A/N: Ah, I couldn't help myself. This is in celebration of Rukia's return to the manga. Finally!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al.
The White Moon Returns
They gathered at the official Senkaimon, lieutenants and other seated officers alike. There was trouble brewing in the World of the Living and they were being sent to take care of it. Ukitake-taicho stood in front of the group and cleared his throat. "You know what to do," he said quietly, his voice authoritative even though it wasn't loud.
"Yes, sir," a short, dark haired woman said, tightening her badge. "Let's go," she ordered, her voice carrying just as much command as her brother's.
"Right. Should have known Ichigo'd get involved with us again before he died." Her childhood friend snorted from beside her as they entered the Dangai.
"What we should have known was that he'd get into trouble." A bald head gleamed in the light shining faintly from the Hell Butterfly next to his shoulder. "He never could mind his own business."
"What you should have known was that he would never betray us. Odds are he has no clue what's really going on. Urahara is almost done with his invention. The only thing we need to do is add our reiatsu to it."
"I can't believe the soutaicho is letting us give him some of our power," the redhead said as they exited the spiritual portal. The young woman at his side turned her head to glare up at him. Why did the men in her life have to be so freakishly tall?
"This is no different from healing someone with our kido. Ichigo's reiatsu just needs a jump start."
"Kuchiki-fukutaicho, I don't mean to sound ugly but do you have any idea about what we may encounter?" Peacock feathers framed an inquisitive eye.
"According to Kurotsuchi-taicho, a group of humans with powers called "Fullbrings" have deceived not only Ichigo but Chad as well. They've attacked both Ishida and Inoue so that Ichigo would become desperate to get his powers back. From what we've been able to find out, they mean to steal the power Ichigo develops and quite possibly kill him. They've done it before and won't hesitate to do it again. We're here to make sure that doesn't happen."
"How do they do that?" A busty blonde pushed back her long locks and readjusted her uniform.
"That part is unclear but now is not the time to worry about it. Isshin-ojisan has said that time is of the essence and that Yuzu-chan and Karin-chan have already been tricked by these men." None of her comrades commented on the familiarity with which she called the Kurosaki family.
"Will it be ugly?" the fifth seat with her asked.
"Quite possibly, Ayasegawa, but it should be a beautiful fight and a lovely thing when Ichigo regains his Shinigami powers." Entering Urahara's shop without knocking, Rukia Kuchiki, lieutenant of the thirteenth division, stood straight and as tall as her small stature would allow. Looking at the two old Shinigami ex-captains, she smiled for their benefit. "Reinforcements have arrived."
"My third daughter is home!" Isshin said jovially, pausing only long enough to give her a hug. "All right, let's do this."
"Are you sure?" Urahara asked. "This will ruin his future."
"Let's just do it. As of right now, he doesn't have a future." Rukia walked up to the device and poured her power into it. The others did the same.
"My, my, Kuchiki-fukutaicho, you are in a rush. Are you in a hurry to rescue your beloved?" the hat and clogs man asked, a humorous tone trying to alleviate some of the seriousness of the situation. The other Shinigami behind her laughed quietly.
Violet eyes glared at everyone before she touched her lieutenant's badge in comfort. "He has saved us countless times. This is our chance to return the favor." The small woman wandered away, the only other female present the sole person to hear her mutter, "So what if I'm anxious?"
Matsumoto didn't tease her, merely became ready to give any aide she could. "Whenever you're ready." She had always liked the orange haired daiko and would like to see him back helping them again.
"Well, that should do it. Let's go, shall we?" Urahara adjusted his hat and led the way. He and Isshin walked while the others used shunpo and took to the sky. They kept silent in case Tskuishima or Ginjo had any spies along the way.
When they reached the house they found everyone that Ichigo cared for under the latter's Fullbring and made sure they were safe before using their powers to join Ichigo's fight on the roof. Ikkaku, Yumichika, Renji and Rangiku made a perimeter around the house so that no one could leave unless they were supposed to.
Rukia watched as Ichigo fought not only Tsukishima but his friends as well and wanted to weep. They stayed out of sight; their reiatsus hidden until the right time. They couldn't reintroduce Shinigami power to Ichigo until he'd lost or gotten too weak to handle his Fullbring but she would not allow the men to kill her best friend.
The man she loved.
When Ginjo reverted back to his true form she sucked in a breath, waiting for the inevitable betrayal. Ichigo getting stabbed hurt her and it was all she could do not to release Sode no Shirayuki on the villains. Finally Isshin nudged her forward and for the first time in seventeen months, she got to see Ichigo's reaction to her presence. At first he believed his father had turned on him but when Isshin directed his attention to her, all the struggle to get the lieutenancy was finally worth it.
"Rukia?" Despairing eyes searched her face and she gave him a soft smile in return. Power began to swirl and Ichigo's body fell away as he stood once more the proud Shinigami. Zangetsu was shaped differently and had a chain instead of a ribbon but she guessed that was because of his final training with the sword spirit during the war. Even his outfit was different but she'd leave teasing him about it until later.
"Hello, Ichigo," she answered, her voice even more mature than before. "Welcome back."
"You cut your hair," he said stupidly, his attention focused on two worried enemies. They hadn't counted on the Soul Society's interference, obviously.
"I'm a lieutenant too but catching up can wait until later. I suggest you cream these guys and get everyone back to normal."
"It's about time you got that position. Just one thing before I show these guys what true power is," he said, reaching back to grab a hold of her. Pulling her into his embrace, he took his attention off of Tsukishima and Ginjo long enough to kiss her lightly. "Welcome home."
Rukia ignored the cat calls and cheers from around them while she pushed against his chest lightly. His reiatsu swirled around her, wanting to meld with hers. "Idiot. It's good to be back." Stepping back, she got ready to fight the other Fullbringers.
There would be plenty of time to celebrate the return of the White Moon later.