Okay, one shot, roll with it… sort of a different time, different place kind of thing. No Soul Society or anything, but give it a chance.

Please Read!!-C

So most of this is based off my experiences with having someone not related to you be whatever void you need filled. Whether it be as a sister, a father… whatever. This was written to my "Dad" for everything he did for me.

NO KaienXRukia romance!!


CARVED ON MY HEART

---

"I… I want you to speak at my funeral." He whispers hoarsely.

Rukia's eyes are full of tears. Was this really happening? Was he really dying?

"You can't leave me, I can't handle it." She's crying, unselfishly crying.

She can see his smile through the phone.

"You can… I'm not leaving, not really." She can hear him inhale, it sounds forced and rattled "I've got to go; my wife and children want my last goodbye."

She understands, they deserve it.

"I love you, brother."

"I love you too, kid."

---

Her first memory with him was after a day of swimming, and she's wrapped into a towel as the sun sets, still wet from the pool, causing her so shiver. He so casually picks her up, puts her in his lap, and rocks her.

She can't remember how many times she's been there, but she knows the feeling he gives her. He protects her from everything, even something such as a setting sun and cold. He sways her, gently whispering stories and plants a long kiss on top of her head.

He must be at least twenty, she's only four or five herself, but the warmth he gives her makes her fall asleep.

She has a real brother, her adopted brother. He too is around his age, but his iciness causes her to keep her distance from him, and he seems to expect it.

But with Kaien, he was all the family she never needed.

It started out as babysitting, something that the Shiba's had some distant blood tie to the Kuchiki's, so they could be trusted with her.

Sure, it was only a drop of blood they shared, but with Byakuya and his starting as becoming a lawyer; it just seemed fit that the babysitter should have some sort of blood connection.

She remembers the day he first let her try pomegranates, and how she sat in the sink as he splits one open. She's seven, knows that the red liquid will stain her clothes, so she tries to keep it away from the expensive kimono.

Byakuya is furious when she comes home, her white and blue craned kimono a complete red stained mess.

When Byakuya decided for them to move away, to a different country altogether, she cries for days. Their last day was a good one. He takes her for a hike, they see a waterfall, plants they'd never see in the small town, and simply talk. She's only a mere twelve years old, and he warns her of city life, of the dangers it brings.

He openly expresses his worry for her.

The last thing he says as they part is "You know I love you, kid."

She smiles, she knows, but it's nice to hear him say it.

---

She hangs up the phone, only after he does. She's whipping tears from her eyes, openly crying; trying to softly hide her sobs.

The box she's hidden under her bed for so long is brought out, a thin layer of dust decorating the pink lid.

She throws it off, exposing the contents to the moonlight. Inside is a scrap of white kimono, stained red with pomegranate juice. She puts it aside after feeling the fabric smoothly between her hands. She digs into the box, pulling out a dried wild flower, from their mountain walk; a few other memorabilia come from the box: Letters, both emails and hand written notes of their distant joys and pains, a piano book, from when he tried and failed to teach her the art of playing the eighty-eight keys, and other scraps of memory come out, leaving the bottom a mess of pictures.

She gazes through them, her vision blurring with everyone as new tears form. His face so young and vibrant from her pre-school days, slowly becoming pale with sickness as her as high school years approach.

She throws the fistful of pictures she held in her hands against the wall, finally giving into the silent screams that incase her. She sobs, crying with no dignity in mind. She knows her brother is outside her door, and she knows he's listening, but she doesn't care.

It's too late for him.

---

When Byakuya heard Rukia call Kaien "brother" for the first time in front of him, he was confused.

Kaien was in no way her brother, he was almost as distant as it gets in family relations. How did he have the same title as him?

The reason why Rukia had started going to be watched by Kaien was because of their parents' death. He knew Rukia wouldn't cry; she'd only met them less than a dozen times, they finding work more important than their children. But he knew he must provide for her, and he did. He earned money, was sending her through college, so how did a man who never put any money on the table for her or related to her in any way be deserved to be called "brother"?

He confronts her one night, before she bids goodnight, he asks her.

"How is Kaien you're brother? Why do you call him that?" Byakuya questions slowly.

"Do you love me?" She says bluntly, turning to face him in her pajama pants and tank top before climbing into bed.

He's confused, and asks her to rephrase the question.

"Can you look me in my eyes and tell me that you love me?"

"I provide for you, I buy your clothes and food and schooling." He says, thinking 'Isn't that what love is?'

She smiles, almost sadly. "He loves me, and he lets me know it, everyday. He knows my favorite color, what classes I like and don't, and who I'm crushing on."

Rukia turns to a whisper, letting him grasp her soft words. "You can't even tell me what color my eyes are." She starts to walk away, and Byakuya's about to say he knows, but thinks.

"What… color are they?" He whispers to himself, and for once in his life, he feels disappointed in himself.

---

It's the day, the day of the funeral, his funeral.

Many people are here, his family for one. His wife is shaking, her pain so evident as her three children try to comfort her.

Rukia's slowly waking to the front of the room; she's supposed to give some sort of speech about him.

It's almost too painful to say his name…

His wife's eyes flash jealousy, and his children do too. They question why he chose Rukia, why out of all the last phone calls, hers was so important to him. Why did he always give her so much attention? Why did she deserve it? Why is she the one talking at his funeral, why not them?

She's shaking, her hands holding the two pieces of paper with typed, neatly doubled space lines of her speech. She approaches the microphone, her voice already shaking before she speaks to the crowd of over five hundred.

Most of the crowd is looking at her, red and puffy swollen eyes around the room.

Why did he choose her? She can't do this; she's never been good with words… She's always had to look something up, quote someone else. Anything but her own mouth to say what her heart felt, to let alone a room of strangers or to his jealous family. She fears she'll just cry the entire time, not be able to get a word out and be asked to step down.

"Life is not measured in the breaths we take, but the…" She drowns off.

'What the hell am I doing?' She thinks, looking into the audience.

---

She runs to him, she doesn't know it'll be their last meeting, but she runs to him.

She almost expects him to pick her up like she's six again, to swing her around and place her on his shoulders.

But she'll suffice with the smile and tight embrace she returns, but notices that it's weaker than usual.

"Rukia, it's good to see you." He smiles, and she returns it, before greeting her brother.

They talk, and he asks about her life, what she wants. He tells her that boys will give her attention because she's beautiful, and that she will need to be strong and only marry the one that loves her for her "sparkling" personality, as he put it.

He smiles, and she notices the lines around his eyes. He truly is older; he's now almost fifty, leaving her at the years she'll need him most.

She tells him she wants him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. He looks surprised and laughs, and after a small coughing fit, he answers her.

"What of your brother?" He asks with a smile.

She returns his grin. "Why do you think I'm asking you, brother?"

He grabs her in a hug at this, and pulls apart to give her a swift kiss on her lips.

It lasts for less than three seconds, but she understands. He's not in love with her, he loves his wife very much, but she knows what he means, nonetheless.

---

Someone coughs, and she looks at the paper again, what the… the hell is this crap?

She pushes it way from her in disgust, her hands gripping the pulpit as the paper falls like fallen flower petals.

"My brother," she begins, a sort of determination in her voice, "was amazing. He taught me how to swim, how to plant a garden. He taught me how to love someone more than yourself, to the point of giving them your heart and soul and knowing they'll keep it safe for you, or at least give it back in one piece."

She reaches up to her neck, pulling off the necklace she's worn for almost eight years and holding it for the audience to see.

"This is what my brother gave me before I moved, and I've worn it every day since." She chokes, but continues, the silver necklace glinting in the light. "It's stupid, and silly, but it's him. It's a silver pomegranate on a chain. It's stupid and childish, but I don't care. He gave it to me so I wouldn't forget him, but I don't need it, because he'll always be with me, and with all of you too." Her voice cracks and she takes a moment to swallow her cries.

"He's my brother, he's my family." She lowers her hand, looking at the necklace, almost talking to herself, almost talking to him as the microphone echos what she whispers between them. "I'm going to see him again, he promised. I'll see him and say 'I love you, brother.' And he'll say, 'I love you too, kid'." Her voice rises again to a normal level, as she again lets the audience know she's speaking to them again. "And until I see him, I'm going to make sure I don't have to be ashamed, I'm going to look him in the eye and tell him 'I did you proud! I found true love, I got a degree, and I faced the world head on'!"

She swallows her tears again, she must get down soon, this is killing her, but they have to know. "I love him, I would've taken his illness for him in a second if I could, and he was my heart. He is my heart." She re-phrases, taking a deep breath. "He was the only person who knew me inside and out, and I knew him just as well. I love him, I always will. I wanted him to walk me down the aisle, to name my first kid after him, so he could tell him too "I love you, kid'." She pants, 'One last sentence, than you can leave.'

Her tears fall now, and many people seem to also be crying, tissues are being pulled out and noses blowing unabashedly now. "Every time you and I connect with each other, a little bit of heart is born between us. Heart isn't something inside you. But whenever you think, whenever you remember someone, that's when heart is born. If you were the only one alive in the whole world, heart wouldn't exist now, would it?" She quotes him finishing with her own words, "You're my heart, brother." And she steps down, and she looks over to the casket that holds his body. She can't, and won't look at his face, but she bows low to it before walking straight towards the doors, the necklace gripped tight in her hands tightly, and she feels it start to embed the pattern into her skin.

Her black dress clashes terribly with the summer day, but she's marching now. Where? She doesn't know, but she will when she gets there.

'Kaien, when you kissed me, I knew why you did it.' She smiles, tears still pouring off her face as she gives into the sudden hiccup. 'You thought I would forget you, that you needed to put your image into my brain… but that fact is, that you're name will always be carved on my heart.'


Oh yeah, Disclaimer: I don't own Rukia or Kaien or anything Bleach. Seriously, I don't even have a bottle to whiten my socks with.

If you know how it feels to lose your heart, please comment.