I'm IchiRuki trash.
"You're cheating on me, is that it?"
There were hazards to being best friends with a girl, and even more when it came to living with one.
Telling people they were just roommates didn't exactly pass muster when two minutes into their shared apartment, decorated seamlessly to incorporate both their styles with pictures that could be misconstrued as "couple-like" scattered around, Rukia would walk out of their room wearing his clothes.
Ichigo really had tried to convince people that they were just roommates and had been since he was fifteen. But he just got condescending nods, and eventually, he learned to pretend that the fact that people thought they were dating (or at the very least, screwing) didn't bother him.
It certainly didn't bother the girls that still came up to ask him out, much to Rukia's amusement.
He grumbled, "You're such a bitch."
"Your creativity is lacking in the insult department, Strawberry-chan."
"The least you can do is be sympathetic," he sulked.
"Oh, woe is you, the tragic Kurosaki Ichigo being constantly approached by beautiful women! Where's the sad violin music that is the soundtrack to your life?"
Girls like Kuchiki Rukia had hazard signs all over them: Danger! Don't underestimate! Danger! Don't be deceived! Danger! Danger!
"Your acting's gotten worse, is that possible?"
"It depends," Rukia mused, tapping her chin thoughtfully, "did you really use me as an excuse to not go out with Inoue again? You do know she knows we aren't a thing, right?"
Ichigo grumbled at the very reminder of her.
He still couldn't believe she had followed him to study in the city. Though he knew he probably should have just told her straight out he wasn't interested in her romantically, he also still harboured the hope that the buxom girl really did always dream of studying in Tokyo.
"I'm going to keep using it if it's all the same to you," he retorted.
"Fine, but don't come crying to me when you finally find a girl you're interested in, and she thinks we're a thing," she said, already smug despite the sheer impossibility of the notion. That she didn't bait the issue anyway was something he was only marginally surprised by.
The Kuchiki princess' near-permanent move to the World of the Living resulted in her needing to dedicate time to doing actual living human things which considering the age she was playing at, required her to get into university, and at her own admission in wanting to have an immersive 'young adult experience' get a part time job to tide her over. She had the time for it, after all.
Hollows weren't very bright but going into the territory of the saviour of the world (twice!) just wasn't something they were doing.
Ichigo, for his part, couldn't complain what with his medical degree well under way, and though Rukia had never had an inch of bloodlust in her, she grew bored of feigning interest in class.
It was her own fault really, why she chose to major in historical studies was beyond him, and a job at the local coffee shop? What kind of act was she going for?
Even if the work was easy for her on both fronts, the load couldn't be ignored.
Just that morning she had accidently woken him up as she was getting up to leave – gracelessly climbing over his prone form to get out of bed.
He had scowled at her, resisting the urge to pull her back beside him as she muttered, "My paper's due for ten." He had watched her, blurry eyed as she clumsily put on his discarded sweater from yesterday and grumbled, "It can't wait 'til after ass o'clock?"
She had yawned adorably wide, running her hand haphazardly through her tangled bed head and replying, "Six o'clock shift at work."
In the bluish light from the television, he could make out the slightly darkened smudges beneath her eyes.
He covered his embarrassment with a snort. "You're wearing my shirt again."
"It's comfortable," she informed, tugging at the hem in demonstration, showing off the skin of her chest as the shirt hung off one shoulder to expose her collarbone. His eyes flickered at the sight, though valiantly, not long enough for her to notice, as she added, "Besides, it's the least we can do if you're going to keep pretending we're dating."
"It's easier," he insisted, "plus, no one believes us being just friends anyway. We sleep in the same bed!"
"Only because you wouldn't let me sleep in the closet," she reminded, still displeased at being evicted. "It's bigger than the one at home!"
"You're not sleeping in the closet, I already told you. When school lightens up a bit, I'll get on to getting that other bed for you, okay?" Rukia rolled her eyes. He'd been promising that since they started university, and he knew it.
There was a certain intimacy he had become accustomed to since Rukia had come barrelling into his life.
Random attacks in the morning or after school, his dad had him covered. But there was no preparing for the short shit shinigami that would change everything.
She used kido, for god's sake, and he was still shit at it.
And when it came to the odd Hollow attack, she'd face plant him with that trusty glove of hers as she sat on his chest or set Chappy on him; and Ichigo still couldn't decide which was worse (it would probably be Chappy if Rukia hadn't taken such a liking to summer dresses).
Not that he would ever admit it aloud to her, but ever since his powers were taken away from him, he realized how he actually hated to be alone.
After his powers came back (along with her) he was more relieved than anything when she turned down the bed in Yuzu and Karin's room. The sneaking around, he could deal with, and if he offered his closet every time they got back from Hollow hunts despite them not having dinner with the family yet, neither remarked on it.
The arrangement couldn't continue when they moved to Tokyo.
If Byakuya found out she was still living in his closet, Ichigo knew he'd be fearing cherry blossoms for the rest of his life, though he might still have to look at them with suspicion if their current arrangement continued.
Shifting her legs across his lap, he caught sight of the boxers she was wearing. "Are those mine?"
"Probably," she replied, shrugging nonchalantly.
Whether she was hanging out in his clothes, stealing food off his plate, stretching out across his lap, messing his hair as she walked passed him while he studied, hip checking him as they washed dishes or brushed their teeth; Rukia gave zero shits about personal space and boundaries.
At one point, he had sarcastically offered his toothbrush to her on the first night in Tokyo, and she just looked at him like he had cooties.
It figured that the only thing she wasn't willing to do was swap spit.
He inwardly scoffed at the thought.
Even he had to admit it was kind of gross to share a toothbrush, but it was a mindboggling normal thing compared to the lines they had crossed with one another.
After all, the first time they met, she did put a sword through him.
"You're never going to let that go," she declared, rolling her eyes, all too used to his thoughts occasionally being verbalized when he was thinking too hard.
"Our swords are extensions of our souls; mine could've seriously fucked yours up."
Rukia raised a brow at him, giving him a 'you can't seriously be this dumb' look that he's both infatuated and infuriated by as the hazard signs flashed in his mind's eye: Danger! Feelings ahead! Danger! Danger! She's going to say words that are going to make you feel dumb!
"You offered yourself to a Hollow to protect your sisters, you idiot. Delinquent or not, you have a good heart, a good soul, and that's all that matters; even if you are as dumb as a pile of rocks."
He rolled his eyes.
"And for a prude," she added a second later, "you're taking the fact that our souls basically had sex quite well." He choked, and almost sagely, she remarked, "Oh, I spoke too soon."
"The hell is wrong with you?" he spluttered.
"What?" she asked innocently. "My soul technically did penetrate yours, you know. Or didn't you get this talk? What are you – twenty, or twelve? Come on Mr. Med Student, cat got your tongue?"
"By some definitions," she allowed with a smirk. "What's brought this up again?"
"What? The whole sword through the chest thing?"
"Un, that. Reminiscing?"
Shrugging, he stretched his arm across the back of the couch, and vaguely recalled, "Just thinking about your total disregard of normal human boundaries."
On cue, she kicked him in the rib. "How dare you? A Kuchiki always respects boundaries."
"Then please explain, with citation, on what planet your brother would be okay with you wearing my clothes and sleeping in my bed?"
Rukia scowled. "Get in line, I have enough papers due."
"Face it, you have no defense," he pointed out with a snicker.
"Of course, I do. Don't be stupid, you think I'm this relaxed with everyone I meet?" He'd actually hate himself if the answer was yes and the thought of her this comfortable with literally anyone else made him momentarily forget the blinking hazard signs. She rolled her eyes at his silence; rewarding his lack of response with a lack of her own.
He hated it when she did that. "You aren't comfortable around many people."
"Hence why it's a luxury, idiot."
It was his turn to roll his eyes. "Fine. Citation?"
She made a sound of annoyance at the back of her throat before she vaulted up so fast Ichigo almost fucking squeaked when she was suddenly nose to nose with him; her thighs bracketing his as she straddled his lap. "Citation? You really want to go there?"
Danger! Danger! This is not the friendzone!
Even he could feel the bounce in his Adam's apple as he swallowed. "What do you mean?"
Huffing, she muttered under her breath, "You're so fucking dense."
There were hazards to having your whole world altered by the presence of a single person, falling in love with them is pretty high on the list.