."

Byakuya ignored her and turned around again.

"Hey, is that a wig?"

He stopped and turned around again, eyes narrowing. "What do you mean?

"I mean that no way could your hair have grown that much since the last time I saw it." She smiled suspiciously, cupping her chin. "Though surprisingly, the look does suit you. Real sexy."

Byakuya froze, looking at her with surprise. "Rukia, are you all right?"

"Of course I am," suddenly turning serious. "Although you aren't. Get out of that ridiculous get-up and change into what I gave you. You make a horrible 6th division captain."

Byakuya could feel his headache coming back from wherever he had shoved it. He massaged his forehead. "Rukia, I am the 6th division captain and head of the Kuchiki clan, and this joke is going too far," he said tiredly.

Rukia choked back her laughter. "Honey, those are two things you'll never get the good-fortune of being. So quit wanting to be them."

He raised his eyebrows. "And why do you say that?"

She mimicked him with the same condescending look, turning around to show her back, using her hand to pull aside her long hair.

The 6th division sign was glaringly obvious on the white of her robe. She turned her head to look at him.

"Because those are my posts."

A/N: Yes, I've uploaded part two of the first chapter as well...enjoy ^__^