Chapter 98: Renji remembers the first time he met Rukia. As chlidren, Rukia joins Renji and his group of orphans after she saves them from an angry robber. Renji notes that despite behaving like a man, she also had a gentle aura. Both he and Rukia were the only ones in their group who had spiritual power. 10 years later, all their friends had died, so both Renji and Rukia decided to become Shinigami. They then entered the Shinigami Academy, where they struggled to prove their worth to the students of noble background. One day, Renji went to see Rukia, but found her with several noble shinigami, including Byakuya. Rukia tells Renji that the Kuchiki family want to adopt her. Renji fakes his enthusiasm and congratulates Rukia for being accepted into a noble family. Rukia, feeling upset at Renji's reaction, she thanks him and leave. After Rukia is gone, Renji then tries to convince himself that Rukia having a family to care for her is for her own good and that he should stay out of her life. Back to his fight with Ichigo, Renji admits to himself that he was too scared to stay by Rukia's side, stating that he was "a tramp who barks at the stars, but never tries to reach them". He then grabs Ichigo and tells him that he's too week to defeat Byakuya, despite training everyday to get Rukia back. Renji then begs Ichigo to save Rukia.