Disclaimer: I don't own bleach.

This is a completely random idea that popped into my head somehow. Yes, I know, same old story. But how many of you can clain to have thought up of a idea while playing piano! Especially since this story has nothing to do with piano. Since I have four and a half chapters of Uchiha Obito Ghost! written already, I figured I might as well write this. Anyhow, enjoy! (Hopefully)

Musings

Rukia looked up at the sky, her eyes following the clouds unconsciously. She was sitting down on a tree branch close to Karakura High School. It was one of few times she had some time to herself, between fighting hollows, worrying about Arrancars, and sleeping in the same room as Ichigo's sisters.

Yes. Ichigo. No matter how many times she saw him, it was still obvious how much he resembled Kaien-dono.

Rukia idly wondered why someone with absolutely no relation to Kaien-dono could look so much like him.

She sometimes mused on the possibility that Ichigo was Kaien-dono, and that Kaien-dono's soul had somehow found itself in Ichigo's body when Ichigo was born. But she always dismissed such silly thoughts. While it was common for souls that went back to the Living World to resemble their appearance in their former life, Kaien-dono had been killed by a hollow.

He was gone.

Besides, Kaien-dono had been something similar to an older brother to her. Not that Nii-sama wasn't a good older brother to her! He just could be a little cold to her sometimes, especially when Rukia had just become a Kuchiki.

Yes. While Kaien-dono had been something similar to an older brother to her, Ichigo was... A friend. He was just a friend, no more, no less.

Even if he was technically human, and being 'friends' was practically the most Soul Society allowed. Even if he had risked his life several times just to prevent her from being executed. Even if he did look nice when he (very) occasionally smiled.

Just friends. That's it.

Speaking of Ichigo, here he comes. Since Rukia had skipped the last block of school, that would be normal.

"Rukia!" Ichigo called out from the bottom at the tree. "Was there a hollow?" He was scowling, as usual.

"No." Rukia answered, jumping down lightly from the tree. She frowned slightly at the revelation- yet again- that Ichigo was really tall. "I just was thinking."

Ichigo's near- permanent scowl deepened for a second. "Anyways, school's over. Are you coming home?"

Home. Had Rukia ever had one? The Kuchiki Manor was nice enough, but it didn't exactly give a homely feeling. It felt more like a workplace where she lived in than a home Shd couldn't relax.

The Thirteenth Division barracks might've been considered as a 'home', but Rukia had never stayed there. She had always stayed at the Kuchiki Manor.

Back in Rukongai, it was a fight just to live. She had never had time to think about 'home', or family.

Ichigo had a family. And yet he risked his life in a battle between spirits.

"Ichigo..." Rukia murmured.

"What?" Ichigo scowled.

What was she supposed to say? Sorry for bringing you into this battle? Sorry for placing you in danger when your have a family?

Rukia already knew what Ichigo's answer would be. He would scowl and state that he made his own choice, and it wasn't her fault.

'One who protects' was a good name for Ichigo. He always tried to protect everyone.

Then again, 'Strawberry' matched him as well.

"Nothing." Rukia shook her head. "Anyways, I guess I'll go back to your house. Come on."

Ichigo rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

o-o-o-o

Ichigo glanced at Rukia as they walked back to Ichigo's house together.

He considered talking to Rukia about his problems.

About the way he sometimes got the urge to call Rukia 'Kuchiki' for some reason.

About the way he reconized half of the people in Soul Society, even though he had never met them before. Deja vu, wasn't it?

About the way he looked at himself in the mirror and sometimes thought 'When did I bleach my hair?'

About how whenever he wandered into his inner world, he found lilies floating on the water in a random corner for some reason.

About when he talked to his father, he really wanted to call him Isshin-san.

Well, the last one might be because of his dad's embarrassing actions.

But Ichigo decided against it.

He was probably just going insane or something. During around six months, he had been thrown into a world of spirits and shinigami.

Sure, he had been able to see spirits before, but he was probably slowly growing insane from a young age.

Who wouldn't?

"Is something the matter, Ichigo?" Rukia asked, looking up at Ichigo with her violet eyes.

Ichigo blinked. "Nothing."

Rukia shrugged and kept on walking forwards.

Ichigo sighed inwardly.

Who could he talk to if he couldn't talk to the person he lo... considered as one of his closest friends?

"Thanks." Ichigo said suddenly.

"For what?" Rukia said in confusion.

"Just stuff, I guess." Ichigo placed his hands behind his head and looked up at at the sky. "Stuff."

Rukia smiled slightly at that. "Well then, you're welcome."

Ichigo's scowl softened.

No, really... thanks, Rukia.

o-o-o-o

So, how was it? It's set after the Soul Society Arc but before the Hueco Mundo/Bount Arc, depending on if you watched the anime or not.