Author's Notes: In response to isiodyn's 20themes challenge on live journal. For theme #8, Forgotten Memories. Yeah, it's Ichigo/Rukia. What else do I write?
"What's— " Ichigo broke off grumbling to himself and dragged Rukia off to the side, looking around to make sure no one else had heard her. Really, her naivety about the modern world was going to get them both in trouble, the idiot.
"It's a Ferris Wheel," he whispered furiously, glaring at her and holding on to her arm. "Geez, I thought you were studying!"
She pulled away from his grip, glaring right back. "I am, you fool, but I can't learn everything. Besides, no one mentioned this Ferris fellow. Who is he anyway? And why did he leave his wheel behind?"
Ichigo somehow managed to keep from smacking himself on the forehead. He had thought that agreeing to go the amusement part with a few of his friends would be a good escape from his shinigami duties but, as he might have known, Rukia had invited herself just in case they should happen to get orders while he was out. Which might not have been so bad if she hadn't felt the need to express her lack of knowledge where Keigo and the others could possibly hear her. If they had, they would certainly wonder why she didn't seem to know what cotton candy was.
"Look." He pointed up at the large, revolving wheel. "It's just a ride. You get on and it goes around a couple of times and you get off." He sighed at her expressionless face. "At least pretend you've been on one before."
"I know that, idiot, it's just…" Her voice fell flat. "Do people really find this entertaining? It's doesn't go anywhere."
He crossed his arms over his chest and opened his mouth to reply when Keigo bounded over, his eyes fairly sparkling.
"Ne, Rukia-chan! Would you like to ride the Ferris Wheel? It's bound to be really dangerous and scary."
Ichigo blinked and then grit his teeth, realizing what his friend was up to. Of course, Rukia couldn't possibly fall for—
"Aa, dangerous, hmmm? Let's go," she replied, striding off with determination. Keigo flashed him a victory sign and followed the completely oblivious Rukia, who looked as if she were readying herself for a challenge. Ichigo felt like growling. That Keigo, what did he think he was doing? Was he going to… No, he couldn't possibly…
Keigo slyly put a hand around Rukia's waist as he helped her into one of the cages.
Ahh, dammit, he was going to!
Cursing under his breath, Ichigo bolted forward, pushing past people in line to throw himself into the cage right as Keigo moved to do the same. Keigo stumbled backwards and Ichigo slammed the door shut as his friend gave him a confused look. The Ferris Wheel began to move.
Arms wrapped around the stuffed rabbit she had won in game, Rukia was peering outside the bars of the compartment, humming softly and still unaware of the precarious situation Ichigo had just saved her from. He shook his head. She probably wouldn't have appreciated it even if she had known as she always felt she could take care of everything by herself. Che, sometimes he wondered why he even bothered.
But then, of course, he did have an uncomfortable idea why he looked out for her, and so he had to push that thought aside and grumble about something else.
"Stop humming already. It sounds likes a hive of bees."
Rukia scrunched her nose at him and glared, dark eyes flashing, but she did stop, turning once again to watch the ground swing away from them. Ichigo stared at her for a moment, surprised she hadn't said anything, and his eyes fell to the stuffed anime in her lap. For a brief moment, he had seen her eyes light up when she had won it in a game of darts. She had been…happy, and that was something he didn't always associate with Rukia. She was serious, yes, and determined, and very very loyal to her work as a shinigami, but it was rare to see her express happiness in the sort of cheerful way other girls did, with a laugh or a smile. Even when she had gotten the bunny, her expression had only eased, a gentle softening.
Ichigo rubbed his temples. Rukia really was a pain. Just when he was beginning to think he understood things about her, she went and did something new just to confuse him. How much did he know about her anyway? Had her love for bunnies developed while she was a shinigami? Or was a remnant of a life she had once lived?
Dang it, now he felt guilty for making her stop humming.
He closed his eyes and looked away from her. "What was it?"
He felt her turn to look at him. "What was what?"
"The song you were humming. What was it?"
When she didn't answer right away, he cracked one eye open to glance at her, finding a confused expression painted across her face.
"I… I don't remember," she said finally, her voice quiet. He watched her for a moment, eyebrows drawn together, before leaning back and folding his arms behind his head nonchalantly.
"Well, it doesn't matter. You're making new memories now."
He heard her shift on the seat next to him but after a minute of silence from her, he turned his head to see whether or not she was angry at him again. She was not.
Rukia was smiling.