Disclaimer: I don't own BLEACH. (sadface.)
(Might be worth it to listen to the song A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope as it was the inspiration behind the plot of this story and also About A Girl by The Academy Is... because it was inspiration for this particular chapter.)
Dinner was stiff at best, even with Isshin's continuous antics. Rukia's head stayed down and she ate with the diligence of a parrot trained to take small bites of an offered cracker. Byakuya ate in far too formal a way, Yuzu's smile had been forced for the past ten minutes, and Karin was only just barely hiding her annoyance at the turn of events. Fed up, Ichigo finally set down his chopsticks, glared pointedly at the noble man to his left and then turned to his dad.
"Do you know each other. . . personally?" He asked. How else would Byakuya know where to look or find Rukia. It's not like Ichigo had ever met the man.
Byakuya took the liberty of answering.
"My hired help had the good sense to take in the peculiar color of your . . . hair. I remembered my late wife mentioning the son of her doctor having the same oddity in his youth, years ago." He stated primly. Rukia's head shot up. So rarely was Hisana ever brought up in conversation, and then eyes widen - as Ichigo's did - when realization dawned on the both of them.
"You were her doctor?" Ichigo asked Isshin. For the first time in several years Isshin seemed completely serious.
"Masaki asked me to. She and Kuchiki Hisana were close."
Rukia spared a glance at her adoptive brother and saw only scorn in his dark eyes. The questions she wanted to ask died in that look; Byakuya did not talk about Hisana and Rukia had the good sense not to bring her up in front of him.
"You knew her? You knew her and you didn't tell me?" Ichigo continued; Rukia and the rest at the table turn to watch the two.
"Kurosaki Isshin was the one to tell me where you were located, Rukia." Byakuya added. Ichigo looked confused, glancing back and forth between the two men; Rukia mimicked his movements and for the first time since being in her brother's presence she spoke boldly:
"You have to explain Kurosaki-san."
Isshin smiled, setting down his chopsticks.
"Of course, but call me Papa!" He grinned. "It's actually a good story," There was a pointed look directed at his son and then the youngest Kuchiki. "and just getting better." he added, at which Byakuya grunted, returning to his food. "My wife Masaki, Rukia, and your sister Hisana were very close when they were younger, Hisana was a few years younger, but they were neighbors - I think Masaki might even mentioned babysitting Hisana - they kept in touch when Hisana moved to Tokyo with her parents and her baby sister. When your parents died Masaki lost touch with Hisana, during that time I can only assume she tried to care for you and ended up giving you up. A couple of years later Hisana called Masaki to announce that she was getting married and the two reconnected. Masaki was so happy; it's hard to forget that kind of thing. You were both very young at that point, but Ichigo can probably remember Hisana coming by the house to visit once in awhile." Ichigo could remember a women who looked very similar to Rukia now that he thought about it. How could he have been so blind? "When Hisana got sick Masaki asked me to treat her, and I agreed; but I suppose we were only prolonging the inevitable. . ."
Byakuya slammed down his chopsticks.
"If you had been more efficient and not so caught up in other matters that would not have been the case." He stated. Isshin frowned.
"I tried Byakuya." He stated sadly. "I did." There was silence for a moment.
"What happened next?" Yuzu asked quietly from her seat, she and Karin seemed intent on the story.
"Hisana passed away; she'd always talked about finding her younger sister and up until that point had continued to search for her. Hisana told Masaki that she would ask her husband to continue her search if she died, and she did; and Byakuya also kept his promise, though I don't guess he came up with much either in Tokyo where he lived." Isshin turned to Byakuya, but the regal man said nothing. "Not too much later Masaki also passed away. When Rukia turned up at the theatre I didn't think much of it, I'm friends with the owners you know, Yoruichi said she'd gotten a new recruit, and when Ichigo and his sisters started regularly attending I got interested and went with them. Rukia, you and Hisana could be twins." Isshin grinned and Rukia smiled. "I hadn't talked to Byakuya since Hisana's death, but I called him to tell him I thought I'd found his wife's sister. Not two months later you were adopted, left the theatre and began your new life, and now here we are - Masaki's son and Hisana's sister; friends. . ." He stopped for a minute, then grinned wider. "This could be a plot straight out of a Korean romance film!" Isshin finished dramatically. Rukia and Karin snorted simultaneously when Ichigo punched his dad.
"Idiot." He muttered.
"But Ichigo, you found a girl that can stand to be around you for a whole day! And you have a history!"
"Shut up!" Ichigo twitched, ready to hit his father again.
"Enough." Byakuya stated icily; drawing the eyes of the table. "I have found my sister and we have humored you with an evening meal. We are leaving."
"But Nii-sama!" Rukia interjected. Byakuya sent her a glare and she quieted, standing up.
"How does Oto-san know that Ichi-nii spent all day with Rukia-nee?" Yuzu whispered to Karin.
"It's goat-face. . ." Karin muttered by way of explanation.
"Byakuya." Ichigo stated, standing also.
"Don't talk to me so informally, boy. You may know my sister, but you do not know her well enough to be her friend, and I want her to have nothing to do with this family."
"Because you blame them for Nee-san's death? It wasn't there fault." Rukia stated. The two siblings stared at each other for a moment and the room was silent.
"Byakuya, it truly was just a tragedy. . ." Isshin stated. Byakuya sent a glare his way and then left for the door.
Rukia exchanged a look with Ichigo.
"Give me your phone." She said.
"Rukia!" Byakuya hollered. Rukia glanced towards the door and then turned to Ichigo again, gesturing with for the phone.
"Come on strawberry!" Ichigo rolled his eyes, but did as she said, she typed something in and then handed it back to him.
"Thank you so much for the meal Kurosaki-san." Rukia said, bowing slightly.
"Ah-ah 'Papa' my wonderful third daughter!" Isshin smiled.
"Third daughter?" Karin whispered to Yuzu.
"And Rukia," Isshin smiled, "come visit any time." She nodded and then rushed out the door. For a moment the Kurosaki family was silent. Then Isshin grinned wickedly at his son.
"So that's the same Kuchiki Rukia who's been hiding on a poster in your room all these years." He stated thoughtfully. Ichigo turned red. "My son the woman stalker. . . I'm so proud!"
Ichigo's fingers twitched before he punched Isshin again.
"Masaki, our son is so cruel!"
That night Ichigo lay in his bed; locked from his crazy father he pulled out the poster that had been hidden for years. The irony of his life was amazing. Truly. On his desk his cell phone buzzed and for a moment he ignored it. When it buzzed again he growled.
He put the poster down on his bed, over one of his pillows and a stuffed lion he'd had forever and had yet to throw away. The phone blinked of a text message and he opened them not to Keigo, but an unknown number.
So I hear you're going to Tokyo for university. The first read.
Make it Todai University Strawberry; I'll see you there.
And they all lived happily ever after? You know, except for college between the two. xD The end.
I'm sorry it took so long to get this chapter out; I hit a road block and couldn't figure out how to finish this, I'll probably ended up tweaking it because I pretty much slammed into today without re-reading it or anything; also, I've got to go back and edit the last chapter because I missed something with consistency that I'm hoping all of you missed .
On the subject of all of you; you are all such wonderful reviewers, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the story and stuck with it. I swear that I usually reply to reviews; but I can't remember who I replied to so I'm just going to go ahead and do this:
To: Juveniliare - Thank you so much for your multiple reviews, and being a pretty big nudge to continue with your enthusiasm. :D you chellythemadhatter and Misanthropee were the only three to review more than once and I love all of you for that!
To: missblissx, Crimsonkat, DameM, KJ, Specimen No5, teshichan, chellythemadhatter, SoundlessSong, xXxMiserableLoveFairyxXx, Madgyal, Ashezo, xxxBitterSweetMemoriesxxx, pamianime, pinkypinkypinky, Thornspike, anon, and pigsinthesky. All of y'alls reviews were wonderful and I enjoyed reading all of them; the ones that helped me with corrections were very helpful and you're all inspiration. :D
To: theasian-soymilkrice on Tumblr (Who might also be one of these reviewers, I haven't quiet figured out yet xP) Much thanks for being 1) awesome and 2) inspiring me to actually finish this chapter~
Now, review; tell me if y'all would be interested in a sequel, point out my grammar and spelling errors, and enjoy the rest of your day!
(I've got a job interview tomorrow that I'll be preparing for ;P)