Rabbit and Carrot

Chapter 12

I calmly walked down the hospital's corridors and passed all of my brother's employees who stood solemnly against the walls. I tried my best to contain my hysteria. A Kuchiki is not allowed to lose their composure this easily. I angered my head so the people around me couldn't see the tears in my eyes.

Just the week before, my sister was in my kitchen, happily eating the chocolate chip cookies my chef had made, but now…

With shaking fingers I grabbed the doorknob and turned. My eyes immediately settled on the immobile figure on the bed, seemingly glowing under the afternoon sun that streamed into the room.

Slowly, I walked up.

"Nee-sama?" My voice sounded small, like a child's.

She didn't stir.

My hand wouldn't stop shaking as I touched her sleeping face. Numerous machineries were attached to my sister and one of them beeped slowly as it monitored her heartbeat.

I reached out and held my sister's hand while being careful as to not to touch the bandages that peeped out from the sleeve of her hospital gown.


I looked up to see my brother stepping inside the door. I stared at his tired face and bit my lip, "Nii-sama… What's happened?"

He rubbed his face and sat down in the chair beside the bed. He took a moment to search for words before saying, "Your sister… She had a severe asthma attack while we were taking a walk but she forgot her inhaler. The doctor said she's in a coma from the lack of oxygen."

I glanced back at my sister. She looked so frail…"It's never been this bad before."

My brother just shook his head, "The doctors couldn't explain how it happened either."

"When will she wake up?" I tried to sound nonchalant.

"The doctors don't know," his voice sounded quiet and strained.

"But she will, right?"

My lip started quivering when my brother didn't answer. "Well?" I raised my voice.

In that moment, my brother looked 10 years older and I regretted my tone. He was going through the same feelings as me, maybe even more. They've been together for nearly two decades, after all.

"We just have to hope for the best."

I exhaled deeply and said determinedly, "She will wake up, she has to."

There was a quiet knock and a black-haired man came inside.

"Good evening, Byakuya-sama," he greeted in a solemn tone unlike his usually cheerful one. "Good evening, Rukia-sama."

"Isshin," my brother walked to him and they shook hands. They exchanged a look and my brother turned to me.

I understood even before he said anything. Looking at my sister one last time, I reluctantly left the room with a sigh. I was used to being excluded from the important conversations. If it concerned me, I would eventually be informed. I didn't have the right to intrude, not after I so downrightly declined my brother's offer before.

I was about to walk through the front door of the hospital when I was attacked with hundreds of flashing lights and shouted questions.

"Kuchiki-san, how is your sister?"

"Kuchiki-san, is it true she's in a coma?"

"How many doctors have you got treating her, Kuchiki-san?"

Journalists… I cursed under my breath.

"Contain yourselves," the nearest security guard barked above the noise. "Or else we would be forced to call the police!"

Ignoring the urge to grievously hurt them all I turned right around and walked back inside. Moments later I exited through the back doors of the hospital and hurried into my car.

Ah, the drawbacks of being rich and famous...

I sighed in relaxation as I let myself sink into my bathtub that could pass as a giant, heated pool. Because of all the chaos I went through that day, I allowed myself to forget about the world outside those closed ebony double doors for a little while.

I did a few peaceful laps around the pool, enjoying the silence save for the occasion splash of water. As I was about to do my sixth lap, there was a knock on the door and a timid maid came in.

"Sorry to disturb you, Rukia-sama," she fiddled with the hem of her dress. "But there's someone in the foyer demanding to see you."

"Name?" I sighed.

Whoever it was, I was going to make sure they regretted stepping inside this buildin-

"Kurosaki Ichigo."

A pause.

"I'll be out in a moment, let him in."

"Yes, Rukia-sama," she said in a relieved tone, no doubt thinking of the last maid that had interrupted my bath time.

After she left, I unwillingly got out of my bathtub.

Thirty minutes later I emerged from my bedroom, fully dressed, to see Ichigo staring at my living room in awe.

He turned to me when he saw me and said, "Rukia, your living room is the size of my house!"

I gestured to the maids and guards who were eyeing Ichigo in distrust and they left.

Ichigo sat down on the sofa, still taking in what he was seeing, "I knew you were rich but I didn't think… Wow…" He walked to the wall toward my left which was made completely of glass. He stuck his face against the glass while gawking at the scenery.

"So," I said and poured myself a glass of water. "Why are you here and how did you find out where I live?"

He walked over, took the glass from me and drank all the water before wiping his mouth with his sleeve and said, "Hey, Rukia, think I can crash here for the night?"

I widened my eyes, "Why?"

"My old man is a bit, uh, unhappy right now," he rubbed his neck. "He won't let me into the house."

I looked at him suspiciously but then sighed, "Whatever. There are a few spare rooms here so pick the one you like."

Ichigo froze and then broke into a big smile, "I knew I could count on you, Rukia! Thank you!"

I sighed as he raced off and looked at the empty rooms in my suite.

Why did I agree? But his words… made me feel less grumpy.

I mentally kicked myself and heaved another sigh. I was sighing so much lately. I turned to the nearest reflective surface and checked my face for wrinkles. Relieved that I hadn't found any I settled down on my couch and turned on my TV.

A moment later, from the corner of my eye I saw Ichigo walk back into the living room.

"Found one you like, Carrot?"

"Yeah, thanks again, Rukia." He replied. "But, uh, what's this?"

I looked over and bit back a laugh. There was a ball of white fur, otherwise known as Chappy, sitting on his shoulder and… nibbling at his hair.

"That's my pet rabbit," I said while I tried my hardest to keep a straight face. "I think she mistook your hair as her food."

Ichigo made a face, "I was lying on the bed and this thing jumped on the bed and attacked my head."

"She's not a thing," I rolled my eyes at him while untangling Chappy from his orange locks. "She's just hungry." I carried her to the kitchen and searched in the fridge for carrot sticks.

"Can I take a shower?"

"Go ahead. It's the second door to your left," I replied.

Ah, there they are. Grabbing the container of carrots I quickly gave the squirming Chappy one of them. She munched away happily and I returned to my TV.

Once again, my apartment was filled with peaceful silence until…

"Hey, Usagi-Kaichou," Ichigo called while poking his head out of his bedroom door with a weird look on his face. I looked at him, curious at his odd tone. I was too busy getting drowned in his warm brown eyes so it took me a moment to take in his next words.

"Wanna go out with me?"

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