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It’s fun when Rukia tries new things because she’s never sure what she’s going to get as a consequence. Will she perhaps make a new friend? Will she get that unexpected promotion to Vice-Captain? Will she be arrested and given the death penalty? Life is a fun gamble sometimes.

Alright, all the past nonsense aside- Rukia feels she can’t be blamed for having her nerves a little shot. She’s realized that it takes bravery to be brave, and sometimes it takes even more bravery to not care at all.

She thinks about how much she doesn’t care as she resists the urge to study Byakuya’s face. The eternally stony expression on his face. The slow, slow, slow journey of shrimp from his plate to his mouth. Contemplating it like it’s a complicated puzzle and not just a pink water bug. Rukia fiddles with her chopsticks intently and waits for her adoptive brother to grace her humble self with what is on his mind.

“Rukia, it’s rare for you to bring new guests into our home.” He begins. “I trust you are accommodating Lieutenant Matsumoto as her host.”

“If you wanted to know, you could ask her.”


Rangiku, of course, is the picture of loveliness. She always is, but Rukia thinks that the blond must be going out of her way to look especially inoffensively charming.

She sits primly, looking polite and very pink as she delivers quick little bites to her mouth. Rangiku’s little chopsticks move so carefully in her elegant hand, as if this wasn’t the same woman that Rukia once saw inhale a beef bowl like it was her mark and this was her preferred method of assassination.

Rukia can tell that Byakuya doesn’t know what to make of Rangiku, and he’s not alone in that opinion. As much as Rangiku has a reputation for vulgarity, her public persona is never so unflattering as to overlap with her stasis as Soul Society’s most desirable women.

Rukia watches Rangiku swallow, her soft neck bobbing from within the grasp of her silver necklace. Rangiku dabs at her lip with a cloth napkin, “Oh, Rukia, it’s alright!”

Her eyes flash electric blue under ash-blonde lashes, giving Rukia a meaningful glance out of the corner of her cat-like gaze. It’s a gesture too subtle to be gleaned by Byakuya, but from Rukia’s side of the table it looks downright sultry. Rukia both fondly admires and resents her for that.

“Rukia has a lot of work cut out for her as acting captain, Captain Kuchiki. As her ally in the Gotei, it’s my pleasure to offer her my support any time, any place.”

“I see. That’s very admirable, Lieutenant Matsumoto.”

The vast size of the dining table gives Rukia the sensation that she’s watching a standoff, albeit a standoff where one person is clearly unaware. She doesn’t believe that Byakuya knows Rukia is gay, and he certainly has no reason to know that she’s dating the blonde bombshell that sits across him eating his dinner. And yes, while Rukia has to grapple with the fact that she just mentally used the term ‘blonde bombshell’ to refer to her girlfriend, she’d rather focus on more relevant topics right now.

A fleet of servants assembles to relieve the two Kuchikis and their guest of empty dinner plates, a second armada following quickly after armed with tea and cakes for dessert.

Rukia feels a cold flush of embarrassment as one of the servants leans over and arranges her place setting for her. She is always having to prove that she’s not a spoiled brat to her peers and superiors, that the fact that she lives in opulent wealth because of Byakuya’s decision to adopt her doesn’t mean she needs this environment to be comfortable-- or even that she approves of it.

Rangiku has never had anything given to her on a silver platter. Never complained about having to work for the things she wanted, even if some snide circles will try to contest that being beautiful and charming is a privilege that Rangiku takes too much advantage of, rather than a series of skills she’s perfected.

She’s so amazing. Rangiku is clever and kind and she doesn’t let anybody keep her from doing what she wants on her own terms. Rukia catches herself smiling over the length of the table like a dope while Rangiku dabs at the corners of her lips with a cloth napkin, looking at the little teacups and cake in front of her with light in her eyes.

“Oh, this is so adorable!”

The extent to which this squeal of delight shakes Byakuya’s crips and cultured dignity so thoroughly that Rukia can feel the tremors is only a wonderful bonus to the evening.


-


Rukia invited Rangiku over because that’s what you do when you’re dating someone she guesses. It wasn’t as though Rukia was trying to keep Rangiku away from the Kuchiki estate, but maintaining that distance made her… uncomfortable.

Rangiku should be allowed to go anywhere and everywhere she pleased. Like an outside cat, it was part of her charm.
However, there was one particular reason why Rukia hoped that Rangiku would want to come to the estate.

The Kuchiki manor is stocked with all assortments of frivolous luxuries, from down feather beds to ornately trimmed gardens. But something that all guests seem to particularly appreciate is the baths.

“This place is huge!” Rangiku announces, arching her back to look up at the ceiling and take in every detail of the fixtures. “Some kinky noble definitely envisioned this for sex parties.”

“I know, right?” Rukia tucks her towel around her chest. They’re the only two people present, and it’s not like Rangiku hasn’t seen her naked before, but even on the off-chance that there might be a servant or too present, Rukia tries to maintain their modesty.

Rangiku has no such qualms.


The bath house is a great, pristine structure of white stone carved into elegant, smooth slopes. Fountains of water pour from above and run in shimmering rivets down the rocks into an enormous basin of steaming, gurgling, opalescent water.

Around the basin of the huge bathtub, potted greenery dips and drapes out of their porcelain pots, adding some lavish natural color to the heavenly, steamy interior. Rukia particularly enjoys the warped, grayed windows that only let in just enough gentle light and reveal no shapes or colors to the inside or the outside of the building.


“Mm, it’s so perfect. I just wanna melt right into this big-ass tub.” Rangiku moans as she dips her feet into the water. The deep, throaty purr of her voice sends a rich tremor down in Rukia’s core, making her shiver warmly at the sight of Rangiku’s bareback. “What is that? Jasmine?”

She’s so cute; Rukia’s eyes roll over the curves of Rangiku’s hips, her thighs, her ass swaying as she slips into the water and lets it lap at her knees. She loves little brown moles on the back of Rangiku’s neck and shoulders, the thin and white scars standing against her pink, rosy skin.

It doesn’t do well for Rukia to stare like she’s trying to catch flies in her open mouth, so she quickly drops her towel against the clean tile floor and follows to the rim of the tub to join Rangiku. “Meadowsweet. A lot of my relatives enjoy infusing the water with herbal remedies, it’s supposed to be good for your skin and muscles. You know, for those times when you’re a nobleman and you need to recover from a long, taxing day of toiling in the fields or on the war front.”

Rangiku’s laughter sounds like a hyena with the hiccups, and it makes Rukia’s heart flutter as she sloshes into the water. “Some well-behaved little heiress you are.”

Sweet-scented steam wraps around Rukia’s body, enveloping her in a great blanket of heat that digs into her sore muscles like strong fingers. As she wades into the bath up to her hips (it takes much less time for Rukia to get submerged, compared to Rangiku’s long legs and towering physique) the heat is almost uncomfortable. Then she releases the tension in her muscles, adjusts to the warmth, and feels all the stiffness and stress she hadn’t even realized she was holding begin to flow out of her body.

“Mmm…” Rukia sinks up to her shoulders, lifting up her dripping hands from the bathwater and running them through her short hair.

When the initial ecstasy passes, Rukia flutters open her eyes and looks to find Rangiku in the jade-tinted waters. “Rangiku, do you want me to wash your-” But even as she looks over, there’s no Rangiku in sight. Rukia looks from one side of the tub to the other, there’s nothing. “Rangik-”

Bubbles break the surface of the bath water, and Rukia has one free second to put her hands up and shield herself from getting hot water splashed in her face as Rangiku bursts from the depths with her blond hair slicked back and her arms thrashing wildly. “Shark attack!”

“Very funny. Bathtub sharks don’t get their hair and back washed for them, you know.” Rukia playfully slaps the water, splashing a giggling Rangiku back.

“Okayyyy…” Rangiku bounces up and down, beaming contentedly. Water drips down her golden hair, over her golden skin. Rivets flash like copper down her shoulders and between her breasts, she looks so alive and celestial. “There’s shampoo and stuff here, right? I don’t wanna walk back to the main house after we just got in here.”

Rukia smiles softly, watching Rangiku splash around to her heart’s content. “Yeah, there’s some stuff on the ledge over there, by the faucets.”


Said faucets are mounted on the furthest edge of the tub, controlling two spouts for adding hot and cold water into the basin. A small shelf mounted on the wall offers bathers their choice of various products, elixirs, and soaps arranged in neat little rows.

Rangiku wades over to the shelves and rifles through its contents. She is definitely a woman who knows her self-care, and fingers through the fancy containers and bottles of candy-colored liquids until finding something shimmery and purple and uncapping it to take a deep inhale. Blue eyes flash to Rukia under long lashes and over a thin, pink smile. “You said you wanted to wash me, right? You’re so thoughtful, Rukia-chan! I’ll be right over.”

Rukia sets her palms down against the edge of the tub and pulls herself up, emerging so she can twist and sit atop the tiles with her legs still submerged in hot, soapy water as she waits for Rangiku to come over.

She didn’t imagine that her first serious relationship would be with someone so flirtatious. It could almost be a little off-putting, the way that Rangiku might tease Rukia as if she was one of the drooling boys who ogled her, the ones she would never consider seriously pursuing. It took some determination to get Rangiku to just relax and take her walls down when it was just her and Rukia alone.

Rukia patted her thighs, “Turn around here, okay? And relax-- there will be plenty of time to play later.”

“Alright, since you asked so nicely.” Rangiku turned to show Rukia her back, combing her fingers through her hair to push back over her shoulder. The tips of Rukia’s fingers trace down Rangiku’s back, water dripping down her waist and over her backside.

She holds up the bottle of shampoo in the air, waiting for Rukia to take it. Rukia pops the cap and holds it up to her face, smelling the powerful waves of lavender before dripping a dollop into her palm.

Rangiku is surprisingly sturdy underneath Rukia’s touch, and Rukia knows that she is not always exactly gentle. Her small, dark fingers comb through Rangiku’s hair, golden strands turned dark, almost brown, from heavy water. White foam tinted with purple spreads around from where Rukia spreads the shampoo around, and Rukia realizes she can’t remember the last time she felt this close to another person.

It’s funny she has that revelation, considering Rukia and Rangiku have been far more intimate-- at least physically. Rangiku is an enthusiastic lover, an attentive partner. But to get close to her emotionally, to let them both be honest and vulnerable with each other? Rukia’s not even sure how she can be honest and vulnerable with herself, let alone how to convince Rangiku to put that much faith in her.

Part of Rukia still belongs to the ice, wasn’t the same after her heart slowed to a halt and her blood became sub-zero in her body. For so long after Rukia’s bankai put her body into that sleep of death, it felt like she hadn’t really come back yet. There was a pane of glass that separated her from everyone else. There was frost on her fingers like a second skin.

Soaked in the heat of the bath, Rangiku’s warm body underneath Rukia’s fingers, she never could have guessed that Rangiku had also been a cold, walking corpse just like her. She’s solid and strong.

Rukia is shaken from her thoughts by Rangiku’s voice. “I’m glad you invited me here, y’know? You’re so sweet to me.” Her voice echoes against the domed ceiling, sounding quiet and loud all at once.

“It’s really nothing like that. Not like I have a lot of company around here, anyway.” Rukia tries to sound an appropriate level of nonchalant.

The smell of flowers rising from Rangiku seem to wrap around Rukia, soft and velvety on her tongue. She’s smelled sweat and blood off of Rangiku’s body before-- ashes, and volcanic rock, and life, and death, and sex. Rukia leans in her face to the crown of Rangiku’s head, closing her eyes and breathing as if she could still taste the edge underneath Rangiku’s many layers of loveliness.

“I like to keep you company, Rukia.” Rangiku’s head tilts upwards to the ceiling. Is her face flushed pink from the heat of the bath, or from proximity? “I like to do anything you’d like.”

Rangiku leans backward with her head pillowed on Rukia’s bare thighs, at the same time Rukia bends towards to place her lips on Rangiku’s. The deep, foggy heat makes Rukia’s head spin, both heavy and airy at the same time.

The taste of Rangiku’s tongue recedes. The blond woman sinks into the water and turns around that she can look at Rukia face-to-face, boring into Rukia with crystalline blue eyes. Rukia feels a huge breath swell up in her chest. It’s a kind of aching need she still isn’t entirely familiar with.

“May I?” Rangiku’s palms slide over Rukia’s knees, up her thighs and spreading her fingers. At the same time, she rises out of the water like some deep, mysterious sea creature to loom over Rukia’s seated position. Water rolls down Rangiku’s chest, Rukia finds her eyes drawn to droplets reflecting the light like veins of gold.

Rukia’s legs fall open at the same time as her mouth, placing her hands flat against the tiles beneath her so that she can crane her face up and receive Rangiku’s kiss. Rangiku’s fingers cradle Rukia’s hair, curling around dark, damp strands at the base of her neck.

Rangiku’s hand that isn’t holding her head cups Rukia’s cheek, before trailing downwards to brush her fingers over Rukia’s neck and down her chest, massaging her small breasts and circling her nipples with her thumbs.

A moan echoes up Rukia’s throat, reaching her arms up and around Rangiku’s shoulder to pull her closer. Facing upwards, the short blond stands of Rangiku’s hair, curled by the humidity at the ends, tickles Rukia’s cheeks. The perfume of flowers fills her nose, building up a little spasm in her nose.

Rukia breaks the kiss abruptly, making Rangiku start a little at the sudden rebuff-- until Rukia turns her head to the side and sneezes.

“Bless you.” Rangiku deadpans, waiting for Rukia to sniffle before she smiles in response.

“Sorry,” Rukia flushes. “You smell like shampoo. Please, don’t stop on my account.”

She hears Rangiku sigh deep in her chest, rich with amusement. “As you wish, my dear.”

Rangiku’s knee hikes up onto the edge of the bath, sliding between Rukia’s legs. Her body presses close to Rukia’s, and Rukia kisses the soft skin of Rangiku’s neck, down the swell of her cleavage.

An electric shock runs up Rukia’s core from between her legs, Rangiku’s knee rubs against Rukia’s outer lips. A dampness she can’t attribute to the baths pools up and drips down her opening, spreading against Rangiku’s thigh.

A whimper slips out of Rukia’s lips and echoes against the bathhouse walls. Her hips strain to spread as open as she can, while Rangiku’s thigh rubs against her vulva and grinds up and down. A delicious tingle spreads out and fills Rukia’s body with savory heat.

“That’s it, baby.” Rangiku coos as Rukia kisses her breast feverishly, laving her tongue over Rangiku’s pink nipples while the blond keeps grinding into her. “Hold on, honey. I am gonna eat you up like a snack.”

Rukia moans, throaty and needy, and Rangiku catches her on the lips for a kiss as she sinks down. The water licks at her gorgeous body, practically welcoming her into its warm embrace. Rangiku’s hands knead at the plum flesh of Rukia’s thighs. Rangiku’s eyes flutter up at Rukia over a pink-lipped smile. “May I have a taste, pretty please?”

“Yes,” Rukia runs her fingers through Rangiku’s wet hair, pushing it slick back against her scalp. “Yes, go for it! Oh, shit-”

A clever, pink tongue darts out of Rangiku’s mouth, teasingly lapping at Rukia’s dampness, and Rukia gasps forcefully. Rangiku goes deeper inside her, tasting the warm, sensitive wetness inside her. Rukia’s hips jolt, wanting to push Rangiku deeper into her.

Rangiku’s tongue rolls over her in wide, hot strokes, bringing Rukia to a forceful peak. Rukia feels her legs tremble around the blond’s head. Her thighs shake, stomach lurching as Rangiku’s strokes send her into freefall.

Finally, Rukia’s spine arches-- she whimpers and whines, Rangiku never relents her work, lapping at Rukia’s head and sucking her labia. Pleasure racks her body, she doesn’t come down from the high until Rangiku chooses to let her, finally slowing her mouth and tongue and receding to kiss the inside of Rukia’s thighs.

A moment passes, air rushes back into Rukia’s throat and swells into her chest. She blinks hard, and her vision clears. She realizes, latently, that saliva is coating her lips and dripping down her chin, and she raises her hand to wipe the excess moisture. She feels incredible, satisfyingly hot, the heat inside her skin broiling even more than the steaming water surrounding her. So warm and full. “Rangiku?”

“Yes, my baby?”

Rukia looks downwards to Rangiku’s sunny, smiling face. She drags the heel of her palm down her own cheek and chin, wiping away the slick liquid material with her hand. “Well, we both came to the baths. But you’re even messier than before.”

“You’re not exactly squeaky clean, yourself.” Rukia counters, reaching out with her own hand to take Rukia’s damp, rosy cheek.

“Then maybe you should finish washing me up.” She opens up her arms for Rukia to slip into, both women sinking back into the hot, fresh, foamy water.