Hugging my knees, I leaned against the back of the plastic chair as I watched my brother's peaceful face and couldn't help thinking back to what happened the last time I was in the hospital room. Hitsugaya sat in the sofa near the door and was staring blankly at the TV. The TV was showing the news but I paid no attention to it.
Ichigo came up beside me and passed me a glass of water. "You should rest."
I shook my head.
My brother's operation went for almost three hours. When the doctors came out, they told me they had found nearly a dozen bullets in his back. That happened just under 18 hours ago and I had been sitting beside my brother ever since.
"Rukia, don't look as if I've already died."
I quickly wiped my tears and looked up to see my brother had finally woken up. "Nii-sama, how are you feeling?"
"What time is it?" He asked, ignoring my question.
"8 in the morning," I told him after checking my phone.
He rubbed his face and sat up slowly, "I've got a meeting in half an hour."
"Cancel it," I tried to push him back down but he wouldn't budge. "The doctors said you need to stay in hospital for at least a week."
"I didn't say I leaving the hospital," he shook my arm off. "We will be holding the meeting here."
"But you should be resting," I sat back down in my chair.
There was a knock and a silver head pocked into the room. "Good to see you up, K, uh…"
"Shiro-chan," if possible, the usual grin on Gin's face became even wider.
"You know him?" I asked Gin.
The two silver-heads turned to face me.
"This is my younger brother," Gin explained while patting the boy's head. "We have the same father but different mothers."
"Toushiro was kidnapped by Silver Snake several months ago," my brother explained. "Gin asked me to save his brother."
"Months? Then all this time…"
"We were trying to get Toushirou back. The impostors weren't causing that much trouble so we were going to let them be after we got Toushirou back but during one of our negotiations, we had a dispute and Hisana was shot," he continued in a quiet voice. "Then it escalated to a war between our gang and Silver Snake's. We asked Gin to keep an eye on where you were, in case they came after you."
So that was why I saw Gin everywhere…
I turned to Ichigo, "Did you know about this?"
He shook his head, "When I joined Kings – the fake one, I mean – all we did was ride around on our motorbikes. I thought our leader was Nnoitra, the black-haired guy you, uh, met before."
The TV caught my eye and I quickly turned up the volume.
"…ip that was on fire yesterday was suspected to be the disastrous ending of a gang war between the infamous Kings and their impersonators. Unfortunately, the workers around the area saw no one escape from the ship. If you have any information regarding this fire, please notify the police as soon as possible. The following photos show the corpse whose identities have been confirmed by the police…"
20 photos appeared on the screen at a time. I scanned every face that appeared, relieved that I didn't know any of them until the screened switched back to the reporter.
"Oi, Rukia…" Ichigo said in shock.
There was a large picture on the screen next to the reporter and she gestured to the photo, "…According to unnamed sources, this is who everyone in the yakuza community refers to as the Silver Snake, he may have been on the ship but the officials have yet to find his corpse…"
"That's impossible! Why would Kaien be on that ship? He's dead! I..."
I turned to my brother, who shooked his head, "The real Silver Snake must have gave the reporters the wrong information. Yakuza bosses don't allow their appearances to be publicized in case it causes more trouble."
"But I shot him," I clicked my tongue. "I even heard him fall to the ground. He should be dead as well!"
"Wait," Ichigo grabbed my shoulders. "So you met the Silver Snake? Who is he?"
I looked away. How should I tell him?
Ichigo's head snapped up to look at my brother then back at me in disbelief.
"Yes, he was our principal..." I confirmed.
I remembered the time I met my principal at the hotel and saw the hiding sniper. I was an idiot. Why did I not realise sooner?
"Wha..." Ichigo looked back to my brother whille looking angry. "You knew about this all along - that our principal was the Silver Snake?"
My brother nodded slowly, "I've always knew. That was why i recommended that school to Rukia so Renji, who was her bodyguard, could keep an eye on him."
"You could've just told me," I bit my lip and then realised my mistake. I had cut ties with Kings when I entered high school, so of course brother wouldn't tell me information about that world. Renji, on the other hand, had been a part of Kings ever since birth since his parents was members of Kings before they were killed, not to mention my brother trusted him the most.
"Well, we don't need to worry about him now because I shot him," I folded my arms almost childishly.
"We'll see," he replied. "You saw how that report has been tampered with. Silver Snake must be still alive. He is known to be good at escaping and is quite cunning, like a snake."
"Snake, indeed," I exhaled. I never expected my principal was a dangerous person and I could detect danger or killing intent from miles away. Suddenly remembering something, I walked up to Gin and did a 90 degree bow, "I'm sorry, Gin, for mistaking you for the Silver Snake and punching you."
He felt his cheek at the memory, "Ah, it's alright, Kime. I was partially at fault, too, for not properly introducing myself. Here is my business card."
I read the card in my hands. "Weapon's dealer?"
"Yes," he confirmed. "We supply all the uh.. equipment... Kings uses."
"Oh…" I continued to stare at the card. Head of the company that supply weapons… I had the crazy idea that sister wanted me to be with this guy so Kings would have a lifetime stock of guns and the like…
There was a knock and this time it was Renji who came in, "K, they're here."
"Tell them to come in," my brother replied.
"I'll come over again tomorrow, Nii-sama," I told him and we left the room.
"So," Ichigo said as we exited the hospital. "Our principal was really the bad guy in the end."
"Yes," I nodded my head.
"I was indirectly working under him."
"Yes, yes you were."
He stayed quiet for so long I thought he had left. Looking back, I saw him in scratching his head, trying to get his mind around what he just learnt.
"It's all over now, Ichigo, so don't worry about it."
"But they can't confirm his death," Ichigo retorted. "What if he comes back and hurts you again."
"He's dead, Ichigo," I rolled my eyes and said determinedly. "Dead people can't come back to life so just forget about it, ne?"
It kind of bothered me how I was talking about this with Ichigo, but after what he had seen these couple of days…
"Fine," he said before wrapping an arm around my shoulders. "So, what shall we do for the rest of the afternoon?"
I froze. He really did go and forget about it. "Uh… you choose?"
"We agreed on a movie before, right?" he said after some consideration.
"Movie it is, then,"
"How's your arm?"
"It's fine, see?" I swung my arm in proof but he frowned.
"Don't do that, your wound might reopen," he grabbed my arm.
"Yes, Dr Carrot," I nodded obediently. "I won't do it again."
"It's Dr Kurosaki, Usagi-Kaichou," he rolled his eyes but his hand slid into mine as we talked. My heart fluttered at the touch and I leaned against his arm. This was what couples did when they walked together, right?
"But then people will mistake you for your father," I reasoned. "So Dr Carrot is better."
"No one will mistake me for my old man," he huffed and turned to me. "See? Tell me, what about this handsome face that resembles that monkey?"
"Hmm," I pretended to study his face. "Everything?"
"Huh," he scoffed. "Then don't forget you're dating a monkey look-alike."
"Eh…Nope," I shook my head. "You look like a carrot more than a monkey."
"What?" he exclaimed. "How do I look like a carrot?"
"Well, let's see…" I tapped my chin and glanced around for some inspiration but my mind wondered elsewhere. The phone in my pocket started ringing.
"Who is it?"
I frowned at the caller ID. Who has the name 'SY'?
"I don't know. This is Kaien's phone," I shrugged and switched the phone off without picking up. "I'll worry about that later… Now, what was I doing again?"
"Trying to prove I look like a carrot."
"That's right…" I continued to search my brain for ideas.
Now that I thought about it, I never really told him…
Going on my tippy-toes I pecked Ichigo on the cheek lightly then leaned into his ear.
"…I love you…"
"You…" His face coloured immediately.
"See," I pointed at his face and said cheekily. "A carrot!"
"Not funny," He grabbed my arm.
"My wound might reopen if you do that, you know."
"Ah, you're right, sorry," he let go of my arm but held my hand instead. Leaning into his arm again, we walked off, hand in hand, and I looked up at the sky.
Hey, Nee-sama, are you there? I want to ask you something. Did you really plan on pairing me up with Gin? And did you really do that so we could get a lifetime supply of weaponry? I think you were just joking, right, at least I hope you were… But what I mean to tell you is… I think I've found something better, won't you agree?
A lifetime supply of bandages...In more ways than one.And, after all, rabbits do love their carrots - a lot.
End of Part 1