Clorox in lame, but it's all I have because I don't own Bleach.

This chapter was brought to you by my guilty conscience.

Third Scandal, two teachers

"Wait, are you...Are you the new History teacher?" Rukia's eyes widened in shock.

Renji laughed at her expression, "Why are you so surprised? You know I majored in history." His expression was smug as he observed her surprised reaction.

"It's not that…I just never thought I'd see you in a suit and tie," A fountain of giggles escaped from her lips as she caught his unamused frown.

Laughing was a nice reprieve from her troubles. She never would have imagined that she would see Renji again, and right now she was savoring the moment as she looked at him through her smile.

"Quit laughing at me!"

"I can't help it," Rukia wiped away the tears from her eyes.

She yelped in surprise when Renji tackled her with a warm embrace, "It's been five years since I last saw you, and you haven't changed a bit," He looked sideways at her and grinned, " I'm serious Rukia, you didn't grow an inch taller."

"And your eyebrows are still weird," She jabbed at him playfully.

"Hey, remember we agreed not to make fun of the eyebrows, I'm very sensitive about those," Renji reminded her.

Rukia pointed out, "Remember the time when I said you would regret getting those tatooed to your forehead?"

"Shut up! They are still symbolic to me," Renji retorted.

"Yeah right, the only reason you got them was to cosplay that hero in your favorite manga."


They're playful exchange was interrupted as the morning announcements rang loudly over the intercom.

"Come on, weren't you looking for room B-06? Let's go," Rukia started walking towards direction of Renji's classroom.

"Hold on, I have to write you an excuse note. What class do you have right now, Rukia?"

"I have History with Abari-sensei," She grinned.

"Oh really? Well, don't think just because we have a history that you'll receive special treatment," He warned.

"And don't think just because you're my teacher that I'll ever listen to you," Rukia replied.

Renji smiled, "It's nice that we understand each other."

The two of them entered the boisterous classroom decorated with maps and time lines. Per usual, the air was musty with historical facts and last-minute memorization. Rukia took her usual seat at the front of the class and Renji set his briefcase on his desk before writing his name on the whiteboard. The talking ensued despite Renji's attempts to capture they're attention.

Finally fed up, he shouted, "Oi! You little brats, pay attention!"

Satisfied with the silence that followed he continued, "I'm Abarai-sensei, your new history teacher, please take care of me."

He took out a chart and prepared to call out attendance, but he faultered on the first name.

"Hey Rukia, I can't pronounce these names. Is there anybody missing today?"

"Everyone's here except your brain as usual," Rukia commented.

"I could give you a detention for that remark," Renji warned.

She rolled her eyes, "But I know you won't."

He suppressed a smile, "Try me."

He turned his attention back to the class, "Take out your damn textbooks," He waited as the class scrambled to retrieve their books and then continued, "Good, you idiots can follow directions. Now, turn to page sixty and answer the questions at the end of chapter."

Rukia giggled quietly to herself before following Renji's directions. She just couldn't resist messing with him, it was too much fun.

"Psst, Rukia," Rangiku poked her from behind, "Do you know this hotty?"

"Why are you asking?"

"You two seem familiar with each other," She shrugged.

"I'm not obligated to respond," Rukia concluded before returning to her work.

"Aw, come on. I thought we were best friends," She pouted.

"Drop it, Rangiku."

"Don't make me find out, cause' I will, Rukia-chan," Rangiku sang mischievously.

Rukia struggled to finish the class work as she suffered the beady eyes of Rankigu on the back of her head the whole time. She was once again saved by the heroic bell and started to pack away her books.

"Rukia, I need to speak with you after class," Renji told her.

Her classmates rushed out of the room, all whispering about the new teacher.

"I don't like him, he's strict."

"Yeah, but Abarai-sensei is just as hot as Aizen-sensei."

Rangiku winked at Rukia, "I'll see you in Biology."

Finally alone with her history teacher, Rukia asked, "What do you need, pineapple head?"

"I was going to scold you for making me look like an idiot on my very first day," He said.

"You know I couldn't help myself," She rolled her eyes, "Now what's really on your mind?"

Renji chuckled, "We need to make up for lost time. How about we go on a date this weekend?"

"What are you talking about? You're my sensei remember?" She blushed profusely as thoughts of Kurosaki-sensei annoyingly popped into her head.

"Then how about a study-date?" He rolled his eyes when Rukia blanched, "What's wrong with spending time with my childhood friend?"

She smiled half-heartedly, "I'll think about it."

The rest of the school day past in the monotonous procedures she practiced every day; history, math, lunch, literature, English, physical education and art. Rukia could not stop thinking about the return of her lost friend, Renji. Seeing him again caught her off-guard. There were so many questions to be asked: Where have you been in these past five years? Why didn't you try to contact me? Why did you leave me? But she bit her lip and pretended as if she didn't care. She wouldn't depend on anyone, and she wouldn't trust anyone ever again. Rukia was eager to finish the day and rest in the saftey of her room, away from real life. Once biology came, Rukia became edgy in the presence of ever-so-rightous Kurosaki-sensei.

"I hope everyone had a good weekend," Kurosaki-sensei commented.

Rukia recounted her memorable weekend and could only conjure embarrassing dinner scenes with her fiancé.

"How was your weekend, Sensei," Rukia asked sardonically.

He gave her a wry smile, "Terrible, actually. I was stuck babysitting some brat."

"Are you sure you weren't just stuck with your ego?" Rukia threw the remark at him casually.

The classroom flinched at the her challenging remark and waited with baited breath for Kurosaki-senei's reaction.

He sauntered towards her with a chuckle, "Very funny, Kuchiki. You know, I'm feeling rather generous today. How about a detention."

"That's sounds very sweet, but no thanks. Some of us have better things to do," Rukia replied.

"It wasn't a question, Kuchiki. Detention, afterschool today," He stated as if waving off a fly.

She cursed him silently under her breath and sat in a bitter mood for the rest of class. It was just what she needed- more time alone with Kurosaki.

The final bell rang and Rukia tried to escape within the group of students exiting the classroom.

However her attempts were to no avail as Kurosaki halted her, "Where do you think you're going?"

"Anywhere but here," Rukia muttered.

He placed a subtle hand on her shoulder, "Stay."

His tone was commanding, yet soft in the same form. Rukia was frozen in her movements as the warmth of his fingers lingered on her. It was a form of contact that she was unfamiliar with because it held a strange intimacy that scared her. The last student left the room, leaving the two of them alone in silence. The hand on Rukia's shoulder trailed lightly down her arm and took hold of her cold hand.

"Still no ring. I thought girls were crazy about that stuff," He commented.

It suddenly dawned upon her that Kurosaki-sensei was holding her hand, and her heart skipped a beat.

Rukia twisted her wrist from his grasp and replied coldly, "Don't touch me."

Kurosaki-sensei was toying with her. He always was.

"Am I that unbearable?" The question came out almost regrettably.

"I'm sorry," He said.

Rukia expected a sarcastic quip, an insult, anything but an apology and it caught her off guard. She didn't like it. What was he sorry for? Sorry about the date and embarrassing her? Sorry about putting her through hell everyday in class? Or sorry about being her fiancé? She stared untrustingly at Kurosaki's sincere expression.

They were both surprised when there was a knock on the door.

Renji poked his head inside the room and said awkwardly, "I heard Rukia would be here…Kurosaki-san, do you mind if you could reschedule her detention for another time? I have to talk to Rukia about her History project."

As always, Kurosaki was quick to regain his composure, "You must be the new History teacher, Abarai. Of course you may speak with Kuchiki-san."

"Thanks. Let's go, Rukia," Renji gestured her to follow him.

"It's a bit too soon to be calling new students by their first names," Kurosaki said as they walked out the door.

Rukia felt uneasy in response to Kurosaki-sensei's cold comment, however Renji did not seem to notice.

He turned to her and offered, "Do you need a ride home?"

"No, I can walk...Thanks for saving me from Kurosaki," Rukia said.

"It's not a problem. That girl Rangiku tipped me about what happened," he paused before continuing, "I heard it was for insubordination. Didn't think you were quite the rebel, Rukia."

"I'm not. He's just looking for an excuse to make my life more miserable."

Renji rolled his eyes, "He has a high passing rate and he seems like a decent guy. What's wrong with him?"

He's my fiancé.

That's what she wanted to say. Rukia wanted to tell Renji everything, because he was her best friend for as long as she could remember.

Rukia was four the first time she ran away from home. It was the first time she was ever alone, and she felt free like the falling leaves of October in the setting sun. Rukia went to the park because she always wished to go there. Looking at the swing sets and slides overwhelmed her, but Rukia picked the swings first because she wanted to fly like the other children. She perched herself on the swing with some difficulty and sat. There was no movement. Rukia was at a loss because she didn't know what she was doing wrong. Then the tears came rolling down her fat cheeks when she realized she would never be able to fly. She would never be free.

"Hey kid, why are you crying?"

It was a wild, red headed boy at the age of eleven with dirt on his cheeks and scabby knees. His lips were frowning and his strange eyebrows were pushed together.

"I can't fly," She said.

"Well that's stupid. People can't fly."

Rukia protested, "Yes they do! I see them fly everyday on this swing!"

The boy shook his head in amusement, "If you say so. Here, let me help you fly."

He walked around her and pushed her forward gently, "Hold on, kid."

"My name's not 'kid'. It's Rukia, dummy," She wiped away her tears. She was rising higher with each push and smiled as the wind blew past her tear-stained cheeks.

He laughed, "My name's not 'dummy'. It's Renji."

Her heart skipped as she found herself flying up into the sky, and she couldn't help but laugh too.

Rukia remembered when Byakuya found her at the park with Renji. He was angry and worried, but he was never able to keep Rukia from the park again. They grew up together at the park, but when Renji left for college, Rukia was alone once more.

"Hey, are you sure you don't need a ride? You seem kind of spaced out," Renji waved a hand across her face.

She swatted his hand away, "I'm fine, baka!"

"Alright, alright...Just be careful."

"No need to worry, I can take care of myself," Rukia said as she started to walk away.

With her eyes downcast, she subconsciously led herself down a familiar path and finally stopped in front of the old park. The playground was lonely and worn, the bright colors of the past now stood dully in the late afternoon light. She set down her things and easily perched herself on a rusted swing. She half-heartedly kicked off the ground, but the swing was too rusted to move anymore so she simply sat unmoving and grew cold. To Rukia, it symbolized her first taste of freedom, but now she realized what a silly notion it was, and that she would never be free from the loneliness she felt in her heart. She was empty inside.

Seeing Renji again made her happy, but it also brought on a wave of melancholy. He left her without notice...never tried to contact her...cut all connections. He was her first friend, but she felt expendable. Renji was back now, but he left her once, and he could easily do it again. That's why she tells herself that she doesn't need anybody, she was self-dependent now. She was all by herself and no one could save her.

Wallowing in her self-pity, Rukia made the mistake of neglected her surroundings.

Suddenly, her arms were twisted roughly behind her back and a large hand was clapsed tightly over her mouth. Heated lips found a comfortable place behind her neck and she felt chills. Falling out of surprise, Rukia smartly bit the offending hand and tasted a satisfying copper against her tongue. The assulter cursed and released her arms. Before she could prepare a drop-kick to the pervert, she realized with astonishment that it was simply Ichigo Kurosaki.

The realization did not stop her from back-handing him, "What the hell! Pervert!"

"You didn't have to bite me that hard," Kurosaki said as he nursed his wound.

Rukia's neck began to burn and her face turned hot, "Did you follow me here?"

"Che, that's what you get for not paying attention, baka. It's almost dark out, something worse could have happened," He reprimanded.

"You're wrong! I can take care of myself," She scowled.

Kurosaki laughed without humor, "How can you take care of yourself when you're so busy hiding from the real world?"

"It's none of your business, just leave me alone," Rukia hissed.

Kurosaki frowned, "Your business is my business. I'm responsible for your well-being, so stop trying to make things difficult!" He continued in a softer tone, "Don't make me worry about you. I already have enough on my plate."

"What's wrong with you? Why would you care what happens to me?" Rukia shouted with exasperation.

Kurosaki-sensei stared at her in a moment of confusion before hardening his gaze.

Shocked by his embracing arms, his warming presence and his beating heart. She was swept away in a bitter-sweet embrace.

"What an idiot. I care...because you are my student, and my wife."

A/N: Summer's here, so now I can finally update! Thank you so much for your support, and I'm terribly sorry for the long wait. Let me assure you, I love this story too much to give it up. Just be patient with me guys!

Review, Kudasai.