[identity profile] jammasterjayne.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: All We Know of Heaven (That Which We Are Not Meant to Grasp remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] raynos
Summary: Sometimes the costs are too high but you just have to grit your teeth and go with it. In Rukongai, Rukia gets an offer from someone who hasn’t laid all his cards on the table.
Fandom: Bleach
Characters: Kuchiki Rukia, Urahara Kisuke, Shihouin Yoruichi
Rating: PG for swearing
Disclaimer: Bleach and its prettiness belong to KT
Original story: All We Know of Heaven by [livejournal.com profile] jaina
Notes: Thank you [livejournal.com profile] himawari1 and [livejournal.com profile] tenebris for multiple betas, nagging and enduring my whining. Spoilers for Rukia’s past and the Soul Society arc.

All That We Know of Heaven (That Which We Are Not Meant to Grasp remix)

Hanakiri took one look at Urahara and the jar of candy he held, and said, “Got yourself into trouble again?”

Urahara was offended. He liked to think of himself as unreadable. He also liked to think of himself as a happy, carefree man. The suggestion that he was neither at the moment was appalling. “Of course not! I’m a paragon of virtue.”

Hanakiri snorted. “Tell that to one of your new recruits, Twelfth Division Captain. What, you got something that your pansy-ass shinigami can’t do?”

“I’m just visiting a friend with a present.” Urahara shook the candy jar enticingly.

“I’m not your friend and you know it. And if you’re here for business, you can just clear off.”

“I was sure that your retirement was a joke, Hanakiri-san!”

“Just cause you say it won’t make it so. Give me the candy.” Hanakiri swiped the jar, muttering over it protectively as he ducked back through the door he had just opened. Urahara followed the sound of the old man’s muttering into the dimly lit house. Heaps of junk acted as makeshift dividers of the rooms, and Urahara rounded the largest heap to enter a rickety lab. Hanakiri set down the candy jar on the only empty table. Urahara took a seat on the other side.

“Out,” he said, already fishing about in the jar. “I told you no. Stop wasting your time, Captain.”

“But I’ll give favors in exchange.”

“Heard that before. ‘Sides, you still haven’t paid me for that information on the Visoreds. I’m not gonna trust whatever you say.”

“Ah, I was planning to package that payment with something even bigger to ensure you are sufficiently rewarded! I just want to leave one of my inventions with you. You’ve always liked taking things apart, no?”

To avoid replying, the old man stuffed his mouth with candy.

Urahara covered the jar as he attempted to reach for more and put on his most disarming smile. “It’s also illegal,” he informed him.

Hanakiri turned away. “Yeah yeah, access to new boundaries of knowledge, new discoveries, yadda yadda. I’m an old man now, even got a boy to take care of things for me. I’m not interested.”

“For the sake of friendship!” proclaimed Urahara, but the old man was no longer listening, instead peering intently at some bubbling flasks on the table.

“Boy’s late,” grumbled Hanakiri. “Bet he’s out playing again. I’ve got a hiding to hand out.”

“If I may be of service – !”

“The boy wouldn’t listen to you! Get out, stay, I don’t care.”

And with that, the old man was out the door. Urahara sighed and settled back in his chair. He knew that he could trust Hanakiri to be discrete, and though it didn’t look like it, Hanakiri had channels of his own that made even the oddest of inventions disappear. Sadly, it seemed that he no longer dabbled in that. After all, he had repeatedly complained about the advance of old age and the need to slow things down.

Absently, Urahara set the jar on the windowsill and replaced the cover. He'd lost so many contacts to age, though he himself barely had done so. It made him feel melancholy, and he decided that a walk would do him good. It had been a while since he had been to this part of West Rukongai, and he found it slightly nostalgic. He allowed himself to get sufficiently lost in wandering the area, enjoying how much things had changed, how much they had stayed the same. He only made his way back when he noticed the late angle of the sun.

It wasn’t until he returned that he realized the problem might have solved itself.

To any other person, she would've seemed like an ordinary street rat. She was smarter than most, though, in skulking by the corner of the shack and evaluating her surroundings. A cloth bag hung from her wrist, probably the day’s pickings. Urahara took care to melt into the shadows to watch her more closely.

There was something different about her behavior as she hung in the shadows, and after a moment's examination Urahara was amused to note that she actually made a haphazard attempt at searching for reiatsu. With any normal Rukongai dweller, she might have been successful, but Urahara was able to taper his reiatsu so that he remained undetected.

Having satisfied herself that there was no one around, the street rat darted out, clearly heading for the candy on the windowsill.

It wouldn’t do to have his gift stolen! Urahara moved forward with quick step and easily caught her wrist. Her reflexes were fast too; she quickly recovered from her shock and attempted to wriggle free.

“Hey!” she yelled, trying to make as much noise as possible. Not that that would help given the neighborhood they were in. Those in the Rukongai tended to avoid unnecessary trouble. “Let me go!”

“And why should I do that?” he wondered aloud, genuinely amused by her demand. She sounded more like Yoruichi in a rage than a street rat, and he half-believed she might bite him to get free, given the way she was wriggling in his grip. “You were trying to rob me, street rat-san.”

She glowered at him from behind a dirty strand of hair. “So?”

“So, I don’t like being robbed,” he said. “It makes me feel so uncomfortable when I’ve lost something, unless there’s a good reason for it! Do you have a good reason?” She let loose a torrent of curses, and he had to quickly hide his amusement behind a frown. “Now now. That’s not proper language for a young lady.”

Her eyes darted around, and he squeezed her wrist a little tighter. He couldn’t help noticing how lean it was, like she had not eaten properly in a while. Perhaps that explained the attempted theft of candy: though not substantial, it tended to quiet the need for food.

“Are you hungry?” he asked gently.

“Why do you care?” she spat, and threw her weight back again.

“Oh I can think of a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t,” he told her airily. “The fact that you might bite me, or that you’ll flee as soon as I’ll try to get the food, or that it’s been a long time since I’ve been hungry, among others. But I can remember, a little, what being hungry was like and I don’t think that should happen to anyone.” He had her attention now, and it was a pity he was going to waste it on a nebulous offer instead of something tangible he could show her. “I can help you.”

She went from feral, snarling street rat to confused, lost girl, and Urahara almost wanted to let her go and send her on her way. But she was an opportunity, and those didn’t come easily.

So instead, he dropped her wrist, picked up the candy jar and handed it to her. “There. Yours. Take it as a token of my goodwill and heartfelt sincerity.”

She stared at it for a moment before snatching it and cradling it possessively. Surprisingly, she did not tuck it away into her bag, as if she expected him to take it back. “I don’t understand.”

“That’s not mine, actually,” he told her woefully. “Well, it was mine; I even ate a couple of the sweets along the way. I brought it as a gift for my friend staying here. But he’s too old for sweets really, and it’s bad for his teeth. Better that you take it.”

“In exchange for what?” she muttered, glaring at him over the top of the jar. Ah, the distrust of youth! Though he admitted she had good reason to be cautious, and it confirmed how street smart she was.

“Nothing,” Urahara said. “Not for this trifle. But perhaps we could work out some kind of arrangement.”

She reddened, and it was a wonder that she didn’t kick him. “I don’t work for perverts!” she huffed, puffing out in indignation.

“Now now, no one said anything about that! I’d be insulted if I didn’t know exactly what you were talking about,” he said. “All I’m asking is for a favor, in exchange for… well, you can name your price later. To make things fair, shall we?”

She continued glowering at him, but at least she wasn’t running away. “Maybe. What do you need done?”

“Just a moment,” Urahara told her, leaning in close to get a better gauge of her reiatsu. She jumped back at the sudden proximity, tensed to run again. “Calm down! I’m just getting a closer look at you.” This close, her reiatsu was unmistakable; she had sufficient spirit power. In time, she might even become a shinigami. She was small and smart, too. All were good for what he had in mind. “How good are you at hiding and blending in?”

She stiffened. “You want me to be a thief?”

“Oh no no no!” he chuckled. “You see, I have ah, this special item. I need to keep it hidden for a bit, because people are going to come looking for it. It’s small, and not troublesome to have around really, if you’re worried about convenience.”

“You’re a thief,” she said smugly.

This girl was pretty amusing once you got past her defenses. “I made it myself. You could say that I was afraid of it being stolen.”

“Aren’t you afraid of me selling it?” she demanded. “It must be worth a lot.”

“Priceless,” he agreed. “But only to those who know what it does. And those people are few, but powerful.”

At the word ‘powerful’, the girl’s expression closed. “I don’t want any trouble," she said flatly. "We just want to survive.”

“Then come with me,” he insisted. “I can help you.”

She was already shaking her head. “No.”

He sighed and reached out for her wrist, the other hand reaching inside his kimono for the moneybag he kept there, but he had forgotten where he was. The girl mistook his gesture for an attack, and reacted by smashing the entire jar into his face.

It was painful, and such an utter waste of candy.

That was how Hanakiri found him later, curled up and hiding the wounds on his face. “You get into trouble with a woman or something?” he grunted as he yanked Urahara to his feet.

“My good looks are ruined,” Urahara told him woefully.

“Eh. Tell me all about it inside.”

The girl wouldn't fade from his thoughts.

He had had a good enough look at her to get a feel for her reiatsu, and was confident he could find her again if needed. He took the necessary time to nurse his ego and the wounds on his face. As advanced as kidou was, it could not remove glass shards from flesh, and so a trip to the Fourth had been in order. Unohana had been gentle in her reprimand; Yoruichi had not.

“Kisuke,” she said, while flopped upside down on the couch in the experiment room. With most others it would have looked painful, but Yoruichi seemed at ease even as her hair swept against the floor. “Kisuke Kisuke Kisuke. You’re seriously considering trusting a random Rukongai girl?”

“Not a random Rukongai girl! That Rukongai girl!”

Yoruichi sighed and wiggled further into the cushions. “I already know you’re crazy; must you constantly try to prove it?”

“Such hurtful words!” Urahara’s pout was genuine. “Trust me, Yoruichi-san.”

“That’s exactly how I know we’re in trouble.”

He joined her on the couch, even though he knew that put his head within kicking range. It was nice to relax like this. “It’s not the first time, Yoru.”

Her face was outside his line of vision, but her sharp nails in his knee told him all he needed to know. She hated that pet name. “That worries me. Keep this up and you’re going to run out of spectacular rescue plans.”

“Ah, but what is life without spectacular rescue plans?”

“Most people don’t need them.”

“But most people aren’t you and me. And I suppose you’re saddled with a man who can’t help his sense of curiosity.”

“Curiosity’s supposed to kill cats, not mad scientists.” She leaned up, folding herself into something that resembled a cross between a sitting position and gymnastics. “I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me why you ever thought making a device that broke down the boundaries between shinigami and Hollow was a good idea.”

He gently flicked her nose. “A magician keeps his secrets.”

Although Urahara had great confidence in his persuasiveness, he had not expected the street rat to return so soon. He whistled nonchalantly as he observed her following him through the streets of Inuzuri like a second shadow, skulking from doorway to doorway. She was good, a fact aided by her knowledge of the area.

But hardly patient. Urahara had only covered two and a half blocks before a hefty stone was hurled at the back of his head. Only his thick skull saved him from an untimely end. As it was, the force sent him sprawling in the street.

“Your whistling is horrible,” she declared, attempting to loom despite her height.

“Ah, Street Ran-san! Polite as ever I see.” He leapt to his feet and dusted his clothes free of dust. “I didn’t expect to see you again.”

“I didn’t want to see you either!” came the sulky reply, and even though her words were filled with bravado, the heaviness and sorrow in her reiatsu gave lie to that emotion. Urahara decided to take the plunge.

“What made you change your mind?”

She tensed, but finally spat out, “Someone died. I’m only here to get a better life for the rest of us.” She glowered at him, as if daring him to mock her reason.

Urahara did not, and pretended to consider this seriously. “My deal only needs one person. I’m not sure I can help your other - ack!” He was cut off when she reached up and grabbed his collar

“I’ve got a feeling that this thing is pretty important to you, and you’re only coming to Inuzuri because you’re convinced you can get somebody dirt cheap.” She twisted his collar a little more, and Urahara mentally started listing ways of conserving oxygen. “Well, that ain’t true! You go about this my way, and that means helping them, but dealing only with me.”

“Twist the knife some more, why don’t you,” he told her mournfully, and carefully pried her fingers off. When he had straightened his clothes to his satisfaction, he resumed the negotiation. “What do you want?”

“Food and water whenever we need them.”

He blinked at her. Such a strangely worded request. “Are you sure you don’t want a place to stay?” Someone to live with and take care of you?”

She shook her head vehemently. “No! We’re happy the way things are. And I don’t want any of your stinking money, that’s just asking to get robbed. We’re free and we like it that way. We just want to stay safe and healthy.”

“But the safe are never free, are they? Isn’t danger part of what freedom is about?” Urahara considered her stubborn expression and the potential he had seen a week before. “You could have more. You could be in the Shinigami Academy.”

From her dismay, she had not been expecting this offer. He watched myriad reactions flicker over her face before it steeled into a determined expression again. “I don’t want to go. My friends are here. Now you gonna give me what I want or not?”

He sighed and squared his shoulders. “Very well. You have my word. May I have your name?”

“Rukia,” she replied, and promptly stretched out a grimy hand. He gravely shook it.

“Urahara Kisuke.”

Rukia made an impatient noise and wriggled her hand free. “Give it here.”

“Rukia-san, if it were so valuable I would hardly be carrying it about on my person. And I would have to work on your request, would I not?”

The scowl on her face let him know exactly what she thought of that, but she withdrew her hand anyway. “When?”


“I’ll see you then,” she said, and scampered off.

Part of him almost hoped that Rukia would not turn up, but she was there earlier than he was, scuffing at the sandy ground with a toe. She tensed as he approached, and he made sure to give her sufficient space in case she bolted. She followed him in a sidling manner, with one eye trained on him at all times. He kept up the most cheerful façade, though he refrained from whistling. The insult had hurt more than the blow to the head.

Just before they reached Hanakiri’s house, Urahara paused. The girl darted just out of his reach, eying him like a wary animal.

“What’s wrong Rukia?”

“You’re lying,” she blurted out. “This deal is too good to be true.”

“What makes you think that this is a good deal?”

“I haven’t seen the thing at all! I don’t even know what it does.” She glared at him, body tensed and hands fisted. “I think it doesn’t exist.”

Urahara looked around and found a relatively clean patch of someone’s fence, a low wall that was too rickety to be practical. He sat and patted the spot next to him. Rukia hesitantly came over, but stopped just in front of him.

“Let me show you something.” He tipped a bag over her hand, shaking it until its contents rolled out. Rukia’s eyes widened when she saw the glowing sphere. “It’s… pretty,” she said, holding it up to the light.

“Would you believe me if I told you this could break down any boundaries it wanted to?”

She jerked back in surprise, fingers unconsciously closing around the sphere. “It can’t. It’s not possible.”

“But it’s true.” He smiled at her, feeling a little sorrow for what he was about to do. “You think it’s a good deal. But this little favor you do for me is more than I can repay. I am putting you in great danger. That’s why I’m not telling you anything about it. Someone would kill for this.”

She huffed. “Nothing’s worse than surviving Rukongai.”

“Perhaps,” Urahara said. “What I’m about to give you is more dangerous than this little trifle I’m showing you.” He reached out and pressed the sphere a little into her hand, watched her eyelids flutter as her body absorbed the contents and she grew woozy. Once done, he removed the shell, content that the transfer had been successful. She snapped into awareness once he had replaced the shell in the bag.

“That’s not it?”

“My friend has it now,” said Urahara. “I asked him to make some modifications. Follow me.”

“Show-off,” she grumbled. “How much longer?”

“Just over there. He’s waiting for us.”

Returning to the scene of her crime did not appear to bother her. She followed Urahara right up to the doorway, and only withdrew when she saw the clutter in the house. Urahara gestured for her to follow, and she hung behind him as he headed straight to the lab. The sound of bubbling they heard long before they reached indicated Hanakiri was experimenting.

Hanakiri took one look at her when she entered. “This is the girl?”

She straightened defiantly at the accusation. “I don’t look like much, but I can run!”

“Smart mouth,” the old man grumbled, and ignored the fuming gestures she made in reply. “Whatever, it’s your demise. Got the money ready?”

“Yes, Hanakiri-san.” Urahara laid the moneybag on the table. “As promised.”

“’Bout time,” Hanakiri said sourly, picking up the bag and tossing it to test the weight. “If it’s not gold I’ll send the boy after you. Girl!” Rukia jumped at the sudden address. “Over here.”

She seemed to root herself to the ground instead. Urahara smiled and gestured for her to come over. “It’s alright. He just wants to give the item to you.”

Sullenly, she dragged her feet over the short distance it took to cross the room. Hanakiri shoved the item at her.

“What’s this?”

“A necklace. What else does it look like?”

“Hanakiri and I agreed that it would be best if you wore it. It’ll make it easy to carry about.” When Rukia didn’t take the necklace, Urahara picked it up and looped the ties over her head. She tugged at it for a moment, then picked up the carved pendant and squinted at it.

“It doesn’t look like much.”

“Ah, remember what I told you Rukia-san. It’s priceless, but only to those who know what it does.”

The girl involuntarily shivered, and Hanakiri let out a barking laugh. “I bet it’s really safe. You know how these gutter rats are.”

“I’m not like that! I’m better!” Rukia shouted back, her fingers twisting around the necklace.

“That’s alright Rukia-san, I know that. That’s why I’m trusting you with this. Keep it with you at all times.”

“I promised, didn’t I?” said Rukia sullenly. “Where’s your part of the deal?”

“Ah, here it is.” Urahara pressed a wooden token into her hand. She stared at it, tracing the outline of the Shihouin crest with one finger. “Show this at the shop houses and claim that you’re making a delivery for the Shihouin house. And then ask for whatever you want. Don’t let them take it from you to see if it’s real or not, the merchants are notorious for not giving them back.”

For the first time he had seen her, Rukia looked overjoyed. Then she quickly hid both the token and the pendant in her kimono top.

“Thank you I’ll take good care of it,” she said in a rush, and dashed out. The two men watched her go.

“When did you really give it to her?”

“On the way here. I put it in an artificial container designed to resemble the original. She didn’t notice.”

Hanakiri let out a barking laugh. “Only you, Twelfth Division Captain. She’s been swindled.”

Urahara sighed. “I wish it did not need to be this way. As it is, I have asked my friends to give her recommendations for the Shinigami Academy, should she apply.”

“She won’t ever do that, the ungrateful brat.”

Urahara looked at the empty doorway where she had been. “I don’t profess to know how Fate will turn out.”

The next time he met Rukia was on a street in the human town of Karakura. She was kneeling over a fallen figure in shinigami robes, though she herself was dressed in white. Knowing all too well that she was not a resident ghost, he approached cautiously.

Despite the years and the obvious difference in clothing, she still recognized him. Her hands fisted in her kimono as her drained reiatsu wavered a warning at him.

“You will help,” she declared coldly. “You owe me.”

Urahara pushed down his hat, masking his regret under it. “I do,” he said.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 07:30 am (UTC)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] oyceter
Oh! It's so neat how you changed the original so that it foreshadows the entire Soul Society arc!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-25 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaina.livejournal.com
Oh man, I'm far too late replying to this, but I needed to find the words. EEE THANK YOU. I didn't expect anyone to pick this fic, but I'm glad you did, because the spin you took on it is fascinating and somehow kinda logical. I find myself thinking hey, it SHOULD have been Urahara, why didn't you think of that?!

Urahara is by turns sympathetic and manipulative in a way that's almost nasty--he's not a bad guy, he doesn't have that vibe of evil like Aizen or Mayuri, but he is so utterly RUTHLESS and considering the stakes, it's hard to say he's wrong, which just makes it worse. And better. And the ending lines--BRRRR. They are freaking HAUNTING.

I love how he fakes her out, the bastard. Yoruichi's cameo is great too. Nice positioning on the couch. ;) And Rukia is tough and brave and everything she should be. This bit--

It was painful, and such an utter waste of candy.

--especially made me laugh. He would so think that way.

I love. Thank you!


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We Invented the Remix...Redux V

May 2007

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