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10 April 2009 @ 07:26 pm
Cloudhead Dreams  
Title: Cloudhead Dreams
Character: Kuchiki Rukia
Pairing: Kuchiki Rukia x Shiba Kaien
Author: tasogaretaichou
Rating: PG
Prompt: Head in the Clouds
Warnings: Spoilers up through Rukia's memories during her fight with Arroniero
Summary: Some daydreams just aren't meant to be realized.


"Oi! Kuchiki! Quit daydreaming and get it together!"

Green eyes watched the smaller female figure jump in startlement, hands fumbling to catch the unsheathed blade he had just lobbed at her. A bit mean, perhaps, throwing around a naked sword that way, but the kid really had to learn to stop drifting off like that. Shaking his head with a sigh, the vice captain of the thirteenth division raked one hand through unruly black hair before advancing on his 'protege', a look of annoyed frustration in his eyes.

"Come on, pay attention. This is to help you out, you know."

The girl's eyes widened slightly and she nodded tensely, small hands clutching the asauchi in a deathgrip. Raising one eyebrow slightly, Kaien couldn't help but feel sorry for the sword, the way she was practically choking it. At least the weapon wasn't alive, couldn't feel the way any sort of living creature could have. Sensing that perhaps he'd gone a tad too far, he stepped forward with a wide grin, plopping one large hand down on the top of her head and mussing her black hair with a chuckle.

She was so tense, so nervous, as though she really had no idea how to behave among normal, friendly people. In the months since Kuchiki Rukia had joined the thirteenth division, he could honestly say that he'd not seen her truly make a single friend. Granted, the girl was polite and friendly enough in her own way, but there was always a sort of strange detachment about her person, as though she deliberately kept herself seperated from those around her and that distance was reciprocated. She certainly wasn't unattractive, she was slight of build and a little on the scrawny side perhaps but her features were striking and there was something almost ethereal about her at times, so one couldn't have said that her lack of friends was due to a lack of appearance. No, it was something else.

He knew her story, knew enough about the girl from Rukongai who had been adpoted into the noble Kuchiki clan in one of the most startling of events of that year to know the source for most of the rumors and gossip that he heard here and there. Gossip was gossip, it grew and sprouted despite fuel or lack thereof and -- unfortunately enough for Kuchiki Rukia -- such stories as hers only served as strong fuel for it.

Stepping back, he nodded towards her and gestured with his arm before stepping back to watch. It was easy to see why the rumors continued to circulate. Capable though she was with kidou, and despite how nimble and agile her moves, Rukia's swordsmanship was downright horrible and even those skills that she had in abundance were rough and unpolished.

She shouldn't have been rushed through academy the way she was.

It wasn't a thought he would have told her, but it was one that Kaien couldn't help entertaining as he watched her move through the sword forms, her footwork and movements still clumsy with her own trepidation. Good shinigami weren't made overnight, despite what the Kuchiki clan might have liked to think, but thankfully for Rukia's sake, that could be remedied.

Honestly, Kaien felt sorry for the girl at times. Nobility though he may have technically been, his family kept to themselves in a part of Rukongai and he'd grown up seeing firsthand the difficulties that most normal souls struggled with. In fact, it was those difficulties and hardships that had fostered in him a love of shinigami, of those who existed to try and serve as a balm to those fears.

Kuchiki Rukia had grown up in Rukongai, and it showed in her face, as well as in the slight shaft of mistrust that she tended to direct at anyone who crossed her path, as though she expected them to automatically look down on her. And it was irony in and of itself that by whatever chance of fate had precipitated it, the girl now found herself on the other end of the spectrum where, rather than being looked down on herself, it was simply assumed that she would look down on them.

A yelp and the clattering of the sword brought his attention back to where the smaller shinigami sat on the grass in a heap, sword abandoned in the grass beside her, nursing a slice to one hand. Scratching the back of his head with a defeated sigh, Kaien sauntered over to her and crouched down in front of her. Reaching out, he snagged the injured arm by the wrist and pulled it over to study the long, shallow slice across her palm with a shake of his head and an admonishing sigh.

"That's what I'm talking about, Kuchiki. You can't keep letting your concentration break like that. If you've got your head up in the clouds, worrying about all sorts of other crap, then you're more dangerous to yourself than anyone else is."

She nodded, sitting almost frozen on the grass in front of him. Still holding onto her wrist, he raised his other hand and held it palm down over hers, feeling the pulse of reiatsu as he worked a light healing kidou onto her hand. As he watched her face, he caught the subtle shift of her eyes from him and back down to the ground as her cheeks reddened slightly. Sighing inwardly, he kept his attention focused on the task at hand.

There it was again, that telltale sign of infatuation he could see beginning to develop. He'd noticed it at first a few weeks back, when they'd started training more together like this. The way she was quieter around him, the way any sort of sudden closeness or action from him had the tendancy to make her jump like a spooked rabbit, the way she tended to avoid too much eye contact. He'd seen it before, and it wasn't as though it was in any way a bother to him.

No, her affections -- though he wasn't even sure if the girl was really aware of them herself yet -- weren't a cause for worry. The worry... lay in his side of it. In the realization that there was a part of him answering back to her. A portion of his mind, perhaps even his heart, that resonated with something within the petite girl he'd taken under his wing. And that was something that he couldn't answer to. Perhaps it had to do with her background in Rukongai and his desire to help those like her. Maybe it was simply a warm feeling for a younger understudy.

Whatever it was, it was a dangerous thing not because of what it was now, but because of what it represented. It was temptation, it was a morsel dangling in front of his face, a morsel that he knew perfectly well he couldn't have and yet... that didn't change the feeling. He was strong, he could push the little spark aside and pretend it wasn't there, relegate it to that portion of his mind that harboured warm feelings of friendship and comeraderie and just label it an overexhuberant example of such feelings. That was all it could ever be, and all that it should ever be, if only because it wasn't entirely about him. There was Miyako to consider and, though their marriage had been arranged, he couldn't deny that he had grown to love her, to cherish her deeply. Perhaps it wasn't the sort of love that childhood stories were made of, but it was a love nonetheless and he'd defend it to his last breath.

Shaking his head slightly as he realized that he was still simply sitting there, her wrist held loosely in his hand, Kaien chuckled and scratched his head before sitting back on his heels.

"Ahh, guess you got me there, Kuchiki. This time I'm the one with my head in the clouds."

At his laugh, the tension seemed to break somewhat and she laughed with him before getting to her feet and resuming her training. Leaning against the tree again, he watched her for a moment before turning green eyes skyward to the puffy white clumps floating by overhead. It didn't do to spend too much time with your head in the clouds. Sometimes, you risked getting caught up in the daydreams a little too much.