Rabbit and Carrot

Chapter 19

Rukia,

I guess if you're reading this then I've probably already died. Knowing you, I'll have a broken bone or two, am I right? I wonder how I died, but I guess that doesn't really matter anymore.

I remember I was the one who first taught you martial arts over a decade ago. Back then, you couldn't even get close to me without gaining an injury and now…

Actually, you probably don't want to hear me talk about this. After all, I am a traitor. So, instead, I'll tell you a few things and maybe let understand my actions.

20 years ago, I was still a high school yakuza wannabe much like your friend, Ichigo.

Your brother was my best friend.

Of course, back then I didn't know he was from a yakuza family, so I ignored his warnings when I told him about my wish to become a yakuza. I joined a small group in the area and messed with the wrong yakuza group.

My punishment?

They took my sister.

I made a trade with the boss of that group – my current leader– and swore to serve him in exchange for my sister's life. They kept her hand, though, to remind me of their power.

The boss knew the secret of the Kuchiki family and told me to work as a spy underneath your brother.

It was a hard choice, obviously. Your brother and I had been friends ever since I could remember but… They took my brother as well, I had to do it.

The 16 years I have been in Kings was the best 16 years of my life. Every day was fun and I had a great time teaching you and Renji self-defence. It made me almost forget about my real intentions.

Almost.

Time passed peacefully for a while but this year something happened. I'm sure Byakuya would explain to you soon so I won't waste time telling you now.

Have you seen the picture yet? I'm guessing you have.

The girl with the missing arm is my sister and the male with the bandanna is my brother.

I am booking my plane ticket to Tokyo while writing this letter. I want to see my family one last time before I need to take responsibility for my actions. But since you are reading this, I guess I never made it to Tokyo. My only comfort is that my boss won't go after my family after I've died.

Do you see that girl in my arms, Rukia? Her name is Miyako. I met her a few years ago and she is the best wife anyone can imagine having. If you two had met, I'm sure you would take an immediate liking toward her, as well.

A few weeks ago, I was given a choice.

Miyako or Hisana.

I'm sorry Rukia. I had to do it.

Byakuya knew the situation I was in all this time and yet he still let me work beside him for the sake of keeping my family alive. I owe the Kuchiki family a lot and yet… I cannot think of any way to atone for my sin.

Except for my death.

I knew Hisana's death would make you come back. And you, being you, would want to avenge for her death. And Byakuya, being Byakuya, would let you do it.

So I used my own gun to kill Hisana, instead of the one my boss gave me.

I'm sorry Rukia, it's nothing personal, I swear.

Maybe it's hard to believe it but I do love each and every one of you with all my heart and I will never regret joining Kings, even after what has happened. You all were like a family I never had. Especially you, Rukia. Despite everything, under your layer of ice, you are a great and caring person.

I'm sorry I had to put you through this, you don't have to forgive me. I don't deserve that.

But, please live a long and happy life – for my sake – and take care of your brother and Kings.

Farewell.

Kaien

P.S. Keep an eye on Ichigo. Make sure he doesn't go down the wrong track and make mistakes like me. I know he is an excellent person and someone Kings needs. Someone you need.

I read the letter then reread it again and again before I rested my head against the wall and stared at the bland ceiling.

What have I done?


I found Ichigo leaning against my motorbike and staring at the sky.

"Hey," I called while hesitantly stepping closer.

His head snapped to look at me and a dozen emotions danced across his face – shock, confusion, relief, happiness and many more emotions I didn't catch. "Hey."

I saw the gun I had given him on the seat of the motorbike, "You didn't use the gun."

He looked down at the piece of metal, "Yeah, didn't think to use it. It doesn't feel right, using a gun, you know?"

"I know," I smiled. Picking up the gun, I pointed it to my hand and pulled the trigger.

"Oi…!"

I held my hand up – no wound, "That's why I didn't put any bullets in it."

"…Don't do that again," he put his hand to his chest and said. "You scared the sh*t out of me."

I laughed softly, "Let's get out of here before the cops arrive." I put Kaien's laptop in my motorbike's compartment before hastily reaching for my helmet.

"Oi," he said, gentler this time, and suddenly hugged me from behind. "You alright?"

"What kind of question is that? I'm alive, aren't I," I put my helmet down and rolled my eyes.

I jumped when I felt his finger run across my cheek and came away wet. I avoided his gaze when he stated, "You're crying."

In that moment, countless thoughts raced through my mind. Before I blurted out anything too embarrassing, I pushed him away and ran a hand through my hair, "Don't do that, you're going to get blood on yourself."

"I don't mind," his arms wrapped around me again and this time I didn't struggle. I buried my face into his shirt so he wouldn't see my tears.

We stayed that like for a while.

After calming down, I cursed myself for the tears then my mind wandered back to what happened a few hours ago and I chewed on my lip.

It was now or never, "What you did this afternoon was uncalled for."

"Hmm? Why's that?"

"Doing that in front of my brother and I didn't even agree to you being my…"

"Boyfriend?" He finished the sentence for me. "Then how about this…" I felt him straighten up before turning me to face him. He cleared his throat. "Ahem. Kuchiki Rukia-san, would you be my girlfriend?"

I giggled uncharacteristically at his weird tone but then saw my stained dress and then at my hand that was still wet with Kaien's blood.

Kaien.

My laughter died and I looked at him in uncertainty, "You don't regret it? It's not a secret anymore about what I do…" I gestured to my soiled attire. He stared at me long and hard.

"I'll never regret it." I was stunned by his determined tone. "You're only doing what's best for Kings."

Talk about an understanding boyf…

My cheeks coloured.

"Yes."

"Yes?" Ichigo looked at me in confusion. "As in…"

I breathed in. "YesIwanttobeyourgirlfriend."

His eyes widened almost comically.

"Wah," I let out as I was pulled into a crushing hug. I listened to his airy laugh and relished in the feeling of being in his embrace before the pain in my arm became too demanding.

"I-Ichigo, my arm…"

"Wha – Holy sh*t! Why didn't you say anything," he quickly let go of me and grabbed my arm causing me to wince. "We need to get you to hospital."

"No," I shook my head and then stumbled dizzily. Ugh, lost too much blood…

He quickly got onto my bike and patted the backseat. "C'mon."

"Don't take me to the hospital," I said weakly, got on and wrapped my arms around his waist. If we went to hospital then brother would find out and get angry. He never liked it when I got hurt. "Or I'm jumping off the bike."

"Ok, ok, I promise," I heard him say above the wind. "I'll take you to my old man."

Reassured, I let my eyes slid closed. I'll just rest for a little bit…


I awoke to the sound of chirping. I sat up and realised I was back in my room. How'd I get back here?

A soft snore brought my attention to the answer. Ichigo sat on the floor beside my bed, with his arms on the bed and using them as pillows. Chappy was also on my bed, sleeping peacefully against Ichigo's head. I reached over and traced his cheekbone lightly, only to draw them back almost immediately when he stirred.

"Good morning," I greeted him with a smile and tried to look like nothing happened.

He groggily smiled back, "Good morning. How's your arm?"

Noticing my bandages for the first time, I moved my arm experimentally, "I don't feel a thing."

"The painkillers probably haven't worn off yet," he sat up and ran a hand through his bed-hair. "My old man gave you extra pills for when your arm starts to hurt."

"Tell him I said thank you."

"Yeah, I will."

"Dr Kurosaki didn't mind you staying out for the night?"

Ichigo visibly shuddered, "He said something about needing to safely escort his third daughter home and kicked me out of the house…"

"…Let's go get some breakfast." I decided to drop the subject. However, when I climbed out of bed I frowned. Someone had changed me into my pyjamas.

I looked at Ichigo…

He shook his head, flustered, "A maid did it! Not me!"

"That better be true," I huffed before leaving my room.

"Good morning, Rukia-sama, Ichigo-sama" my chef greeted from the kitchen. I gave up long ago trying to guess how he knew when I would wake up every day. "Bacon and eggs are for breakfast today, Rukia-sama."

I took a seat at the dining table that already had two sets of cutlery placed on it and Ichigo sat next to me with a weird face. "Just Ichigo is fine."

"Yes, Ichigo-san," my chef replied and placed our breakfast in front of us. "I'll be downstairs if you need me."

Picking up my knife and fork, I began to dig into my breakfast.

"This tastes awesome," Ichigo exclaimed suddenly.

I bit back a smile and said proudly, "Of course it is. My chef used to work at a five star restaurant, you know."

"You eat this stuff every day?"

"He's been cooking my meals ever since I moved here."

"Oh…" I pretended not to see his 'so this is how rich people live' stare.

"Kings was working for Kuchiki Enterprise all along," he stated calmly.

I looked at him, "Not really working for… We are Kings. The members of Kuchiki have always led a double life of some sort – boss of Kuchiki Enterprise on the outside and leader of Kings in secret."

"That means your brother really is K?"

"Yes, he is the current K."

"And… you'll eventually be the next K? Even if you're a girl?"

A pause.

"Yes, I'll eventually be the head of Kuchiki so of course I'll be the next K after my brother. Gender doesn't matter."

Ichigo exhaled slowly. I fidgeted in self-consciousness under his scrutinizing gaze.

"Nope, I still can't imagine a group of grown men and woman who are yakuza being led by a midget."

Another pause in which I struggled to not hit him.

"Don't underestimate the small," I muttered.

"If you say so," he chuckled. "So… What should we do today?"

"Uh…" I chewed slowly so I could buy myself some time. Uh… What do couples do when they're together? I thought back to shojo manga I borrowed from my sister… "Um… I need to drop by the club after breakfast but afterwards… Do you want to go anywhere?"

"What? Oh…" The question caught Ichigo off guard. He rubbed his neck and then poked at the bacon on his plate with his fork before looking at me again. "How about we go… watch a movie?"

"Sounds great," I nodded my head once. "Wait, what day is it today?"

"Monday, why?" he asked through a mouthful of bacon.

"We should be at school!" I jumped out of my seat and raced to my bedroom. "You should go home and change into your uniform, too!"

"Rukia!"

"What?"

"It's the holidays," he said and cracked up at my expression.

"Eh…" I checked my phone. Sure enough, we currently had our summer holidays. Feeling embarrassed, I slid back into my seat. "Oi… how long are you going to laugh at me," I kicked Ichigo's foot lightly in annoyance.

"Haha… Sorry," he said after he stopped laughing. I sighed when he looked over at me and started laughing all over again. "Ah, God, I'm sorry but… Haha…"

"I'm going to get changed," I clicked my tongue and left the table. Even from my room I could hear his chuckles. Rolling my eyes, I closed the door and went to my wardrobe.

Less than five minutes later, I walked back into the living room clad in a dark purple T-shirt and a skirt that hid the sheathed knives and guns strapped around my thighs with Chappy in my arms.

"You're still laughing?" I stared at Ichigo.

"I'm sorry," he apologised between chuckles. "But I seriously can't believe you did that. You, of all people, haha…"

I massaged my temple. Seriously, why did I agree to go out with him again?

We both jumped when an unfamiliar chime resounded through my apartment. Looking over to my coffee table, I found Kaien's phone ringing. Striding over and flipping on the phone, I saw a text message.

"Ichigo," I called out in panic and headed for the elevator. "We're going to Urahara's right now!"

In my hand, the phone screen still showed the text message.

And you, dear Kime, don't mess with the Silver Snake.

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