Breath of Life
Adding to the Unease~
The small female shinigami stepped through the door into Urahara's shop. The man glanced up while moving a lollipop in his mouth. "Have you been told that you're not to stay at the Kurosaki household?"
"Hitsugaya Taicho said something about how they had a guest staying at their place." The small female glanced around at the racks of candy, her mouth twisting up as she examined them. "No... this won't do at all."
"What are you thinking about Rukia?" The man pulled the lollipop out of his mouth with a loud popping sound.
"I was thinking of getting a gift for the guest." The small female folded her arms. "But to be honest, candy isn't my first choice."
"Let me guess." The man held the lollipop towards her. "You want something chappy themed?"
"Of course!" Rukia brightened up. "You wouldn't happen to have anything would you?"
"No..." The man then tugged on his hat. "Rukia, if the Kurosaki family happens to have a family member visiting don't you think it is a bit rude to be intruding on them."
"That's why I need the gift." The female folded her arms. "I can find it else where if need be."
"But you're not staying with them, so you needn't worry about intruding." The man put his candy back into his mouth.
"I don't want to intrude, but I'm likely going to need to ask Ichigo for help. That means I'm going to have to go to his house at some point in time." The female continued to look at the stuff. "I guess I'll be just picking up my gigai before heading to one of the local stores. It's funny... you say the quest is a relative of Ichigo. He's never really talked about other family members. Is being able to see us that much of a burden in regards to the rest of his family?"
"Well, you know where the gigai is, so you should go ahead and get it." He narrowed his eyes at her, folding his arms across his chest. When Rukia finally left he got up and went to the phone. "Hello... can I speak to Kurosaki Isshin? No, no... I'm not a sales person. Is this..." The phone clicked off. "...Kaien-dono. Well, that wasn't good. Of course he knows how to use a phone because he's used a Soul Phone before."
When dinner was finished Kaien went to work washing the dishes from the table. As he scooped up the dishes and carried them over Yuzu frowned at him. He glanced up at her pouting face. "Please tell me that you aren't going to cry again. I'm not understanding why you are getting mad at me like this."
The phone suddenly rang and he picked up the phone just as Ichigo raised an eyebrow in surprise. "This is the Kurosaki residence. How may I help you?" There was a pause. "Are you a sales person? If so I am going to hang up."
"Who was that?" Ichigo turned slightly in the wooden chair and caused it to creak.
"A sales person." The man then set about cleaning the dishes while Yuzu pulled a stool over.
"I can at least dry, right?" The girl continued to pout as she stood there waiting for the first dish to be washed.
"I don't see why not." Kaien handed her the dish, only to find himself getting an earful of bubbling speech, which was the exact opposite of what she was before. "Your father headed off to the clinic rather fast."
"Today's the day he does all the paperwork." Karen went and sat down on the couch. "So, Uncle Kaien, what do you like doing for fun?"
The man frowned as he thought of the question. "For some strange reason I think I used to teach a boy's soccer team. I am not sure why."
Ichigo gave Kaien an utter look of confusion before going back to burying his face into the newspaper. "Sure you did."
"That's mean Ichi-nii!" Yuzu muttered.
There came a knocking at the door and the orange haired teen went to the door to see who it was. The sound of the boy's voice hit a pitch a teenagers voice shouldn't normally hit. "Rukia? What are you doing here?"
The plate that was in Kaien's hand suddenly slipped out of his grip and slipped to the ground shattering as he stared wide eyes at the back of the sink. Karen got up from the couch and began to tug on her uncle's sleeve towards the clinic. This only served to jar him out of the daze he was in. "Where are the broom and dustpan. You two shouldn't be cleaning this up. It's my fault and I wouldn't want you to get hurt."
"I came by to see if I could get your help with my mission." The female's voice paused for a few seconds. "Ichigo, that voice..."
"What voice... I didn't hear any voice." The boy felt the corner of his mouth twitch before the girl shoved past him.
Yuzu had gotten the broom and dustpan and was watching as Kaien swept the broken glass up. Karen attempted to move between Rukia's view and their uncle. Her hands clasped behind her back while her mouth twisted up from the knowledge that things likely weren't going to go the way she wanted despite her best intentions.
The small shinigami first moved to the kitchen while Ichigo grabbed her arm in an attempt to prevent her from seeing the man. "Rukia, you can't just barge in like this."
It was then that Kaien stood up to dump the broken dish into the trash only to have his eyes focus in on the small shinigami. Rukia's mouth opened and then shut a couple of times. "Kaien-dono."
Ichigo rolled his eyes into the back of his head. Kaien though frowned at her. "Sorry, but do I know you."
"Rukia-nee! This is our uncle Kaien. Ichi-nii must have told you about him despite the fact papa told us not to say anything." Yuzu smiled at her. The dark haired man frowned at Rukia as if he found the fact she was staring at him as if she knew him to be disconcerting. He moved over to the trash can.
"That's not possible." Rukia continued to stare at the man.
"By the way, who is your friend Ichigo?"
"Rukia, she's just..."
Yuzu interrupted what he was saying. "She's Ichi-nii's girlfriend."
The dark haired shinigami felt her cheeks suddenly heat up. "That's..."
"No! Yuzu!" Ichigo waved his hand and gave his sister a rather flabbergasted look. "Rukia and I are classmates. She came over asking for some help on..."
"Homework." The small female suddenly grinned as she curtsied at the man. "We really need to be getting to work on the class project we've been assigned as its due in a week! Come on Ichigo!"
The small female grabbed his arm and dragged the boy up the stairs. When they were gone Kaien turned to the two girls. "While they may not be dating, it seems rather obvious that they like each other."
"See? Ichi-nii and Rukia-nee are in serious denial." Yuzu then glared at Karen. "Almost as in big of a denial as two other people I know."
"I'm not in denial Yuzu." The girl headed over to the couch. "Hey, oji-san. Do you want to watch a movie with me and Yuzu."
"As soon as I finish with the dishes." He then turned to look at Yuzu who was frowning and looking at the ground. "Is something the matter?"
"No. I just remembered a bit of homework I have to do before I watch the movie with you."
Rukia quickly pulled Ichigo upstairs and into his room. She then shoved him towards the bed and stood there with her arms folded, tapping her foot and glaring at him. The orange haired teen flipped over onto his back. "What ever is the matter with you Rukia?"
"Ichigo... what is going on here?"
The boy folded his arms. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to tell you that I am not able to have guests staying here. But..."
"Ichigo!" The small female pulled a stuffed chappy from her bag and held it out. "I knew you had a guest and had brought a gift for them as I knew I would have to come over and get your help on the mission. I didn't realize that the mission would be right here in your own home! But then it shouldn't surprise me."
"Rukia, I don't think my uncle would like the creepy bunny." The boy stared at the overly cute stuffed animal wondering what was going on with the girl.
The rabbit was suddenly thrown at his head. "Don't you dare tell me what Kaien-dono would or would not like! And he isn't your uncle!"
Ichigo let out a deep breath and grabbed the bunny off the bed. He then walked behind her and grabbed her shoulders and walked her over to his desk to sit down. "Rukia... you need to calm down."
"Calm down Ichigo? I know that you may be trying to help Kaien out, but pretending that he is your uncle simply because he has lost his memories is wrong. And..."
"I'm not the one who found him and brought him home. It was my dad Rukia. And if he says that Kaien is his brother then I'm going to believe him. I know he hasn't told me certain things, but when he has told them to me he has so far not lied to me." Ichigo snapped the words out.
The small female looked at him, her eyes wide in confusion. "Your father?"
"My father is a former shinigami, all right? Karen knows that he used to be a captain level shinigami because I told her when she told me... that reminds me! Karen says she saw one of Uncle Kaien's memories and that he knows you. What's that about anyways? You obviously acted like you know him despite the fact his memories of you are gone."
Rukia leaned back in the chair. "What do you mean by she saw one of his memories? Which one Ichigo?"
"Ahh... apparently Karen has an ability to empathize with people and pick up emotions and memories, kind of like how you can sometimes see another persons memories by clashing with their zampaktuo." Ichigo frowned. "Rukia, are you crying."
The small female raised a hand to her eye. "Yeah, I guess I am."
"Rukia, you can't tell Soul Society about our uncle being here. My dad may be crazy at times, but he was damn adamant that we not let you guys know."
"Ichigo, I'm going to have to think of a way around telling them, but believe me when I say I don't want to tell them about Kaien-dono of all people." She let out a deep sigh. "We do have to tell..."
"Nobody..." The male crossed his arms across his chest.
"Ichigo! We need to tell Shiba Kukaku."
"Oh, her? I had thought about talking to her as dad wasn't giving me answers, but I didn't want to risk getting on her bad side. I mean, if he is her ex-boyfriend or something. That would be bad." The male folded his arms. "Her beatings..."
"Ichigo!" The female shook her head. "This is what I am talking about Kaien not being your uncle! His full name is Shiba Kaien and there are only three siblings, Kaien-dono and the other two you've met."
"Are you sure?" Ichigo frowned.
"That isn't it. Kaien-dono is supposed to be dead."
"Are you sure?"
"Am I sure? I'm the one you killed him!" The girl closed her eyes. "I will need to talk to Karen to see what memory she has."
"If you're worried about her hating you because you killed him..."
"The story's complicated." Rukia let out an angry sound before closing her eyes. "Kaien-dono used to be the fukutaicho of the thirteenth before me. He was also married. I looked up to both of them and his wife was taken over by a Hollow. He swore he'd kill her, but then he got taken over as well and I ended up killing him."
"That's it? I'm sure he'll forgive you."
"Ichigo! He should be headed into the cycle of rebirth because..." Rukia paused. "Of course. That may explain a lot of things."
"Care to fill me in?"
The small female glanced up. "The hollow I encountered when we were rescuing Orihime had absorbed the Hollow that took over Kaien-dono. Thus he ended up with his memories as well. I killed him though, but there is a chance there was a back up of Kaien-dono's memories that Mayuri some how got a hold of."
"You mean the guy who made clones of himself?" Ichigo took a deep breath. "He made a clone of my uncle?"
"Ichigo... we don't know if he is your uncle or not. We need to be able to speak with Kukaku about that."
"Should I think of him as being the real Kaien or not though?"
"I don't know. I don't want to think about it really."