After Ukitake took his leave, Rukia sat in the tea room for quite some time. She went back over the days’ events and analyzed each one with the mind of a brilliant tactician. Regarding her plan for Ulquiorra, everything was progressing flawlessly. This operation could not have had a more perfect beginning and Rukia was confident that the party next week would go quite well.
However, when she thought about what she was forced to do to Ichigo, her lips turned down into a frown. She didn’t like the way he’d looked during his ‘punishment’…it reminded her too much of the night she betrayed him to his sisters. She knew there was no choice-she had an image to uphold in front of Ulquiorra and that had to come first. Still, that didn’t stop the guilt that was eating away at her now. “My poor boy,” she whispered quietly. Rukia knew that she’d have to go in eventually and try to make things right, but right now she was too emotionally drained to attempt it. After about an hour in the tea room, Rukia decided she needed something stronger, grabbed the sake, and went for a walk.