A/N: Scads of people to thank for reviews: Nobody's Apple, "anon," darklover, Kiss of Immortality, "Ayame," "Demon kittens," "Ouch," onlytoask, 27Kirune12, Snowebelle, MysticalNyla, Rukia's Reflection, Dragon and Sword Master, KitElizaKing, Ciusi, Nocturna Mae, Althletiger, Kitakana, Assault Godzilla, RM-JG-TE, Ruined Doll, Scaehime, Iceflame55, Rake1810, NieveDrop, necro-wulf, briar black death rose, and ThatFlyingEagle. Sorry gang, I didn't mean for this to take so long. I'm blaming it on the characters. Two of them I don't usually write a lot about and Byakuya, well, he was just being stubborn as only he can be. Anyway, please enjoy and as requested, there's some IchiRuki. Not a lot but I managed to squeeze some in that wouldn't ruin the rest of the chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al.
The Kurosaki Affair
Byakuya's Day Out
The captain of the sixth division was glad that his future brother-in-law had let him sleep in. While he had not drunk to excess, he'd certainly needed the extra sleep. Last night had revealed something he'd rather have not known. It had only taken him a moment to decide that it was best if the entire Gotei was informed of the situation. A child between Yoruichi Shihoin and Kisuke Urahara would be of interest to anyone with enough brains to realize the potential hazards. As the new Central Forty-Six had as yet to allow Urahara to permanently return to the Soul Society, they might be interested in knowing that they may have no other choice but to allow the two ex-captains to come back. Then again, they might petition the closest royal family member to never let them step foot again in the other dimension.
A harsh beeping startled him out of his thoughts and Byakuya gazed malevolently at the flashing lights of a cartoon shaped alarm clock. He recognized the thing from Ichigo and Rukia's room and was tempted to throw it out the window. His sister would never suspect that he had been the one to destroy it, especially if he used gravity and inertia to do it.
The ringing of the doorbell jarred him out of his contemplation and he simply unplugged the annoyance. Making his way downstairs, he was surprised to find Chad waiting for him on the doorstep. "Sado-san," he said curtly.
"Ichigo called me," the taller man said and handed the captain a large cup of coffee. "Espresso."
"How kind," Byakuya muttered, taking a large sip as he led the way back to the living room. "What time is it?"
"Half passed eight. Arisawa-san said she'd be here soon."
"Incompetent Kurosaki." The fool hadn't been kind letting him sleep in, he'd been setting him up to get into trouble with a pregnant martial artist.
Leaving the ex-ryoka downstairs by himself, Byakuya went to dress, making sure that his suit screamed wealth and power. He wanted the humans he was going to face to bow to his wishes without him saying a word. They would give Rukia her heart's desire and if anyone dared to disagree with what she wanted, they'd face his wrath.
"Yo, Captain Kuchiki, let's get this show on the road!" a feminine voice shouted up the stairs and he paused in putting in his kenseikan. He wasn't about to yell a response so he calmly finished his grooming before joining the two humans downstairs.
"You appear in good health," Byakuya said as he tucked the kikanshinki in his jacket. His wallet and house keys were next, all put away in a spot specifically designed to hide the fact that he had anything in his pockets at all.
"Thanks." Tatsuki briefly touched her slightly rounded stomach, a small gleam appearing in her eyes for a moment before she focused back on the Shinigami in front of her. "We're doing well. Do you want to finish that cup of coffee before we leave or do you intend to bring it with you?"
"I have no need of it anymore. We may leave…" Byakuya trailed off as she snatched the paper cup, becoming doubly surprised when Chad's large hand practically yanked it out of hers.
"Kurosaki-san said no caffeine, Arisawa-san." The tall teacher gave the captain back his espresso, mouthing to him to drink it or dump it down the drain. "I got you this," he continued, handing her a small cup from the same shop.
"You're no fun, Chad," Tatsuki complained but took the offered cup. She drank slowly, wrinkling her nose at the tea that went down her throat. "All right, now that we're charged, let's move out. Chad can drive, and you can have the passenger seat, Captain Kuchiki." Turning on her heel, the martial artist went back to the entrance and put on her flats. She led the way to her car, giving the other Karakura High alumnus her keys. He took them with a casual gesture, almost as if it wasn't the first time he'd done so.
Byakuya watched the pair, puzzled at the interaction. There had never been any indication that there was anything between the two that he knew of and what he had been told of their personalities merely indicated a friendship based off of similar interests and other mutual friends. Perhaps what had happened to the young woman had sparked something in the recalcitrant hero and he had begun to view his high school friend in a different light.
"I see you're well prepared for the situation that we're going into," Tatsuki remarked, indicating the suits the two wore. "Nothing like looking professional to add weight to our mission. I don't remember ever seeing you in a suit before though, Chad."
"Kuchiki-san called." The petite lieutenant had rung him in the middle of the night with the request that he dress up. Since the venue was incredibly important to her he'd gone along with it without complaint. He'd also taken her suggestion to stop by the local coffee shop and get her brother something special because it was likely Ichigo would pull something and not get the captain up on time so that he could have his morning meal. Ichigo had admitted as much when he had called him earlier. Chad had refrained from mentioning Rukia's call to him warning him.
"Ah, so you got a call too. I tell you, for a Shinigami who's seen a lot of danger in the last decade or so, she's awful jittery about this wedding planning."
"I believe that has more to do with the woman she asked to be her wedding planner than the actual planning," Byakuya put in.
"Ah, that Ise-san person. I've heard that she's got her entire squad under her thumb."
"It is true that she seems to have more authority over her subordinates than her captain does. However, I believe it is the thought of what would happen should she remove her glasses that scares them into compliance."
"Why would that make any difference?"
Byakuya contemplated Tatsuki's words. "I do not know. I have never seen her without her spectacles so I am not aware of what the consequences apparently are. However, those that have seen her without them have passed the terror down to their kohai and seem to keep on her good side as much as possible."
"I see. Well, no use in scaring the bride-to-be then. I'd hate to see what would happen to Ichigo if Kuchiki-san became even more spastic about this wedding than she already is."
Byakuya refrained from making any comment, knowing that his sister was becoming a little antsy in regards to her wedding. Perhaps he should have insisted that she leave things in the hands of the clan elders. Then again, with the way they viewed things, none of Ichigo's human friends would be allowed to join in any of the celebrations that were bound to take place. Besides, the duo had agreed to another wedding in the Soul Society and he supposed his elders would have to be content with that. They were already insisting on some of them being present for the ceremony in the Living World so he couldn't very well let her be besieged by their expectations twice. This would be her day after all, if everything he'd been hearing was true.
"Arisawa-san, what do you know of this place my sister has chosen?"
"Not much. I looked it up on the internet so I know what they say they can do and saw some of the pictures but without going in and talking to a rep, there's really no way to know for sure if this is something she would really want. The pictures of the garden were scarce although if it looks as nice as they make it out to be, I think it'd suit them just fine. I know they want a touch of elegance without being too formal. Traditional Japanese weddings don't have many witnesses to the exchange of vows so I think that's what attracted your sister to the Western version. That, and the dress."
"I see." Byakuya remained quiet for the rest of the trip, using the time to sort through his own thoughts on the matter and memorize the route they were taking to the hotel. The time for his sister to go from his care to solely Ichigo's was drawing near and he was having a hard time accepting that. He supposed that's what it meant to be a big brother. Rukia was the only family member that he could say he truly cared for, as the others who would have made it to that list were all gone.
"We're here," Chad commented, his deep voice easily drawing the captain out of his contemplations.
"Then let us go and see if this is truly a place fitting of the Kuchiki clan." A valet opened Byakuya's door and he took it as his due, turning to help Tatsuki out so that she wouldn't have to deal with the man who had taken a disapproving scoff at the car. It was by no means high class but there wasn't a centimeter of rust or dirt on it so the captain wasn't sure why the human wouldn't accept the conveyance.
"We're a bit early for our appointment with the associate so perhaps we can stop in and have some tea at one of the restaurants. It would give us a better understanding of how the service really is on a day to day basis." The martial artist led the men to third floor, slightly amused when the staff took one look at Byakuya's commanding aura and bowed deeply.
The host at Le Jardin had no qualms about seating them at an obviously open table despite the fact that they didn't have a reservation and even offered to let the woman with whom Tatsuki had made the appointment with know that they were there and waiting for their allotted time. A message came back with the information that she would join them shortly and to enjoy their tea.
Pleased with the atmosphere so far, Tatsuki allowed Byakuya to buy her a cup of roasted green tea and a small snack. Chad kept to a cup of black tea, using the time to settle himself and look out into the garden. "I think they will be pleased."
"Yeah, so far so good. It has a real soothing feeling to it, doesn't it?" Tatsuki asked.
"We shall see," Byakuya murmured. "There is much that still needs to pass. I can sense several souls wandering around that place. Whoever is in charge of this area has not been very attentive."
"There are a few shrines on the grounds, including an Inari shrine. Perhaps the soothing atmosphere has lured them here and lets them pass on more peacefully."
"Regardless, if it is one thing neither Rukia nor Kurosaki will stand for it is a mass of souls scattered about on their day."
Tatsuki held back from mentioning that that was exactly what they would be surrounded by. "Then can't you just line them up and konso them or something? I mean, the sooner they pass the better, right? That way no Hollows will try to eat them."
Byakuya stared at her mutely for the moment. "A captain does not 'line up' souls to konso. However, I will order the useless soldier assigned here to do so. This is unacceptable behavior for a member of the Gotei Thirteen."
"Ah, I see."
"Indeed." The Kuchiki leader finished his tea before glancing at the fancy watch on his wrist. "It is time for our meeting." He made no move to get up, intending that the woman come to them.
"Someone's coming." Chad put down his own cup, nodding briefly towards the woman that was making long strides in their direction.
"Arisawa-san, I'm pleased to meet you. My name is Hana Teineina. I am a wedding coordinator here at Chinzanso. From our earlier conversation, I understand you are a bridesmaid of the Kurosaki-Kuchiki wedding."
"Yes, it's nice to meet you," Tatsuki said, standing momentarily to bow. "This is Yasutora Sado, the best man, and Byakuya Kuchiki, the bride's elder brother. I'm afraid my friend couldn't be here as she's away on business but she saw your hotel in a bridal magazine and has her heart set on this place. At least, she does if it meets her and her groom's needs. There will be a lot of us, I'm afraid."
"I'm pleased to hear this. Most brides nowadays wish to have their wedding here. Was there a specific type that would please her?" Teineina asked, waiting until Byakuya paid the bill before leading them out of the restaurant.
"The garden is her current favorite site, with a Western dress and a Buddhist priest. They wish to use the Western tradition of having bridesmaids and groomsmen stand up with the people getting married and having a large group of people there to witness the event, along with an even larger reception afterwards."
"That's a departure from the norm but I see no reason why it can't be done," the coordinator said as they entered the garden.
"Yes, well, these two aren't your average couple. The groom is a doctor who just started his residency so his schedule is packed and the bride travels all the time for her job. Add that to the fact that they have clashing family upbringings and you've got quite an eclectic group of people coming together."
"I see." Teineina glanced sideways at the tall gentleman who had taken to walking beside her. His baring told her that he was used to taking command and being obeyed. His clothing clearly stated that he was well off and would have no trouble paying for a wedding at her hotel. "Do you have any questions, Kuchiki-san?"
"Not at present, please continue."
"We have a wedding walk that is preplanned through the garden but your sister and her groom can certainly choose their own path. There are many things to see in this garden and many historical monuments."
"That may be just as well," Tatsuki said, an amused tilt to her lips. "The bride is quite short and if we take her through the tall greens, we might lose her and not be able to find her again."
"Arisawa-san…" Chad began, worried that the captain would take offence. His high school friend just shrugged and took pictures as she had promised Rukia. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted something dash away and on instinct readied himself for a fight. When all that came towards him was a rabbit, he sighed in relief.
"Is there a lot of wildlife in this small garden forest?" Byakuya asked, having spotted the good sized rodent.
"There are several woodland creatures that have at times made themselves known but for the most part, they leave us alone. We have a shrine to Inari here so our owners have told us not to try to harm any of the animals."
"That's probably best," Tatsuki commented. "You never know when some spirit is lurking about." A few of the spirits Byakuya had spoken of before floated by and she had to fight to keep the grin off of her face.
"So true," the other woman said and continued to show them the gardens and the historic tea houses that dotted the area. When they got to a small dining room that would do nicely for a rehearsal dinner or family gathering they knew without having to consult Rukia or Ichigo that they'd found the right place.
"You're serious? This place is called Zangetsu?" Tatsuki heard choking badly covered by a cough but didn't dare turn her head to see which man had made the gaff. It was all that she could do not to burst out laughing.
"Yes, this is one of our tea houses. It is part of the wedding walk and we've found that it is perfect for the more intimate wedding parties."
Byakuya fought a sigh and looked around the room. He knew the moment the name of the place had popped out of the woman's mouth that this would be the place his sister would choose. "Arisawa-san, has Rukia answered any of your texts?"
"Not as yet…" the martial artist began but was cut off by the ringing of her phone. "Yo," she answered, seeing her friend's fiancée's name pop up on her screen.
"I want that place! I don't care what it cost. Chappy's there!"
"Chappy?" Teineina mouthed at Byakuya.
"The rabbit," Byakuya answered and couldn't hold the sigh back anymore.
"All right, but what about the other pictures I sent you? Does it look good?
"Yes, everything is perfect. I know Ichigo will approve."
"All right, all right. Chinzanso it is. Oh, there's one other thing that makes it perfect."
"One of the tea houses that's in the garden is named Zangetsu."
"Put Nii-sama on!"
Tatsuki held the phone away from her ear and glanced at the noble. "She wants to speak to you," the young woman said. "Watch it; I think someone gave her too much sugar."
"So it seems," Byakuya intoned and accepted the phone. "Rukia."
"Nii-sama, I just had a brilliant idea. I've been wondering how and when to bring Kurosaki-san to Ichigo as a present. If we use that tea house for dinner the night before the wedding I can bring her there so that it'll be just family."
Byakuya paused in his stroll and looked back at the tea house. "I believe that would be very fitting, imouto."
"I'm so glad you agree, Nii-sama. Do you think the elders will approve?"
"I have no reason to believe that this place would not suit them. Even if it did not, you need not worry. This is your wedding we are planning for, not theirs. They will have their required formality at a later date."
"Thank you for everything, Nii-sama."
"You are welcome." Byakuya ended the conversation and gave the phone back to Tatsuki. Looking at Chad, he raised a brow in inquiry. "Will this suit Kurosaki?"
"The intimacy and tranquility will be pleasing to Ichigo."
"Indeed. Then we shall take it," Byakuya told the coordinator, having forgotten her presence almost entirely until then. "This tea house will be used the night before the wedding for an intimate family dinner and the garden used for the wedding. I will require a suite for my sister for the night before as well where she may rest and dress the next day with her attendants."
Teineina blinked; slightly amazed at the amount of interest the man was suddenly taking. She had thought he was merely the wallet to the whole operation as the other two didn't appear to have the means to pay for a wedding of the size and cost this would obviously become. "Certainly. Let me check what dates are free. Did your sister have any specific month in mind?"
"As long as the garden is in bloom, she will not care. Neither will the groom."
"I see, we have an indulgent bridegroom on our hands."
"Sadly," Tatsuki lamented. "He's been wrapped around her little finger since the moment they met."
"Almost," Chad corrected, feeling the need to be accurate.
"A devoted man is a wonderful thing. Now then, let me see what I have…" The woman browsed through her organizer, humming under her breath. She had a feeling that this wedding was going to net her a big commission. "Well, I have a date next April open… No wait, a spot just became clear in August. I know that isn't very far away and would take some quick decision making but I'm sure that we can pull it off."
Tatsuki and Chad exchanged glances. "Well, the bride has been working with someone on plans already, which is how she found this place so quickly. If we put you in touch with her, it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. The groom's sister is already contemplating a menu so the catering staff shouldn't be troubled too much either. I think the only thing we have to worry about is the dress maker."
"Sir?" Chad asked Byakuya quietly. A little over two and a half months was not a lot of time in which to plan a wedding that was as large as this one was going to be.
"Book the date in August. If Ishida needs any help, I will send seamstresses to aid him."
"That will go over well," Tatsuki muttered. "Sure, we'll take the date that just opened up. Booking the Zangetsu and the suites won't be a problem then, will it?"
"I don't see any conflict that could not be worked around," Teineina answered. She was pleased to be working with a wedding party who seemed to know what they were doing. There would no doubt be bumps along the way but with organized people, it was so much easier to get things done. "August tenth it is. Now then, I hate to bring money into this but there are deposits that need to be made."
"That is why I came. I will be paying for this wedding, as it is my sister's desire. We are a traditional clan and she wishes to do things properly."
"Oh, well, then, let's adjourn to my office and get the nasty necessities out of the way so that the fun can begin. Afterwards, why don't you eat at one of our many restaurants for lunch so you can get a feel for our chefs' creations? I could get you a table without bothering with a reservation."
"Oh, we…" She'd seen the price ranges for the restaurants and there was a great many that she couldn't afford on her present budget.
"That would be acceptable," Byakuya broke in over Tatsuki's protest. He took it as his due that he wouldn't have to wait at a restaurant for a table. Of course, in the Seireitei, he owned most of the eating establishments that he considered worthy of his presence so he never had to wait anyway.
"Then shall we?" Teineina asked and led them away without further comment.
By the time they were sitting down to lunch, Tatsuki had to admit that she was getting tired. Hunger had come while they were settling the deposit issue and the guys had merely led her to the closest restaurant while ignoring her complaints. She'd tried telling them that she couldn't afford eating out at such a place but the great noble had merely raised an eyebrow and stated that he would never allow a woman to pay for a meal. That had thrown her a bit because she wasn't used to anyone paying for her when it wasn't a date but she figured that since this was Byakuya Kuchiki she was talking to, he wouldn't have understood the concept of going Dutch when out with acquaintances for lunch.
"Order what you wish," he said now, perusing the menu with nonchalance. "That goes for you as well, Sado-san. You have done much for my sister and I have never been able to repay you. Take this as a small token of my appreciation. You have both been good friends to Rukia over the years. It is the least I can do."
"Thank you," Chad replied. He would have had no trouble paying for his own meal but it was generous of the clan leader and he would accept the offer.
"It is nothing," Byakuya returned and looked up as a waiter came to take their order. The restaurant had been notified that an extremely important person had come and they were giving their best for a good impression. Although they had never heard of this person before, the color of his bank card had let them know that he had plenty of credit and plenty more in a bank account somewhere. With his apparent lack of concern over the amount of the deposits, they also had come to understand that he was not a miser with his money. At least he wasn't where his sister was concerned.
Once alone, they enjoyed the silence, each lost in their own thoughts. The view outside was another part of the garden and they were all content with the choices that had been made. Of course, Ichigo had yet to be informed of just when he would be getting married but they figured Byakuya could do that when the daiko got home from work.
It was as they were beginning their appetizer that a trio of people stopped by their table in surprise. "Arisawa-san?" Tatsuki's name was gasped in surprise as if the idea of her being in the restaurant was a complete shock to the older woman.
Equally surprised, Tatsuki swallowed her food and took a breath before looking at the woman who was the mother of her dead beloved. "Seishin-san," the martial artist returned politely. Beside her Chad stiffened, well aware of her true feelings.
"Such an unexpected surprise," the young woman beside her said, her voice grating on the other trio's nerves.
"Isn't it?" Tatsuki replied. She should have expected such a thing though. Her former boyfriend's family had loved going out to eat so it wasn't any surprise that they would frequent a restaurant in one of the most renowned hotels in Tokyo.
"Arisawa-san?" Byakuya asked, aware of the situation and already in the mother-to-be's corner.
"Forgive me, Kuchiki-san. This is the family of my boyfriend who died some months ago. I'm sure Ichigo mentioned it to you before you came with me today."
"Seishin-san, this is Byakuya Kuchiki, the brother of the woman who's going to marry my childhood friend. And of course, you remember Sado-san. We were just making arrangements to have the wedding here in August."
"Impossible. This place is booked months in advance."
"I had no trouble," Byakuya said, leaving out the part about the opening that had occurred. What they didn't know would only help Tatsuki in the end.
"It must have taken a great deal of persuasion," the older man said, coming into the conversation for the first time. He had easily spotted the quality of the suit Byakuya wore and knew he was talking to a man of money and influence. "I do not believe I have heard your name around before."
"You wouldn't have," Tatsuki said, a thought coming to her. "You obviously don't run in the same circles. Kuchiki-san is the clan head of a very old and distinguished family. They are very quiet in terms of their dealings and very private. They feel no need to flaunt their wealth."
Byakuya did not even blink at Tatsuki's words. He would let her have her fun, using him as a way to get a little of her own back at the people who had shunned her. "Indeed, the Kuchiki's know their worth and do not feel the need to prove it to others."
Quiet gasps left them as a group and knowing that they had been insulted, the Seishins retreated. "I really don't like her," the daughter complained to her parents as they left the hotel.
"Do be quiet, Hāpī. There is something odd about that man." Turning to her husband, the matriarch frowned. "You will dig into his background, will you not?"
"Of course, I have no intention of letting a potential contact go to waste. If they are really as powerful as Arisawa makes them out to be, it would be good to 'reconcile,' don't you agree?"
"My thoughts exactly. Perhaps getting to know Kuchiki-san's sister would not be a bad idea either. You really must make the effort Hāpī."
"Of course, Mother."
The trio left the area, never considering that Rukia would rather fry them into crispy human barbeque than become friends with the daughter of the family that had so hurt one of her own friends. Or that her future spouse was liable to deck them if they met face to face while trying to get near his precious nakama.
Tatsuki grinned at her two companions and sat back in her chair. "That felt good. Thank you for playing along."
"It was a small thing."
"Maybe to you but their reactions were epic for me. They may try to cause trouble for you though. I do hope you have some sort of cover for your identity."
"It was thought about extensively when Rukia decided that she wished to live here in the Living World. Urahara, for all of his trouble, has made a few clues as to our existence. If the Seishin family decides to make inquiries, they will find that the Kuchiki family is reclusive but very well off."
"Oh, good. I'd hate to stir up that kind of trouble."
"You need not worry. There's protocol for such things."
"I see," Tatsuki said and left it at that because their entrées arrived and she was too hungry to worry about things further. The rest of the meal passed peacefully and she enjoyed the companionable silence for the rest of their time together.
Upon heading home, it occurred to the young woman that they hadn't had to use any memory modification the entire time they were among people not in the know about Shinigami and the Soul Society. "Hey, we didn't have to use that memory device," the martial artist said in surprise. "And here Ichigo was worried Kuchiki-san would do something that would require us to cover it up."
"Was he? That is odd, I believe he told me that you were the one who was likely to do something," Byakuya returned. He left Chad out of it and decided to put all the blame on the future Spirit King.
"That brat. I'll get him for it, trust me. There is one thing that I feel like we forgot to do…"
"Ishida," Chad said suddenly, his eyes widening in horror. They had forgotten to notify the Quincy of the wedding immediately. It had been obvious from the start that getting all the dresses made on time would be a problem but to not have let the proud archer know immediately was likely to get them skewered with energy arrows.
"Ah, crap," Tatsuki said and dialed her best friend's fiancé.
"Arisawa, I really hope this is important. I am extremely busy at the moment."
"Ah, no you're not but you're about to be. Kuchiki-san has reserved the place of her dreams and a date has been selected."
"Yes?" the man on the other end asked warily. He didn't like where this conversation was headed.
"Of this year?"
Uh-huh. Guess it's a good thing that that guy from Squad Eleven has been assigned to help you."
"Why the hell did Kuchiki-san pick a date so close?"
"Well, that was more our fault than hers. She saw the pictures I took, wanted it immediately and it was either August or April of next year. We chose August because quite frankly, I don't know if we can last until April." When no comment came back, Tatsuki knew that she was right. "I'm glad you agree. Well, I'll let you get back to whatever it is that you were doing."
"Thank you for ruining my day. Goodbye, Arisawa-san." Ishida hung up on her, and she felt sorry for the next person who crossed him.
"Perhaps we should begin notifying everyone else," Chad suggested.
"Yeah, starting with Orihime," Tatsuki agreed and continued to dial her friends. By the time they got back to Ichigo's, everyone who needed to know immediately knew and the rest would get the information through the grapevine.
They parted ways in the driveway, both men watching as Tatsuki drove away. "I did not find that her mental faculties were affected by her pregnancy," Byakuya said as Chad got into his truck.
"Count yourself fortunate," the taller man answered and left with that. Byakuya would find out eventually what it was like to deal with a temperamental pregnant woman. Now that Ichigo and Rukia's wedding was near, Chad wouldn't be surprised if the next pregnant one of their group was the petite Shinigami. The high school music teacher wasn't sure he wanted to be around for that one.
Tatsuki's was trying enough.
Walking back to the locker room, Ichigo pulled out his cell and checked to see if there were any messages. He hadn't heard any ringtones signifying a disaster because of Byakuya's outing into the Living World and while relieved, it also made him suspicious. Surely he would have been told about the outcome, regardless of what it was but neither of his friends, nor Rukia had called to tell him what was going on.
It was as he was pulling his things from his locker that Rukia fazed through the wall. A brilliant smile was lighting up her face and despite the fact that she had invaded the men's locker room, and no one else could see her, the orange haired man couldn't help but grin back. "Hello, midget. What brings you here? Nothing that has to do with the end of the world, I hope."
"Nope, nothing like that. We're getting married soon."
"Yes, I know, and…"
"On August tenth."
"Really now?" As calm as he sound he was mentally screaming inside. Why am I the last to know? He knew that something wasn't right. The daiko knew he should have insisted that someone call him with what had been decided. It was likely that Byakuya was waiting at home, entirely too smug at his achievement.
"Mm-hmm! Isn't it wonderful, Ichigo? We won't have to wait for much longer."
Ichigo waited until the last co-worker had left the room before embracing her. This job was mentally challenging enough. There was no sense in making them think he was losing his mind. "Yeah, it's pretty great. Do you really like the place you chose, Rukia?"
"If it's half as beautiful as the pictures, you're going to love it." Rukia sighed in contentment and leaned against her prince. "Nii-sama even reserved one of the tea houses so that we could have a family dinner the night before. You'll never guess what its name is."
"I have no idea," he agreed. Bending down, he kissed the top of her head and waited for her answer.
"You're kidding." He felt her shake her head and couldn't stop the laugh that came out. "Oh, that is perfect. I have a feeling that we couldn't find a better place for our wedding."
Rukia tightened her arms before looking up. "It's only fitting as I could not have found a better man to marry."
"Likewise, Rukia." Giving her one last kiss, he reluctantly let her go and watched her open a gate back to the other dimension. With one last smile, Ichigo left the hospital and headed to his car.
Not paying attention to what was going around him, the spurt of spiritual energy that came towards him would have hit him if he hadn't had years of training. A Quincy arrow protruded from the concrete in front of him and for a moment he thought it was the elder Ishida punishing him for something that he had thought he had done wrong. Turning, he was surprised to see the younger Quincy standing across the lot from him, his bow shining in the lamplight.
"What'd I do now?"
"Do you have any idea how little time you've given me to make the dresses for the girls?"
"Hey! That's not my fault, man, honest! I just found out!" Ichigo paused and studied his friend for a moment. "Don't tell me you flash stepped here."
"Quincys do not flash step and no, I did not use my powers. I took the bullet train, you fool."
"Ah, sorry. Anyway, like I said, I just found out. Rukia came for a brief visit."
"Yes, I know. Unfortunately, if you just found out that means that I can't skewer you like I wished."
"Well, if you have your heart set on shooting a Shinigami, there's always Byakuya. He was one of the three people who decided without asking us."
Ishida glanced at his watched and sighed. "As much as that appeals, I won't be able to catch the last train back to Osaka if I do that. Orihime will be worrying as it is."
"Ah, well, a rain check then."
"I suppose. Until next time, Kurosaki."
"Sure, see you later." Ichigo watched his friend leave before going to his car. "You might not have time to fight with him but I do." This was the last time he ignored the wedding plans. Ichigo should have known better than to remain ignorant of what was going on around him in regards to his friends and family. If he did it again and something went wrong, someone was likely to try to kill him just on basic principle. Ichigo didn't think he'd survive the humiliation.
Assuming he lived.
A/N: I thought I'd throw some more info at you. Teineina means polite, Hāpī means harpy, and Seishin means spirit. Also, when I looked up the hotel again, I actually found the English site for it this time and was able to gather more information. Le Jardin is one of the several restaurants and Zangetsu is actually one of the tea houses. I couldn't believe it when I first saw it and even went back to check to make sure I hadn't been seeing things. They also have a dining room whose name is Tsubaki. I may use that at a later date.