A/N: Surprise! Have a second chapter on the house. I know the first was short but it really didn't blend with this part of the story enough to leave it all together. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al.

The Kurosaki Affair

The More Things Stay the Same

Rukia watched out their bedroom window as the orange hair of the man she loved disappeared before going to retrieve her body from Chappy. While Ichigo complained about having to live with the mod souls for months at a time (especially when Chappy inhabited her gigai), the small Shinigami knew he was thankful not to have to spend weeks and sometimes months on end alone.

The engaged couple had bought the house next to the clinic shortly after Ichigo graduated med school. He had gone from Tokyo University's pre-med course to med school so they had until about a month ago resided in the apartment they'd rented at the beginning of their reunion. However, when they'd gotten the news that Ichigo would be doing his residency at Karakura Hospital, he had refused to move back into his father's house, feeling that they had outgrown the necessity of living on top of the rest of his family. The girls might be in college and away from home, but that didn't mean Ichigo would feel comfortable living with his fiancée and his father at the same time. Still wanting to be close in case he was needed, he had gone looking at apartments nearby, hoping that he could find something that wouldn't stretch his budget too much. He was going to be getting paid for his residency but he'd spent a great deal over the years on med school and wanted to save as much as he could for later years.

The house next to the clinic had been perpetually for sale ever since Lurichiyo and her two guardians had resided in it briefly. When pressed, the real estate agent had admitted that the cost had been driven down drastically by its "haunted" reputation so the mortgage that Ichigo had ended up paying wasn't that much more than what he would have if he'd rented a three bedroom apartment for them.

Rukia had been excited about the opportunity to have her own house, feeling that she too needed to be away from her brother, regardless of how close they'd become. Byakuya had not been entirely happy with her choice, but was content that Ichigo seemed to be able to provide for her without using the money in Rukia's account. It had become more of a Chappy fund, the money being used mostly for her obsession. The house had needed only a little more furnishing then their apartment and Byakuya had gladly let Ichigo use the account to do it in a manner befitting a noble and a royal. He had even said that it would be the perfect place for their "nobility" lessons; something the captain had temporarily suspended in favor of making sure the two weren't having sex. The sixth division leader had offered to return Rukia's governess to them so that they could have help, but both had refused strongly. That didn't mean that a maid or two wasn't going to drop in every now and then just to check up on them.

Her brother had long ago recalled Hogosha-san from chaperoning; figuring that since they'd already been intimate before she had been there, his sister and Ichigo were bound to find ways to make love regardless of his interference. Isshin had also reminded him, not without a bit of scolding, that he had raised his sword to a royal and to make up for it, letting them live as they wished was the least he could do.

Byakuya had flushed at his mistake, apologizing to the older Kurosaki before reluctantly agreeing. If they hadn't created a child yet with all of their "affection," it was likely they wouldn't until they wanted to so he saw no reason (as they were engaged), that they couldn't proceed. Isshin was after all going to be next door so he could count on the man to be an interfering busybody when it mattered most.

Rukia smiled at the memory as she discarded her clothes to take a shower. She had wanted to surprise Ichigo with her return and his look of horror at her finding out that he had lost (and she had found) the pink tie, had been well worth the effort it took to hide her reiatsu from him. It seemed nowadays that she could be on the opposite end of the country and he could feel her. His ability to sense reiatsu hadn't really gotten any better than it had been during the war but when it mattered, he could pinpoint down to the street where one of his family or friends were without batting an eye.

When she had mentioned this to Isshin one day, he'd merely smiled and told her a royal did have some advantages that others didn't when it came to Shinigami abilities. And when it came to the heir of the throne, there wasn't much he couldn't do.

Kido notwithstanding.

Ichigo Kurosaki had had his powers back for seven years and still couldn't summon a destructive spell without blowing himself up. Urahara's training ground was in a permanent state of repair because of his failure; and the secret training ground in the Soul Society had been restricted to sword play for the fear that he would cause a cave-in.

Several of the Royal Guard kido experts had tried and failed to teach the future king but he just couldn't do it. The more he had trained, the more reiatsu he had accumulated, and the more he hadn't been able to control it like he needed to so that he wouldn't destroy anything but his intended target. Rukia often wondered if he could perform a cero correctly or not but dared not even broach the subject. The last time he had done that had been when he'd lost control of his Hollow and she didn't want to give the pest any more of a reason to revolt than he already had. It was bad enough Hichigo still liked to try to take over, regardless of how many times he was beaten bloody. Sometimes she wondered if it was because of him that Ichigo took her beatings so well.

Laughing at the thought, she shut the shower off and went to dress in something comfortable. Going out into the living room, Rukia looked around at the numerous boxes that still sat unopened around the room. She couldn't fathom how they had gotten so much junk over the years when neither of them was much for harboring keepsakes.

Going over to one, she glanced at the label and smiled. It wasn't junk, it was her Chappy collection that he had failed to put away. It was probably just as well, though. Ichigo may have loved her beyond her wildest dreams but he hated the cartoon character more and more as the years went on. If he had tried to put the plush toys and other memorabilia away, he'd probably have either done it wrong, or been tempted to throw them away. Shrugging away the thought, the petite young woman began straightening things up to her liking and putting things away that had been left out in the open. Rukia had plenty to keep her busy while Ichigo was slaving away under the direction of the older Quincy. About to wash the dishes left in the sink, the approach of another familiar reiatsu had her pausing and moving all sharp objects out the way.

"Rukia-chan! My beautiful third daughter! I'm so happy you're home!" Isshin rushed into the room, his arms wide open and made a beeline for the small Shinigami. "Ichigo's been such a grouch while you were away."

"Hello, Oji-san," she murmured, using a slight kido spell to push him off. "It's good to be back."

"None of that, 'Oji-san' stuff. Call me 'Daddy!' You'll be a Kurosaki soon enough and I want you to get comfortable with the name." Isshin smiled goofily while silently checking her over like the doctor he was. Her hair had remained short since Renji had accidently sliced one side off, and it still suited her more than the style that had made her look like a younger copy of her sister. Even though she looked healthy, there were slight circles under her eyes that would go away quickly enough once she got a decent night's rest in Ichigo's arms.

"How about we compromise with 'Otou-san?'" she asked. Rukia almost laughed at the pout he gave. For a Shinigami royal who could fight with the best of them, he could be such a child at times.

"If I have to," he returned. Suddenly his eyes lit up, as if he had remembered something important. "I just remembered. I forgot to give you your housewarming present when you first moved in! I'll be right back."

Violet eyes sparkled with laughter as their owner waited patiently. Upon her future father-in-law's return, he was holding a rolled up poster. "Otou-san, we couldn't…" she began, knowing what it was a picture of. Ichigo would go ballistic if she allowed Isshin to put a poster of his mother on the wall.

"Don't worry, my dear daughter! Daddy has lots of these." Fishing a roll of tape out of his pocket, Isshin chose a section of wall that was visible from almost everywhere and secured a giant life sized portrait of Masaki Kurosaki there for everyone to see. "There, now you can have my beloved Masaki to talk to whenever you wish!"

"Great, thanks. I'll be sure to let Ichigo know." Rukia rubbed her forehead, the beginnings of a headache coming on. "You should probably get back to the clinic. I think I just heard someone pull into the lot."

"You did? You're hearing is so much better than mine. Well, I'm off to save lives!" She waited until he was gone before laughing out loud. Looking at the smiling, ginger haired woman, Rukia grinned.

"He falls for it every time," she said, a snicker still in her voice. The years may have changed some things, but one thing would always remain true:

Isshin Kurosaki could still be outwitted by his children.