Author: NessieGG PM
He was sitting alone on a bench in a room more or less full of people, thinking about butterflies. 'You didn't try the eggnog' [Ishida x Orihime] [One shot]Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Romance - Orihime I. & Uryuu I. - Words: 1,783 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-14-06 - id: 3289177
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Some IshiHime holiday fluff, anyone? (With CRACKish undertones?) This one has actually been in my head since the beginning of the year, but I missed my chance to write it during the season, so I'm glad to finally get it out there. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach and am making no profit from this fan fic.
He hated the term "social butterfly." Honestly, there was absolutely nothing social about a butterfly. Only twice in his life could he remember seeing a butterfly flying in close proximity to another of its kind, and that had been during mating season. The purpose, it seemed, of butterflies, was to fly from flower to flower in the hopes that it would find a sweet one. Mating, putting itself in contact with another, was basic instinct on survival. Chances were, when it had chosen its mate, the butterfly was really still thinking about flowers, and whether it would ever find that perfect one…the one it was meant to fly to.
Ishida suddenly came to from his reverie, registering the condensation on his fingers from the punch glass he held and the texture of the bench he sat on. His eyes went somewhat wide behind the lenses of his glasses. Here he was, at a party Kurosaki Ichigo was hosting (at, admittedly, the rather insistent urging of Kuchiki Rukia), and he was sitting alone on a bench in a room more or less full of people, thinking about butterflies.
Man, he really was a loser.
(And what was the total lifespan of a butterfly anyway? Like, two weeks?)
More to have something to do than because he was actually thirsty, Ishida lifted his glass and tossed back the punch as though it were sake. He felt eyes on him, glances over, and could have sworn that Shihouin Yoruichi – in full human form – gave an approving nod complete with cat-like grin.
The party had started at seven and it was now nearing ten. Ishida had been talking with Chad up until about an hour ago when the tall, quiet man had left because he had to get up early the next morning for work. After that, Ishida had begun to stare around the room at the people talking animatedly but consciously kept his eyes away from the one who, were she to spot him being a wallflower, would drag up into the social fray immediately.
He told himself that he truly did not feel disheartened that she had not discovered him on her own for nearly sixty minutes; an outright and otherwise unconvincing lie.
Just when Ishida was debating over getting up to either get more punch or get his coat and head out, she found him. He should have known that she would get to him eventually and that he should never have expected for even a second that he might be at the top of her list of visiting priorities.
He became acutely alert so very quickly that it was a wonder Ishida's senses didn't just evaporate from being utilized so instantaneously. Turning his head, he looked up and saw past a glare in his glasses from an overhead light that Orihime was standing beside him, looking down at his seated form with a smile on her face.
A smile, he noted a handful of split-seconds later, that appeared just a bit too wide. "Inoue-san? You are…"
She giggled a little, and it was not one of the happy laughs that he often heard throughout the night in his own dreams. Some subconscious reaction prompted him to give another glance over to the ever-grinning Yoruichi, who was now in seemingly deep conversation with Urahara Kisuke.
"I've been wanting to say hello all night!" she told him cheerfully. "But Tatsuki-chan kept asking me to stay and talk with her." To his astonishment, she sat down next him on the bench – well, stumbled and fell more like. Though the lights had been made dimmer for the party, in this proximity Ishida could clearly see twin spots of bright pink high on Orihime's cheeks. She stopped giggling at her little trip long enough to pierce him with a jovial look. Ishida felt warmer at once. Her eyes had always reminded him of light, even in their blue-gray color, and even now her gaze seemed to be the brightest thing in the room.
"I wanted to tell you – your sweater." She placed a hand on his upper arm, feeling the cotton of his red V-neck. With some embarrassment, Ishida became aware of a faint trickle of sweat beginning beneath his hair at his nape. "Red looks very good on you, Ishida-kun!"
Franticness set in. "Y-you think so?" he asked, despising the tremor in his voice. Orihime didn't seem to notice and simple nodded her brown-orange head.
"Yes! You made it yourself, didn't you. I wish I could make clothes!"
Detecting a hint of sadness in her still-exuberant tone, Ishida hurried to place his hand over hers in what was meant to be a reassuring way. But when he felt the temperature in the room go up about a thousand degrees, he wondered if that had been a mistake. "Inoue-san, you also have talent!"
"I do?" Her eyes became brighter in her curiosity. Ishida first thought of mentioning her skills as a fighter but as she had complimented him on something relatively normal, he wanted to do the same for her.
"Yes, you…ah, that casserole you cooked! The one you brought to school with the celery and leeks and, um, jellybeans! It was…good," Ishida finished lamely. So much for normal. "I really liked it," he followed up.
This statement seemed to encourage her at once, and she sat up straighter as though boosted into perfect posture. Her smile became a little softer now, a little more Orihime-like. "And I'm wearing green," she said as an addition to her earlier mention of his sweater. She pulled at the long sleeve of her T-shirt – one that was a little tighter than what she usually tended to wear. "Tatsuki-chan found it for me. So see, now we're dressed for Christmas together!"
Red and green, Ishida noted, and could not suppress the smile that tugged at his lips. At his changed expression, Orihime looked impossibly happier, until she caught sighed of the empty glass in his hand. "You don't have a drink!" she exclaimed as if this was the most unacceptable state of affairs.
"I'm not really thirsty anymore," he began, but she shook her head vigorously.
"You only had punch!" cried Orihime, tapping the glass in an attempt to emphasize the little red line of liquid clinging to the bottom rim of the inside. "You didn't try the eggnog?"
Ishida's eyebrows darted up. His initial reaction was surprise, closely followed by concern. "No. Ah…you did?" He had noticed that, throughout the course of the evening, punch had been the preferred beverage by all but Yoruichi and Urahara, known sake-drinkers, and he had deduced without difficulty that the big bowl eggnog had been purposely spiked; most likely by Ichigo's father, who was only too exuberant to have so many guests in his house.
Orihime was energetically bobbing her head in the affirmative and her barrettes glittered with the movement. "It's very delicious! It was kind of spicy, and at first I don't think I liked it very much, but Tatsuki-chan kept handing it to me, and then I started to like it a lot."
"I can see that." She began to get up, presumably with the intent of fetching him some of the drink in question, but he caught her wrist, brushing bare skin and turning about as red as his sweater. "No, Inoue-san, please! I…I'm not thirsty anymore, really." She'd started to wobble, and Ishida gently guided her back to the bench. "Maybe later?"
"Mmmm." She seemed content to quickly forget all about his lack of eggnog and settled her head on his shoulder as she got comfortable, feeling his sweater now with her cheek. "You really do make very nice clothes. Will you make me one?"
There was a combination swelling of his ego and an uncomfortable pounding of his heart that had the Quincy stumbling over his words as she had stumbled over her own two feet. "I…well…Y-yes. What…what color?" He was becoming increasingly distracted by the alluring scent of cinnamon wafting from her long hair.
"I think…blue." Her tone was quieter now.
"Blue," he repeated, feeling his heart returning to its normal pace as she calmed down. "I can make blue. It will be a Christmas present."
"Thank you…I really wanted the kind of blue your energy has. You know." She tilted her head upward to meet his eyes again. "You're kind of…bright."
Bright. Hadn't he just been thinking the same of her only a few minutes ago?
"But what can I do for you?"
Ishida thought determinedly that he would eat a dozen celery-leek-jellybean casseroles if only she would keep on looking at him just like that. "Nothing."
"But I…" Before her eyes became too concerned with the idea of not paying him back properly, Orihime's face lit up as brightly as the string lights on the Kurosaki Christmas tree. "What about lunch?"
And apparently he would be eating another casserole. "Sounds great," he told her. He suddenly realized that she placed her hand within his at some point during their conversation. It was such a natural feeling that Ishida had not been aware of it at first.
They sat together like that, watching each other for nearly a full five minutes, not taking care to notice the various pairs of eyes that were turning toward them (one from the furious face of a stuffed lion and another from the triumphant expression of a tomboy best friend) until finally it was Orihime who sat up again and stretched her arms as though she had just woken up from a very good dream.
"Ishida-san, are you sure you don't want any eggnog?"
When she had convinced him to at least walk over to the snack table and he was hurrying to come up with excuses for not drinking, all Ishida knew that maybe – just maybe – he wouldn't be searching at long as the other butterflies. Or at least that butterfly didn't mind a loser.