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13 September 2008 @ 11:17 am
Same Old Thing  
Title: Same Old Thing
Fandom: Bleach
Characters: Kurosaki Ichigo x Kuchiki Rukia
Prompt: Children
Word Count: Who Knows
Rating: PG
Summary: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Author's Notes: Ichigo, Rukia, and Bleach as a whole do not belong to me. They belong to Kubo-sensei, who gives me fodder for my plot-bunnies. Kaien, Renji, and the rest of the extended Kurosaki clan on the other hand ARE mine. Which means no swipey.

They were so different. And not only from each other -- even the twins, near-identical in appearance that they were -- but... so different from other children she'd known. Maybe it was the fact that she'd grown up in Rukongai, surrounded by children who didn't have families, who didn't know where their next meal was coming from. That sort of upbringing... bred different characteristics. Certainly, all four of them were smart, intelligent, capable people. But they lacked the same sort of street smarts that she'd been forced to acquire.

Not that I'm not glad for that difference...

Ichigo had rolled his eyes at her when she'd mentioned it and pointedly reminded her that all of their offspring were, as he put it, "miserable little hellions who should be beaten twice a day simply to keep them from having the time to worry about causing trouble". She'd hit him, but that wasn't anything unusual. Especially since she knew he couldn't deny -- no matter how he might have tried -- that of the two of them it was he who spoiled the girls so much, and the one who stayed up late to read Renji an extra story. The thought of Kurosaki Ichigo, a captain of the Gotei-13, one of the most respected -- and feared, to a degree -- men in Soul Society, sitting curled up with an 8 year old, doing silly voices to inane storybooks was enough to make even her giggle.

He was a good father, and it showed in their children, in the way they all flocked to him at any given moment. Well, except for Kaien. But then, their oldest son always had been such an enigma to them, despite his physical similarity to his father. Kaien was just... Kaien. Ichigo always used to say that their son as a child resembled himself as an adult, a fact that Rukia was never certain she really liked. But similarities or not, Kaien remained stubbornly Kaien, his mercurial, sometimes broody nature and disregard for rules -- and his father -- typically offset by his easy disposition and tendency towards long periods of pensive silence.

Thinking of Kaien easily drew her attention back to the courtyard, watching that same eldest son put his little brother through his paces. It was almost like watching Ichigo again at that age -- or at least, relatively close, Kaien was only 13 -- as he easily darted around the grassy area, Yamibari wielded without the usual clumsiness that most people of his age would have had to allow for. But then, that was the obvious result of being a full-fledged shinigami at such a young age. Unseated still, of course, but nonetheless his skill still showed through in his movements as he parried, eyes flashing the green and black that meant he was still using his Hollow with the same amount of ease with which he accomplished nearly everything.

Oh come on, Kaien... is that really fair?

Even as she recognized the mothering portion of her speak up in her mind, the shinigami part coldly and methodically commented back that yes, it WAS fair. That if he wanted to learn, to advance and get better, that Renji would have to deal with his older brother's tricks. Violet eyes shifted from the identical pair in Kaien's face to her younger son, holding his practice sword askance, eyes nearly glowing copper from beneath shaggy black bangs. Unlike Kaien's fairly polished style, Renji fought with all the stubbornness and energy of a determined child who is convinced that he knows exactly what to do. Which was the problem at hand, and the likely reason why his usually smiling face held such a note of aggravation.

"Watching the carnage?"

Glancing up, she sighed and nodded as Ichigo leaned an arm against the door-frame, his taller form dwarfing hers as he joined her in studying the boys' fight.

"Renji's getting better, but I still wonder if Kaien's being too hard on him. He's just a kid, afterall."

And, of course, her momentary display of motherly concern was received with the same typical answer. Which was Ichigo rolling his eyes and scoffing.

"Feh, you're mothering too much. He's fine."

Frowning, she debated kicking him again. He deserved it, whether for this comment or for something else that she could figure out later. She was NOT mothering too much. Hell, he was the better parent than she was, he always had been. But at least she seemed to think there was something slightly wrong with their 13-year old son virtually wiping the floor with their 8-year old son. Attention momentarily diverted from the fight, she took a moment to elbow him in the gut, making sure she hit that one sensitive spot with the point of her elbow. Served him right.

"You know what I'm talking about, idiot! If he's not careful, then-"

A scream from Renji drew their attention away from their arguement and back to the courtyard, where Kaien had dropped Yamibari and was keeping Renji at bay with one hand, mask drawn down over his face as he stubbornly faced down the other boy.

"Pull it back, Renji! Stop it, you're in control! Pull it back!"

She could feel Ichigo tense beside her, see the way his jaw set and his eyes hardened as they watched their youngest child struggle for dominance, fighting against Kaien's grip for a moment before the mask shattered away and he was just another little boy, on his knees on the grass, panting wildly.

That's why, Ichigo.

And that was another thing that was so different, so different from nearly any other children -- Hiyori and Shinji's two not included -- that weighed so heavily on their minds as she watched Kaien's mask fade. Sighing, he stepped forward and reached down to haul Renji up by one shoulder, violet eyes stern.

"You can't do that, Renji, you can't lose your control like that."

Glancing down, she could see Ichigo's hand draw up into a fist. He hated this, hated watching any of their children struggle with what he felt was a curse he had inflicted on them. It had been an eerie relief when Kaien had been so different, his Hollow seeming not to care about dominance and content to work in an almost symbiosis with the boy. And in a way, she couldn't help but think that they should have been prepared for the other extreme. But that didn't make it any easier for either of them, and she was certain it didn't make it any easier for Ichigo, forced to watch his youngest try and keep tenuous control over something he himself had struggled so much with. Reaching over, she curled smaller fingers around his wrist, a gesture of support, before taking a step down. They'd been at this long enough, it was time to break up the more sour mood.

Only... she didn't get a chance. That chance was superceded by a Chappy-festooned notebook that hit Kaien right in the face. Masaki, right on time. Suppressing another giggle at her son's expense, Rukia paused long enough to watch the smaller, red and white garbed form of her daughter march right over to Kaien and lay into him. She'd have to break it up eventually, the two of them had never gotten along, but for the moment she could simply sit back and watch, enjoying the nostalgic picture they presented. Maybe it was just that their two oldest resembled each of them so very much, but it was almost like turning back the clock, back to when they'd first met. Not that they didn't argue just as badly now, but they were both more weathered, older, more tempered by time and experiences.

"Do you think they'll stop anytime soon?"

Smiling, Rukia shook her head as she smaller form of her other daughter took up space beside her, reaching one hand over to run it through Hisana's long black hair. Shifting the wrapped bento under one arm, Hisana simply stood and watched quietly as her siblings proceeded to brow-beat each other, Renji attempting to extricate himself from the situation.

"No... no, I wouldn't expect that to happen any time soon, Hisana. We might as well just find ourselves a nice seat and watch."

She knew very well that her children wouldn't ever be what could be considered "normal", but then... she wouldn't really have wanted them any other way.
woodrokiro: scariest moment everwoodrokiro on September 13th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Aww, very cute. My heart always melts at the children fics <3
(Deleted comment)
Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on April 10th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
yup, that's my 4 kurosaki kids. If you enjoy them, I've written several other fics starring them, and keep your eyes out for Genesis, which has been a long time in the making. It's the 'origin' story for them all, as well as for Hiyori and Shinji's 2 kids, Ishida/Hime's son and daughter, as well as Urahara Yuusuke.