Rabbit and Carrot

Chapter 20

I stared at the cup of green tea in my hands before looking at Ichigo, who was sitting next to me and looking very lost. I then watched Kaien, who was in the kitchen making some coffee for himself. "So what brings the great Kime-chan to my house tonight?"

I leaned back and stretched, "I took Ichigo to Urahara's club today."

"Oh," he sounded amused. "Did he meet K? Did he say anything?"

I nodded, "K was, uh, a bit busy so he told us he'd talk to Ichigo another time. Why weren't you at the club?"

"Had to do some stuff, you know," he shrugged. I watched him settle down in his seat opposite us. "So, this is the Kurosaki Ichigo we keep hearing about, huh?"

"N-nice to meet you," Ichigo said nervously.

"Kime's told me a lot about you," Kaien smiled.

"No I didn't!" I widened my eyes and my cheeks coloured. I ignored Ichigo's weird look and quickly changed the subject, "Kaien, are you packing?"

"Yeah, I'm going away again," he replied while looking at the suitcase against the wall. "I'm taking a trip to Tokyo."

"Again?" I let disappointment creep into my voice. "But you just got back."

"Sorry, little princess," he smiled sadly. "But I'm a busy man."

Busy, indeed. Busy scheming...

"How long has it been since I was last here?" I jumped out of my seat and skipped to the floor to ceiling window behind the chair.

"Start of the year, I think."

"I remember now," I put my hand on the glass and watched a group of chattering teenagers walk past the building. Ichigo should've been doing that. I should've been doing that but…

"We celebrated New Year's here. You, me, Nii-sama, Nee-sama –"

I was interrupted by a crisp clinking sound. Through the reflection in the glass, I saw that a certain golden something had fallen out of my pocket and was rolling toward the sofas.

"Whoops."

The glass in front of me shattered.

Turning right around I saw that my pale-faced carrot had thrown himself into Kaien. The two of them struggled on the floor as Kaien tried to aim the gun at me again while attempting to push Ichigo off. I strode over to them quickly whilst pulling out my own gun. Kaien stiffened when he spotted the pistol in my unwavering hand. My leg snapped out and the shotgun in his hand slid a good five metres away.

Shoot him! My mind screamed. I agreed, but now wasn't the right time.

"Ichigo, make sure no one comes into the apartment."

He looked at me incredulously, "But-"

"Go." I glanced at him, knowing he could recognise the message in my eyes.

Don't watch me when I…

Ichigo stood up, looked at me once more and then walked out of the room.

Kaien dashed for his gun. I kicked his feet causing him to fall but he had achieved his goal.

I rolled to my left just as a bullet flew past my ear while reaching for the knives hidden under the hem of my dress. I threw the knife and it impaled itself into the ground where Kaien was moments ago with a blunt clang.

My head whipped around to locate him just as dozens of bullets whizzed past me. Rolling behind the large black sofa, I steadied my hold on my gun before jumping up. I shot at the place where the bullets came from until I had no bullets left and ducked back down. Leaning against the sofa, I winced when pain flared up from my left arm. Warm blood trickled down the bullet wound in my upper arm but I disregarded it. I'd been through worse before.

As silently as I could, I reloaded my gun with the bullets I had kept in my bag before slowly crawling out from behind the couch.

Small holes appeared everywhere on the walls where Kaien and I had shot. I saw a shadow near my left and instinctively threw a dagger in that direction.

"Sh*t!"

Kaien's face was distorted in pain as he began to dislodge the knife that had his hand pinned to the wall.

"Rukia," he spoke desperately between huffs while he loosened the blade. "Remember all those times I was with you when K and Hisana couldn't? When I taught you how to fight? Let me go this time, ne?"

I stared down at him then silently bent down to retrieve his gun that had slipped out of his reach.

He should know better than anyone. When I was like this, I stopped for nothing.

What happened to him?

I heard a relieved sigh when my hand rested on the blade… and pushed.

His gasps of pain were the only sounds I heard as I straightened up and walked over to his suitcase. His other hand reached for the blade and I sent a bullet his way. I blocked out his yell when the bullet penetrated his shoulder and I unzipped his bag. It was filled with manila folders and a laptop.

I flipped through the documents but found nothing important. I walked back to him.

"Where do the members of fake Kings meet?"

"Ha…" he squinted at me with unfocused eyes. Impatient, I stomped on his leg, hearing the satisfying crack as bone snapped followed by another scream from his mouth.

"Tell me," I reminded him with a kick to his broken leg. "Where the other bastards in your gang meet?"

"I don't know, little prin– Gah," I watched him snap into a foetal position when I fired a bullet into his abdomen. "Really…I've *gasp* never been to *cough* the meetings." Blood began to trickle down the corner of his mouth and he said nothing else.

With a frustrated sigh, I left him there in search of his phone. His apartment was small, unlike mine, so it didn't take long to search the whole thing.

"Hey, Rukia," he suddenly found his voice again when I entered his bedroom. "You don't seem to think I'm the leader, do you?"

"You've stayed with us for almost 16 years, it's impossible for you to be with us and lead your own gang at the same time." I found his phone on top of his bedside table. Clicking my tongue, I slammed the photo frame next to phone down so I couldn't see the picture of the four of us that was taken at New Year's…

"Just for old time's sake," his voice was louder now and abnormally cheerful. "I'll let you in on something."

"And what's that?" Making sure there weren't any important things still in his room, I went back to the living room where Kaien was. I checked through his phone and was disappointed to find that the call history has bad been deleted but I put the phone in my bag just in case.

He coughed up more blood but plastered a smile on his face. "Shouldn't you be worrying about your brother, instead of being here watching a man like me die?"

"What?" I yanked on his hair but it was useless. The light in his eyes dimmed and I was staring at the corpse of Shiba Kaien. "Hmph," letting go of his hair, I pushed his words out of my head.

Just the words of a desperate and dying man, is all.

I dipped my fingers into the puddle of blood that had formed around him and wrote a message on the space on the wall above his head. It was clichéd, but I always did this after a job.

Straightening up again, I pulled out the knife. His arm flopped to the floor with a loud whump. I continued across the lounge room and pulled out the knife that was in the ground. I also grabbed his laptop and the bullet shell.

"Goodnight and goodbye, Kaien… Nii-chan…" I glided my hands over his eyes to close them.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass pieces on the floor. Small, red roses dotted my dress, shoes and legs. I clicked my tongue.

Another dress ruined…

At the door of the apartment I turned off the lights and glanced one last time at the red words on the wall that were bathed in moonlight.

Don't f*ck with Kings...


I couldn't do it. I realised that the second I was out of Kaien's apartment. I couldn't face Ichigo like this.

Tears threatened to spill out and I couldn't breathe. I slid down onto the floor and rested against the wall. Closing my eyes, I willed the tears away. When I opened my eyes again, they focused on the black laptop in my lap.

For the first time, the laptop didn't request for a password. It was also the first time I was using Kaien's laptop. He never let anyone touch his laptop and I guess it was to prevent anyone from finding out his true intentions.

I went through a few of his folders but found nothing interesting. An unnamed folder in the corner of the screen caught my attention. Clicking into it I found one picture and one word document.

The picture showed Kaien standing with two females and a male. The female that Kaien draped his arm around had her long black haired tied up and was giving the cameraman a small, graceful smile. The female on Kaien's other side had bandages wrapped around her head even though she wasn't hurt in any way. It took me a moment to realise she was missing her right arm. The man on the far left had a green bandana and had chin length black hair.

Other members from the other gang?

I opened the word document.

It was addressed to me.

I cursed.
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