The 78th District
a born leader
As with all souls in Soul Society, spirits that pass on from one world are meant to travel to the next - in order to maintain a balance. After dying in the human world, Rukia's spirit, as with her sister Hisana
, were brought over to Inuzuri - the 78th district of Rukongai - nearly 200 years ago. Unfortunately, Hisana's inability to care for her younger sister - who was merely an infant - led to Rukia's abandonment. She ended up growing up without knowledge of her sister whatsoever, and for a long period of time without the dependence of anyone to support her. Rukia inevitably became strong - physically as well as mentally - to refrain seeming vulnerable.
One day, her loneliness came to an abrupt end when she intervened in a pursuit. An adult who was after Renji and his rat pat of friends for robbing water, got tripped by Rukia mid-sprint. It didn't take long for the boys to accept her into the group, even though they often found her weird. She carried on like a tomboy and yet had incredible sensibility and gentleness at the same time. From that day forward she was their spiritual leader and they become something of a family. They all shared in their hatred of Inuzuri and it's people. It was also during this time that Rukia began to develop and exhibit some spiritual power. At the time only Renji seemed to display that kind of power in the group until she came along.
Unfortunately, after 10 years together, and with most of their friends dead. Rukia was left to consider what to make of her future. That's when she proposed to Renji that they become Shinigami, so they could one day live in Seireitei - noting that she'd heard it was pretty there. Given that she and Renji had been gifted with spiritual power, he agreed and easily entered the Shin'ō Academy where they would work toward their dream. Two months in and Rukia discovers that Renji was going to the human world to practice Konsō for the first time. Although she'd whined about it, she moved on and left it behind them. Up to that point, they were still rather close as they always were but a blossoming rivalry did start to develop between them, forcing something of a distance between them - even if unintentional. However, that grew exponentially when Rukia was asked to meet a Byakuya Kuchiki, Captain of the 6th Division and 28th head of the Kuchiki clan - one of the four great noble clans in Soul Society. Renji, who had been unaware, had accidentally interrupted that meeting but was quickly filled in by Rukia moments later on the unexpected events. Byakuya wanted to adopt her into the Kuchiki clan, which would allow her to graduate immediately, and be assigned to the 13th Division. Although Renji congratulated her, she'd felt disappointed. Her efforts to outbeat Renji and show she had the ability to become stronger were lost in that moment, which eventually led to their complete separation. Byakuya explained that he wanted to adopt her due to her similarity to his late wife Hisana, who up to that point Rukia still did not know was her biological sister.
After the adoption process was complete, she was immediately admitted into the 13th Division without taking the entrance exam. It wasn't long after joining the ranks that she'd been aware others were just as critical about the "favoritism" she'd incurred by the nobles - she'd felt just as disappointed. But when she met Lieutenant Kaien Shiba all weariness over her standing were extinguished. Without hesitation Shiba would scold her and discipline her at every turn, showing no sign of special behavior - allowing her to have a natural relationship with a superior which was all she wanted. It was under his tutelage that she developed herself further. He was even present the day she learned her Shikai's first two "dances". Not only had they become friends, she'd respected him dearly. He'd even confessed to her that so long as he was in his division, he would stand by her, even if he died. Unfortunately, a hollow had killed Kaien's wife (Miyako Shiba) - another well respected soul Rukia not only admired but looked up to. In an effort to avenge her, Kaien, Rukia and Ukitake (Captain of the 13th Division) went after the hollow. With courage Rukia suggested scouting the Hollow's lair, but Kaien had stopped her. He wanted to battle it alone, in honor of his wife. Although Rukia had accepted the request, when she saw the Hollow destroy Kaien's Zanpakuto, she wanted to aid him. Captain Ukitake stopped her immediately, explaining Kaien's wish and allowing him an honorable death even if it went against their better wishes. If she'd gone in to help, it was considered disgraceful and dishonorable. As difficult as it was, she sustained herself still, only to watch as the Hollow took over Kaien's body. It eventually forced her to fight him in hollow form, and watch as the man she'd idolized was getting killed from the inside out. Although she wanted to save him with every fiber in her being, his state only kept worsening until his soul was completely corrupted by hollow within, leading to his eventual death by Rukia's sword. As he died in her arms, he thanked her for doing so, for effectively saving him in the end. She brought his body back to the Shiba family estate but was afraid to apologize out of guilt for her own role in his death.
Roughly forty years passed before she was reassigned to the human world. At first she thought it was a transfer order but that wasn't the case. Captain Ukitake had informed her that she was being assigned to Karakura Town for one month which was meant to be an easy and straightforward assignment. Knowing Byakuya well by this point, she neglected to tell her brother about the news but Ukitake offered to tell him for her.
the death and the strawberry
One evening, during her stay in the human world, Rukia encounters a strong presence. In her quest to find said presence, she discovers that a human by the name of Ichigo Kurosaki was able to see her in his bedroom. Stunned by the realization, she takes a moment to explain her purpose as a Shinigami through cute drawings but that only ends up confusing the teen boy further - turning an already confusing night into a war of words and insults. In her effort to "control" the situation, she binds him with a Kido spell but that only made matters worse. As if that weren't enough, the presence she'd been following had seemingly disappeared - due to some power hindering her senses - but Ichigo was able to hear its approach way before she could. Although she can't make out why a human could sense a Hollow before she could, she wastes no time and goes after it. That's when she notices a girl lying in the corridor, just outside Ichigo's home. She didn't know at the time, but said girl was Ichigo's sister Karin, and just as she explains to him what happened, Ichigo forces his way out of the bind to rush by his sister's side. It's at that moment that Rukia realizes the Hollow had come because of Ichigo himself, the power
hindering her senses just moments ago. In her attempt to protect him, she put herself in harm's way, crippling her chances to defeat the Hollow until she decides to transfer half of her power over to Ichigo instead. Out of her perceptiveness to see what kind of power he possessed, he agreed to take on said power and so she drove her sword into his chest allowing her power to transfer over. However, nothing ever quite goes as planned, and Ichigo incidentally had taken nearly all of her power in the aftermath. It was enough to offer him the strength to defeat Fishbone D (the Hollow) but also enough to force him to collapse right after. It was only shortly after that Rukia meets Kisuke Urahara for the first time, as he offers to give her a Gigai (an artificial body which allows Shinigami to remain in the Human world) so she could interact with Humans and allow her time to recover.
From that moment forward she allies with Ichigo in an effort to continue her duties as Shinigami while recovering. Due to the events that uniting them in the first place, her full power was still stored in Ichigo, preventing her from returning to Soul Society, so she decides to stay close to him through her Gigai while convincing him to perform her duties in the meantime. Enrolling herself into the same school he went to so they could be close at all times. Between threats, insults and general confusion, she manages to get through to him and together they form an unusually good team. Rukia even arranges rudimentary training for Ichigo to go through to improve his combat skills.
Shortly after, Rukia helps Ichigo save Orihime's life by protecting her from her brother's Hollow form. Although badly injured, Rukia is able to heal Orihime with her Kido before replacing her memories so she had no recollection of the events that happened. That allowed her a chance to explain to Ichigo more on souls and their presence on earth, how their connected to Soul Society and why it's important they send them over before they turn into Hollow forms. Some period later, they find themselves in yet another fight but this time to protect Sado, another student at the same school they go to and eventual close friend. It's through this engagement that Rukia informs Ichigo about Hell in Soul Society and how significant it is to protect souls as they pass over. After the fight is over, she erases Sado's memory as she did with Orihime.
Through ongoing interactions with Kisuke, Rukia is able to obtain significant items during her stay in the human world. Among them a Mod Soul for Ichigo so he could fight Hollows on equal ground as a substitute Shinigami. She takes advantage of his shop as a way to refill her own supplies and continue her Shinigami duties while she recovers.
Some time later, Rukia is surprised when the presence of a Hollow by the name of Grand Fisher wasn't ordered killed by Soul Society. Although she didn't know at the time, she comes to discover that this is the Hollow that killed Ichigo's mother - when Ichigo realizes the truth he forbids her from interfering in the fight. That's when she's reminded of the request Kaien had made of her so many years ago. Having matured considerably since then, she honor's Ichigo's request as she see's him nearly killed. Just as Grand Fisher escapes, she manages to get to his side and use what was left of her power in Kido to heal his worst wounds. In the aftermath, she's asked by Ichigo if he could keep her Shinigami powers for a bit longer. At some determined point later, she meets Uryu Ishida - a Quincy - and is disturbed when she see's him kill a Hollow. But that wouldn't be the oddest part yet, over the next few days she discovers there's an unusual number of Hollows in town and has a hard time understanding why. What then turned even more concerning was her sudden disappearance. Leaving Ichigo a coded note to not look for her and to go into hiding.
As she runs, she encounters and is surprised by Renji. When asked that she summon the human she gave her powers to (considered against the law in the Gotei 13), she refuses and only forces Renji to prepare an attack against her before Uryu shows up trying to stop him. That's when Rukia notices Renji's increased strength and notices Ichigo had managed to find him - pitting Renji and Ichigo into a fight. It wouldn't be long after that her brother, Byakuya arrives to finish what they were after - Rukia's arrest. Although they don't manage to kill Ichigo, Rukia forces him to give up as she resigns to her fate and consequences - letting him know that she won't ever forgive him if he went after her. Knowing Ichigo far too well in the short 2 months they had been in each other's company.
Rukia is immediately imprisoned in the 6th Division's barracks, without knowing what her penance will be. After her brother reports to Central 46, she comes to find out some time later that she will be executed in 25 days and that they won't meet again until the day of her execution. In an attempt to cheer up Renji, she makes fun of him and his new tattoes even though she fully accepts the consequences of her actions.
revelations, sacrifices and honor
During her stay at the 6th Division's prison, Rukia comes into contact with a few recurring members of the Gotei 13, but it's during the 14th day before her execution date that she's transferred to the Senzaikyū, a central white tower in Seireitei from where she had visible view of the Sōkyoku from the windows. At this time, Renji informs her that there had been a report of 5 Ryoka having invaded Soul Society and one of them matches Ichigo's description.
In the following days she's made aware of his presence even more as he fought Kenpachi Zaraki, but was unaware if anyone had died due to the restrictions bounded onto her. It wouldn't be long after that Ganju Shiba (Kaien Shiba's brother), opens the door to her cell - filled with anger at knowing that she was involved in his brother's death. Understanding the pain Kaien's brother had gone through Rukia accepts her death by his hands for it seemed just but that encounter is quickly intervened by Rukia's brother Byakuya. Unbeknownst to her, they were there to help her escape. When she notices them trying to go up against her brother, she tries to handle her brother but is unable to due to the Sekkiseki's effects. What ultimately shocks her is when Ichigo arrives, and as relieved as she is to see him alive - she's equally as angered that he had come after her, even when she bade him not to. Ichigo, of course, ignores her protects and confronts Byakuya head on. Before a full out battle could ensue, other's to the likes of Yoruichi intervene, only to effectively fail in their mission as Ukitake orders Rukia be put back into the Senzaikyu. She's informed shortly after that her execution date has been moved forward to the next day and though she's surprised by the news - she isn't saddened. In a way, she accepts it as a consequence for her role in Kaien's death.
The following day, she's taken by guards to the point of her execution, only to sense that Renji pitted himself against Byakuya in an attempt to save her life. Just as she thinks he's died for her, Gin Ichimaru - Captain of the 3rd Division - informs her he's alive but lies about wanting to save her friends for her. That incomprehensible lie gives her a reason to live but when she talks to Captain Yamamoto, Division 0's Captain about allowing her friends to go back home after her execution - she's relieved to hear he'll accept her last wish, giving her peace of mind as she accepts her fate. Just seconds before her end approaches, Ichigo arrives - managing to halt it's advance. Upset once more, Rukia doesn't understand why Ichigo keeps trying to save her. In what could only be imagined as an unexplained change of heart, Ichigo gets help from Captain Ukitake and manages to free Rukia from her bounds. As he dismisses her protests, Rukia notices just how much stronger he's become and is overcome with relief but the moment is cut short when he deliberately throws Rukia over to Renji. As reckless as it was, she is comfortably catches in Renji's arms.
As they attempt to run away, Rukia is overcome with thoughts and a need to go back and help Ichigo. Even though Renji explains that Ichigo came to save her as a way to repay her for allowing him to protect everyone. Their escape is cut short when they are intervened by Gin and Aizen. A brisk confrontation between both pairs turns violent before Renji and Ichigo are defeated, putting Rukia in Aizen's hand. Its under this control that she listens to Aizen talk about Ichigo's role in his plans. In incredible detail he explains how everything had been done on purpose to follow his plans only to order Gin to kill her after. But Byakuya - who is battle-worn at this point - manages to come to Rukia's aid in her utter surprise. She asks why he saved her but Aizen attempts to advance on them. Before anything more could carry out the other captains arrive to subdue Aizen, Gin and Tosen.
In the aftermath, Rukia is restrained when she tries to come to Byakuya's side while being healed. After requesting to be by his side, she's allowed the privilege and comes to find out the truth about her adoption. He explains how he was married to her sister, and that throughout their marriage she'd felt regret for abandoning her since she was a baby and had been trying to locate her for years. As a dying wish, Hisana had asked Byakuya to find her and protect her but that he'd always been conflicted since he had also sworn to abide by the rules as a member of the Gotei 13. Leaving him torn between his promise to Hisana and his role as Shinigami, but ultimately apologizes to Rukia for his actions.
A week later and she visits Kukaku Shiba's home, looking to formally apologize to the Shiba family for her role in Kaien's death. But her apologize is cut short because they had already forgiven her. As Ichigo and the others get ready to go back home, Rukia tells them she wants to stay in Soul Society, saying goodbye to each other.
arrancars, hueco mundo and the human world
With notice on Aizen's plan, Rukia and an advanced team of Shinigami return to the human world to protect Karakura town. It stuns Ichigo but is quickly informed about what is ultimately going on. When Grimmjow invades the town with his Fraccion, Rukia realizes they are there to kill anyone with spiritual power. In an effort to protect her friends and allies, the advanced Shinigami team splits up to go after those with spiritual power before Grimmjow can find them. Inevitably, she and Ichigo are quickly confronted by the Fraccion leader, as with his incredible power. Having been defeated by him, Orihime arrives in time to heal her - and is surprised by how much she improved her healing skills.
Some short time later, Rukia discovers that Orihime is asked to stay out of battle and as saddened as she is, they both travel to Soul Society where they can engage in training so she can get stronger. They spend a month together in said training before Rukia is informed by a Hell Butterfly that the Espada are about to attack Karakura Town. As she advances to figure out why they are attacking so soon, she tells Orihime to wait for it isn't safe for a human to travel through the Senkaimon. As soon as Rukia arrives she discovers that Ichigo is losing in a battle against Grimmjow. Between several other actors in the mix, both Ichigo and Rukia manage to come out of the battle alive but let Grimmjow leave with the help of his comrades.
The next day they are contacted by Soul Society with order to return but at the same time Ukitake informs them that Orihime was taken by the Arrancar. Although they want to go rescue Orihime, Captain Byakuya and Kenpachi arrive to return them to Soul Society. As soon as they finish their mission, they are told they don't have any other orders, giving them freedom to go after Ichigo and save Orihime.
Urahara - in the human world - opens a Garganta for Rukia and Renji, allowing them entry to Hueco Mundo as they save Ichigo and his group from Runuganga's attack. Together they go on a mission to save Orihime and Rukia reveals to the group how they managed to catch up to them with help from Byakuya. Just as they make it over, she proposes they split up since she doesn't need Ichigo to protect her and believes it's the quickest way to find their friend. In her quest to find her, she stumbles against the 9th Espada, Aaroniero Arruruerie. His ability which involves a game with the mind, tricked her in believing she was fighting her mentor Kaien Shiba. As disturbed as she was, she fought through the rage and anguish only to discover the Arrancar's weakness. Although her first two "dances" were unable to kill the Arrancar, by allowing her to have a sense of closure against the guilt she'd ridden with after his death, she managed to inflict her final dance against the Arrance, killing it at once.
Later, the 7th Espada arrives to finish her off but Byakuya appears in time to save her. Just as he defeats Zommari, he requests Isane Kotetsu heal Rukia. After she awakens from her injuries, she's alarmed to hear via Tenteikura over Aizen's announcement and his plans - by trapping her comrades in Hueco Mundo. Except Byakuya informs her that the Gotei 13 have preparations for battle in Karakura Town.
As Rukia comes to aid Ichigo, they are found in a fake Karakura Town, an effort made by the Gotei 13 to protect the human world from Aizen's power. Together with Ichigo and the others, they go against the Arrancar army and in the process try to go after Aizen who is the master skeemer of them all. Though Aizen isn't killed, he is sealed with the help of Urahara. About a month later she goes to visit Ichigo who had been unconscious during said time. Having used all of his Shinigami powers to sustain Aizen, he's informed by Rukia that he'd lost his powers and that he was undergoing that process through phases. The last phase being his Reiatsu stabilizing before his remaining spiritual power completely disappears. At that point he realizes they bid each other farewell even though Rukia disturbingly makes him realize she can still see him, even if he can't see her.
The Lost Shinigami
returning a debt
Roughly 18 months have passed since Rukia was last in the human world. But with knowledge that Ichigo's been involved with Xcution members, Rukia is tasked to observe him from Soul Society. However, when she learns that he's allied with the enemy, she refuses to believe it so he appears before Urahara and Isshin Kurosaki (Ichigo's father) when Kugo Ginjo and Shokuro Tsukishima successfully steal Ichigo's Fullbring powers. In an unexplained act, she stabs Ichigo in the back through the chest, eventually materializing behind him so he can see her. Her actions allow Ichigo to once again acquire Shinigami powers, which manifest in a new form.
After greeting him, she kicks him in the face and berates him for crying, telling him he should be ashamed for becoming a coward in her absence. Shortly after she informs him about the sword she used to help him restore his powers, revealing that Urahara created it. When the enemy tries to intervene with the fact that one shinigami's power wouldn't be enough, it's revealed that the sword was fussed with the power of the Gotei 13's contributions. As she continues, she explains to him that Ginjo only took a small well of his power with his Fullbring and that it's no where enough to take his full breathe of power.
Of course, Ginjo doesn't come empty handed, as the full extent of the Xcution members join in to fight alongside him. Which forces Rukia to come against Riruka. Knowing that Xcution members are human, Rukia refuses to kill her - as she confesses that her job as Shinigami is to protect them. In a game of words, Rukia finds a way to distract Riruka, but never actually killing her as she'd promised. Except Riruka decides to let her go without a real explanation. After the chatrooms are shut down, Byakuya finds Rukia unconscious noting she's uninjured. From a distance she watches as Ichigo breaks through the dimensional pocket created by Yukio. Surprised, she wonders why the captain don't react to his aid, and even worse when they turn around and head back to Soul Society. That's when Byakuya reminds her that they were only tasked with observing Ichigo and his decision. Revealing that they would have been glad to have any substitute shinigami lure out Kugo to get rid of them both but that Ichigo had changed their plans. But just as Rukia see's that Tsukishima tries to attack Ichigo, she leaps between them, before she's inflicted with the lethal wound, Riruka bursts forth and take the attack. Rukia collapses before Ichigo catches her. Later on she joins him as they go to Soul Society where Ichigo asks at a Captain meeting to retrieve Kugo's body.
The Thousand Year War
everything on the line
In what could only be summed as the ultimate battle for all. Rukia along with those in the Seireitei are surprised by an enemy invasion. She's informed by Rin that Ichigo is heading to Soul Society, but in an act to protect Seireitei she and Renji head out to try and confront their enemy. Without notice or depth of the limit of power they were up against, she is quickly defeated after being distracted by what appeared to be Byakuya's death.
At some point later, while recovering after surgery from her severe injuries by the Wandernreich, she talks to Ichigo briefly. Intuitive as ever, she realizes Ichigo's expression and believes he's hiding something much more serious. When the Royal Guard come to see what happened at Seireitei, she - as with Renji and Buyakuya are taken back to the Royal Palace so they're wounds could be fully be healed. Upon arriving in Reiōkyū, Rukia and the other wounded are taken to Tenjirō Kirinji's headquarters, where they are placed in his "Blood Hell Pond" hot springs, allowing its unique healing properties to treat the wounded Shinigami.
Once she's healed, she's clothed properly before beginning her training alongside Renji at Senjumaru's palace. She later hears about Byakuya's recovery which excites her but then remarks on what he has to go through when reaching Senjumaru's palace. As soon as they are done with training, they rush to Soul Society to confront the the Wandernreich who once again attacking Seireitei in what they called the end of of Soul Society. As she arrives and analyzes the situation, she finds herself confronted by As Nodt, the Wandernreich who had stolen her brother's Bankai and pledges to defeat him in his name. As she fights him, she tells him why his power doesn't affect her and how she's gradually lowering her body temperature in ways that inhibit his power from actually affecting her. Finally revealing how fear cannot affect her because she is not technically alive and how the true power of Sode no Shirayuki allows her to drop her temperature to below freezing. Although she acknowledges that she can only be in this state for up to 4 seconds at a time - and therefore has a long way to master her refined power. When Rukia tries to freeze him, Äs moves behind her as Rukia notices she cannot move. Revealing his fear ability now works on sight instead of on contact with his thorns, Äs generates innumerable eyes around Rukia and explains how she can no longer escape his gaze and must feel fear. As Rukia experiences intense fear, Byakuya cuts through the eyes, saving her. While observing Äs running wild with rage, Byakuya compliments Rukia on becoming stronger, an acknowledgement which leads Rukia to shed a tear. He further encourages her by stating that she has nothing to fear, and with that, leaves the fight to her. Rukia unleashes her Bankai, and a blinding pillar of white emerges. As Äs is frozen solid and fades away, Rukia stands in her Bankai form as a crack appears on the back of her hand. Stepping forward, Byakuya tells her to slow down while returning to normal temperature. While complimenting her Bankai, Byakuya proceeds to tell Rukia it requires delicate control to prevent herself from getting harmed as well and reminds her that a blade wielded with the cost of the wielder's life will not be able to protect anything. She obeys Byakuya and moves on with him.
Although asked to take it easy by Byakuya's request, she pursues to fight against the Sternritter as Ichigo goes after Yhwach to the Royal Palace. At some point later, when the members of Gotei 13 realize they need to reach Ichigo before they're too late, Rukia is found in Urahara's lab in an urgent summons where her Reiatsu is needed to open a direct line to the Royal Palace. As Seireitei is falling apart, Urahara states the Soul King must have died, shocking Rukia as the others. But as distraught as she was, she see's as Ukitake uses the power of Mimihagi to replace the Soul King. She was further disturbed when she found that Aizen was freed from his prison as a last ditch resort to stop Yhwach. When the doorway is finally charged up, she goes forth with the rest of the Gotei 13 to the Royal Palace which at that point was converted to Wahrwelt. As they run through the city they are confronted by Gerard Valkyrie, however they are overwhelmed by Gerard's monstrous presence as the Quincy has grown even larger since they last saw him. Just as Renji and Rukia run through the rubble to try and attack him, they are rescued by Byakuya. He tells them to meet up with Ichigo instead, and even though Rukia argues against him, her brother comments that Ichigo's Reiatsu is comparable with Yhwach's. Revealing that even though Ichigo may not need them, he doesn't need them there. Rukia and Renji thank him for his honesty before running to the palace. Although Yhwach departs just as they arrive, tending to Orihime's wounds, Rukia is disturbed to find out that Yhwach can re-write the future and simply observes the open gate ahead of her as Ichigo goes valiantly to end it once and for all.
Several years later and Soul Society is still recovering from it's last battle. She's become heavily involved in the recovery process overall but acknowledging it's a process that will take many more years before it goes back to working order. Her relationship with Renji advanced in ways she didn't expect with a looming event in her horizon before she's pulled from her universe unexpectedly.
As she arrives in Elysion, she's stunned by how she got here, why and how to get back. In her quest to find answers, she became a wanderer, trying to figure out the missing pieces to her puzzle and although she hasn't figure it out just yet, she's slowly coming to a realizing - only a few months in - that she might have to resign to the new life ahead of her. She doesn't realize anyone else in her universe is here just yet.