Perchance To Dream

Rukia awoke suddenly, moving straight from her sleepy world of vague dreams to the confines of Ichigo's closet. For one brief moment she felt restrained, trapped, and then she came back to herself and the feeling passed, giving way to achy eyes and the knowledge that some sound had pulled her from unconsciousness.

Sitting up slightly, she curled her legs under her and slid open the closet door to peek her head out into the darkened room, stray rays of moonlight landing like bars across Ichigo's bed and floor. Ichigo himself was asleep, legs and arms akimbo with the sheets wrapped around him like bandages, his mouth slightly open as he breathed.

Frowning a little, she gazed about the room, wondering what she had heard. She was always on the alert for Hollows, especially while asleep, and she hoped that she wouldn't have to wake Ichigo and tell him they were going Hollow hunting. He had seemed distracted all day, sometimes watching her with a confused, maybe angry expression and sometimes ignoring her presence completely. She couldn't figure out his mood and so hadn't spoken to him much, knowing he would get over whatever was bothering him or yell at her about it, whichever he felt like doing. After all that though, he would definitely not be happy if she deprived him of sleep simply because she thought she might have heard something.

Sighing quietly to herself, she started to slide the door close again when Ichigo moved suddenly, his body tensing as he jerked, his head turning restlessly as spoke in agitation.

"Don't take her. Don't."

Rukia let herself down out of the closet carefully, a sympathetic seriousness painted across her small face. She had heard him have nightmares about his mother before, although it seemed he was a bit more vocal this time. Perhaps it was worse than the others. In any case, he certainly wouldn't quiet down without outside influence and so she crossed to his bedside, toes curling into the carpet as she stood there, watching him fight against a phantom, a ghost of dreams.

She never knew quite what to do in these situations. That is, in circumstances where it was clear Ichigo needed her help but would be mortified to know she had given it willingly. To comfort him about his mother… Well, it was something she wasn't sure she was courageous enough to do. His mother was tied to him and somehow tied to the spiritual world, Rukia's world, as well and that made it a tender subject. She sometimes thought Ichigo must look at her and see someone who traded in death and life, giving some and taking away a few just like coins in a game. She wasn't important compared to Ichigo's pain. She didn't have the right to try and soothe him.

She wasn't enough.

Ichigo rolled onto his back, frowning even in sleep, his knuckles white against the sheets, and she knew that despite her own unworthiness, she had to do what was necessary.

She had always done what was necessary.

Exhaling softly, she leaned over his large form and laid a hand lightly against the top of his head, barely brushing his hair.

"It's alright now. She's safe," she whispered, and trembled for a moment before laying a quick, feather kiss where his eyebrows drew together. Surprisingly, his expression immediately eased, his grip on the blankets weakening as his dreamscape cleared.

Rukia half-smiled to herself and stepped back, turning away to climb into her closet. She took one more glance at her partner's slumbering form before shutting the door and going in search of her own nighttime visions.

In his bed, Ichigo slept comfortably, seeing Rukia returned to him in his mind's eye, safe and sound, and always nearby.

And it was enough.


Author's Notes: I'm not sure it was clear, but I wanted to make sure it was known that Ichigo had been dreaming of Rukia all along, and that it was her he was seeing taken away, not his mother. I hope that came through at the end but just incase it didn't, I thought I should mention it. Thank you for reading!