Theme: Silent Treatment
Ichigo hadn’t been surprised by her nosy attitude. He had been, however, entirely surprised by the way in which she had reacted to his reply. He could deal with the Rukia who yelled, abused, and mocked him just fine. Hell, he dealt with that on a daily basis. This time, instead the yelling and spitting and hair pulling, she had simply stopped speaking with him. She refused to say a word to him both at school and at home, and made only the tersest of replies and commands when they were fighting together. Whenever he tried to say something she just looked at him, her expression one that was both angry and sad and somehow made him feel as if he had just killed a puppy.
For the first day he’d decided that that was just fine, she could be like that if she wanted. She was obviously off her rocker and he was tired of hearing her bitching all the time anyway. By the second day the silence was starting to feel eerie, and he was tempted to apologize, if only to get the girls at school (who were following the drama intensely) off of his back. By day three Ichigo was starting to replay the conversation in his head, trying to figure out just what he’d said that had made her that upset. Which was why when Inoue had come up to him at lunch and asked him what he’d said to Kuchiki-san, he had up and spilled the whole thing. She’d pursed her lips thoughtfully for a second.
“Sometimes I think… I think that Kuchiki-san must have been horribly unhappy, living in that noble house for all those years and never knowing why.”
Suddenly Ichigo could see, in painful detail, the way that Rukia had looked at her brother when he had come that night to take her back to Soul society. He could see her expression as he’d faced Byakuya on that bridge, fearful for both of their lives. And he could recall all the conflicted emotions that had crossed her face as Byakuya had explained, afterward, about the sister she had never known, about the promises in which she had had no part, about all the things which had been left unsaid for the four decades she had lived quietly in the Kuchiki household.
And that was when he realized that explaining things to Karin was going to be the easy part. It was apologizing to Rukia that was going to be difficult.