DISCLAIMER: Of course it's mine... not.

Author's Note: I would tell you how sorry I am that it's been a month since I posted the first chapter, but I'm not good at apologizing. I took quite some time to decide where the story was going to go, and I still haven't worked out all the details yet. I guess I'm more suited to writing one-shots. Probably. So, anyway, I'll stop talking now, and on to the story...

Rukia had never thought it possible to feel so afraid before.

She almost collapsed against the sidewalk while trying to avoid the monster's attacks. But then she saw the monster moving to attack Hisana.

Ignoring the pain in her body, she had forced herself to stand up and pull Hisana behind her.

"You'll never get to Hisana…" Rukia said, softly. "Unless you get past me."

The monster let out a bark of mocking, derisive laughter as Hisana tried to push Rukia away. She didn't budge.

"Rukia!" Her sister's tone was urgent.

The younger girl shook her head, resolutely standing her ground.

"No. You've always protected me; now I'll do the same for you."

Violet eyes met gray for a moment as Rukia turned, smiling bravely at her sister, before staring down the monster. Time seemed to pass slowly as she watched the monster's tail swing down – it was going to hit her – she was going to die –

A flash of white streaked past. The monster's tail fell to the ground, severed.

The sound of the monster's howling was cut short abruptly as something cut its mask, causing it to vaporise and disappear.

It was gone, just like that.

Rukia heard her sister murmur a short prayer of thanks before slumping against her. She was barely in time to catch the limp form, laying it out carefully on the ground beside her.

As their saviour landed gracefully beside Rukia, sheathing his sword, there was a shout.


The word set off a dozen questions in Rukia's mind. But before she could ask any of them, the man, whom Rukia now noticed had white hair, spoke.

"Don't worry about me, Kaien. I'm fine."

There was a slight rustling of robes as another man, this one black-haired, appeared by the first. He took in the sight of Hisana's unconscious form, and then her body, lying a distance away.


The second man carefully picked Hisana up, and was gone in a flash when the first man nodded.

As soon as he was gone, the white-haired man started to cough as Rukia looked on, alarmed.

He recovered about a minute later. "Sorry about that," he said, holding out his hand. "I'm Jushiro Ukitake."

"Rukia Kurayuki." Rukia shook the man's hand briskly. "That was my twin sister, Hisana. Thank you, Ukitake-sama."

Jushiro laughed. "None of that '–sama' stuff with me. It makes me feel old."

"Fine." Rukia thought. "Ukitake-san, I have a question."

She pointed to where they had been attacked.

"What was that?"

There was a slight pause before he answered her. "A Hollow."

Jushiro laughed at Rukia's confused expression. "Come on, let's go find your sister. I'll explain as we walk there."

2nd Author's Note: Sorry about the length, or lack thereof. By the way, I took some liberties with the timeline, such as having Urahara's shop exist about forty years before it probably should. Hope you guys can bear with me.

3rd (and last) Author's Note: I know that this isn't my best work :( I revised this quite a few times, but it still refused to come out the way I wanted it to. Anyway, I hope that you guys will leave a review, and tell me how to improve. I'll be waiting!