Tite Kubo owns Bleach. I do not. I also do not make money from writting fan fiction. This is something I had beleived was lost forever. A repost.

Small Light

Chapter 8: A Simple Kiss

Flowers. The heavenly scent intoxicated him. If he were not already under her trance she would have had him then. He drank in her scent and loved her. He only wished he could show her, tell her or look at her.

'Damn! She's so close to me and I can't do anything to let her know how I feel,' Hanataro cursed his poor luck. He was never the lucky one, born under a cursed star one might say, or better yet his life was a cosmic joke. He sighed inwardly, 'I love you. You're smart, brave and very beautiful. I want to be with you. You make me feel special. Life is wonderful with you here. My heart aches, in a good way.' If he was actually confessing he would probably have stuttered and his voice may have cracked. In his head it came out perfectly, 'I love you Yuzu Kurosaki.' That locked it. He was hers and hers alone. 'You wouldn't care for me though I had better just forget about you. You probably will have hundreds of suitors now...'

"Hanataro, I don't know if you can hear me, but I wanted to say something..." She had his attention.

'What? What do you need to say precious Yuzu?'

"I-ummm...I-I think I love you," Yuzu was smiling he could hear her smile but he also heard insecurity, "I have no business saying this to you, I am nothing to you." She gulped in the fear that he would wake up and tell her he hated her.

'That, that's a lie! I know you can't think that!'

He was angry, he didn't know why, and he wasn't exactly angry at her. He mentally clenched his fists and his hands both twitched. He heard Yuzu give a quiet gasp.

'Oh god even her gasps are pretty. It is strange that I like hearing it; really, really like it.'

"Don't hate me..." Yuzu leaned forward.

'Why would I hate you, I could never hate-' His thought was cut off when soft lips pressed against his own, 'Oh god, oh god, oh god! She's kissing me! Oh gosh…' A fine trickle of blood escaped his nose. A spindly yet strong arm came around her neck. His eyes stayed closed, but the rest seemed to be working. Yuzu slid her own arms under his neck and lifted him off the pillow slightly. This would have been a very touching scene, if only...

"What the Hell! Yuzu! Why are you Kissing Hanataro!" ...Some strange man with spiky orange hair came in and screamed. She looking like a frightened rabbit she pulled away from the half conscious medic causing his head to plop roughly back on the bed. His arm seemed to reach for her then fell limply.

'Oh no! I think Ichigo is gonna kill me.'

He shivered, 'I wish she hadn't left me though! I'd die this second if only to feel her heart beat against mine.'

"W-who are you?" Yuzu had backed away from Hanataro, "I'm sorry I promise I wasn't going to hurt him." Yuzu mistaking Ichigo's anger as being directed at her for taking advantage of the helpless boy (which she was totally doing). She blushed and shied away from both men.

"I-Yuzu-Hana-Waa?" Ichigo thought his head was going to explode. 'Yuzu-Kissing-Unconscious-Helpless-Hanataro? Yuzu was taking advantage of Hanataro? No-no-no-no-no! NO! NOOOOO!'

Karin walked in with little Ichirou balanced on her hip had missed the whole scene, "Hey, what's with you Ich?" She elbowed the zombified Ichigo. He snapped out of his mental withdraw, glared at her then looked at his innocent little sister trying to hide from them. He slipped back into the sweet bliss of denial as his little son was thrust upon him.

"Yuzu! Oh, I've missed you so much!" Karin went to her. The smaller twin was backed into a corner. She slid to the floor and hid herself.

"I'm sorry! Really I am! I'm not a ryoka! I ha-have permission to be here! Hanataro is my f-friend. Please don't hurt me shinigami!" Neither Ichigo nor Karin expected this, they were wearing their uniforms she had the mistaken idea they were there to collect her and haul her off to prison. They suddenly realized that they were not talking to little Yuzu from Karakura Town, but Yuzu the soul from the 87th division of the Rukon district. Those people who live in Rukon fear the soul reapers.

"I'm sorry we didn't mean to scare you. Yuzu, we-we're your family," Karin moved closer smiling softly like she rarely smiled. It was her special smile for Yuzu. If any man saw her without her near permanent scowl that man would be helpless to her whims. Her face was angelic on par with Helen of troy and she looked more like Yuzu then Ichigo in that moment.

Her beauty radiated out and comforted the smaller girl. Karin held her hand out. Yuzu tentatively accepted the hand and allowed herself to be lead away from the room, casting one look back to Hanataro. Ichigo followed and Rukia took the opportunity to go sit with the little medic.

Karin took the requested a free room so they could have their reunion in privacy. "Come on Ichigo. Isane said we could use this private room. She also offered to take Ichirou. She really seemed intent on getting him for a few moments," The soul reaper looked past his sister and indeed there was a very excited looking lieutenant.

"Sure, Ichirou you go with Lieutenant Kotetsu. Be a good boy for her," He handed his little copy over and the woman literally ran with him to her captain's offices. Giggles and coos could be heard as she and her captain made over the adorable little boy. Soon he saw more female medics crowding the captain's door, "You will make sure he doesn't get crushed or anything?" He shouted at the gaggle of female medics.

"Come on you know he is safe with Retsu and Isane," She smirked at his unnecessary worry.

"Come now let's talk to our sister." Karin was ecstatic the only thing keeping her from simply beaming like an idiot and hugging her sister to her second death was the fear that it was all just a dream. She often had this very dream, to wake up looking for her sister in the empty bed that used to cradle her sleeping form. Still there, still untouched to this very day. Empty like her heart felt. Late at night only when she had been certain nobody could hear her she cried bitterly over those cruel dreams. This was no dream she had secretly been pinching herself, if one would lift up her left sleeve they would witness black and purple marks along her upper arm. Now it couldn't be so cruel as to disappear.

"You said you are my family? The ones Hana told me about?"

Ichigo fought the slip back into his blissful stupor of ignorance, "D-did you call him Hana? Are you that close?" Ichigo regretted that he'd have to kill sweet little Hanatarou, '…But nobody kisses my innocent little Yuzu and lives.'

Yuzu was blushing, "Not particularly, I have no right to call him that, but he is the closest friend I have. I owe my life to him." Yuzu smiled at this.

"He saved your life?" Ichigo suddenly having second thoughts about ending the little medic.

"Yes sir," Yuzu nodded with a serous look on her face, "I was attacked and he came and helped me. He was hurt though. I helped heal him that time." She looked ready to say more, but then clamped her mouth shut. Yuzu eventually got the whole story out. It was an old story in the seireitei by now the rumors ran rampant about the new Kurosaki.

"Hanataro has been telling me about the academy. He said I should go, that I would make a good medic," here face was serene.

"That would be great Yuzu!" Karin shouted excitedly, "Then you could get a mission in the real world! We could take you to see dad."

"Absolutely not!" Ichigo growled.

"Ichigo!" Karin looked aghast, "Why not!"

"What do you mean why not?" Ichigo scowled at the older of the two twins, "It's-it's to dangerous. Besides the fact that if she did become a fourth she'd face the worst discrimination not to mention bullying! You know what that guy was planning to do to Hanatarou! You heard Unohana! He was almost raped! I can't handle the possibility that my little sister might have such a thing happen to her."

"But Ichigo she, we, they-they should give her a chance if she had the ability to heal she should..."

"No! If they wont protect him," gesturing in Hana's direction, as if they were still in the room with him! What makes you think she will be safe!" He screamed. Two medics stopped right outside their private room.

"What makes you think she will be safe if she stays in Rukon!" Karin poked his chest, not just poked jabbed would be a better word. He looked at her finger, batting it away fuming.

Yuzu felt dizzy watching the volley of angry words. The whole thing went too far for her taste. They had forgotten she was in the room. Her first instinct was to slip out the door and go back to Hanatarou's side. But something made her stay, and it made her angry too.

"Kūkaku and Ganju will watch her!" Ichigo's face was red and set in a deep scowl. Karin's mirrored. They looked more like twins then she and Yuzu had ever. They failed to see the rare sight of their sister wearing the very same scowl.

'Watch me? What do they think I am? A helpless child? A lost kitten?'

"Who the HELL do you think you are? I'm still here!" Yuzu screamed, "What to you know about me. Do you think I'm WEAK? Do you think my mind is compromised? I-sure I was afraid of you. I have a lot to fear in this world. I have lived in it, however! I have lived through cruelty. Beatings and fowl words...Near starvation...And yes I was almost RAPED! Hanataro saved me from it. That was what that man would have done. Not just that; he saved me from it all. Only a few days ago I was living in HELL," Her voice cracked, but she maintained her dignity and kept her tears at bay, "Life was pain and want, with no friendship! NO LOVE!" She stifled a sorrowful moan, "If he had not risked his life...I don't know you people! If you are my family so be it! Hanataro is my friend and he risked his life for me. He never asked anything of me, he always talks to me and not about me! He trusts me! I LOVE HIM! He was attacked coming to see the Shibas and me! He deserves better, better then me!" She gestured toward herself violently.

Ichigo and Karin stood facing the girl. She was standing straight, commanding respect and fear. She finished and sighed heavily. She didn't shrink from her position in the middle of the small room. She held her head high and looked at them silently demanding a response.

"Yuzu?" Karin stunned could say nothing else, "Yuzu?"

Ichigo humbled himself and bowed lowly, "My apologies Yuzu. Can you forgive me for being an arrogant prick?"

"Ichigo!" Karin almost smiled at him before scowling at him. She bowed too, "I am sorry for ignoring you. This is hard. You, you're...for us to assume nothing has changed in the last five years...well It was plain stupid. I only wish we could have found you sooner."

"Well I have to agree," Yuzu said coolly, "But I-I guess I can see your side of it." She smiled just a tiny bit. "Don't get me wrong I am still very pissed!" Yuzu cursing at them was just so very wrong.

'Yuzu Cursing? Kissing Boys,' Again Ichigo's mind screamed to a halt and refused to restart. Karin elbowed him when she noticed the glazed look in his eyes. He shook it off.

"S-so what would you like to do?" Ichigo thinking he already knew the answer.

"I actually don't know. I've not had the time to think about it. I would like to become a healer. The academy is the best route to my goal." She smiled softly.

'There that looks more like you,' Karin thought and smiled at the thought, "Well you have all the time in the world. I don't expect the Shiba Clan to boot you out anytime soon."

"I know. Kūkaku has sort of adopted me, Ganju too. It is almost like family, Like y-you I-I guess." She tried to smile. She had not been mentally prepared to meet her 'family' hence the break from normal behavior on her part. She felt tired she hated to have to deal with this when Hanataro might wake up at any moment.

"We are just so, so scared to lose you again," Ichigo said restraining his emotions, mostly his anger, "It would hurt so much to lose you again."

"I am glad you have come to meet me." Yuzu smiled a little to sweetly, "But I am tired and this is a lot to take in."

"It's ok we understand, but could we eat dinner together? Maybe take the time to get reacquainted." Karin sounded pained, like they were being rejected. Deep in her heart she knew that was not true but doubt would always be there just under the surface. Karin's words were all the cue she needed she left them to return to Hanatarou's side.

"Well that went better then expected," Ichigo said dryly.

"What did you expect?" A sweet voice called out from behind the two dejected figures in the small hospital room. Karin and Ichigo turned to find Captain Unohana holding a sleeping Ichirou in her arms. She looked like a saint or a Madonna holding the babe. Ichigo held his hands out to accept his son. She gave him up, "You must give her time. Arguing in front of her certainly won't help, ignoring her while arguing...well that's a given on the not to list." She walked away leaving them to ponder her words.

"I think we need to give her some space. We have the rest of our lives to bring her around, shouldn't we give her time with her friend." Karin left the room. Ichigo followed.

"Ichigo she could have chosen worse. Actually I can't think of someone more perfect for her. Not even in the living world. He is kind and gentle, and determined." Her eyes sparkled a bit. She peeked in at her sister then holding Hanatarou's limp hand to her cheek. "Look at her Ichigo. She is happy and so tranquil." Ichigo growled at the sight but kept his tongue. They walked out of the clinic. "Ich- I'm gonna go see some friends."

"Which friends? Or friend," Ichigo smirked.

"Oh just some of the guys Toshiro, Maybe Ikkaku and Yumi," She ticked off, then whispered she didn't know why, but she did, "Kira?"

Then she knew why he was smirking, "Maybe I should go give Kira a warning not to touch my innocent little sister. I need to work out this frustration somehow."

"To bad you have to go put Ichirou down for a nap," She sneered before shunpoing away,

"Bye big brother!"