I want to save you

Ouch, Ichigo thought stupidly, as he fell to the ground. Zangetsu stood ominously over him, his face set in its patent stony look. Distinctly, Ichigo could see Yoruichi shaking her head in disappointment.

That one actually hurt.

He blacked out.

"What is this monster?" Rukia asked. Ichigo was shuffling through his pocket for money.

"It's a vending machine," he grunted. "You buy drinks from it. Ah, I do have enough." He plugged his change into the slot. He slammed his fist against the button for a soda.

He would never forget the way her eyes widened.

"WOW," she said, bending down to grab the can that had just rolled out. "That's incredible! And it's cold, too!"

Ichigo shrugged. "Yeah, it's cool, I suppose."

"Can I see it again?" she said, her eyes suddenly very child-like and large.

"I guess I have enough for two…"

And the way she smiled.

The second can of peach soda rolled out and she snatched it eagerly. "This is so amazing! Can I see it again?!"


As if she generated her own light glowing inside of her.

She struggled to pop the lid open. Ichigo merely watched her out of the corner of his eye as they walked back home, pretending he didn't see her fingers scrapping uselessly against the cold metal. She gave a disparaging sigh.

Ichigo took one last sip from his drink and threw the can into a nearby trash bin.

"Are you gonna drink that?" he said with another grin. "Or just stare at it?"

"How does this thing work?" she huffed. "It's impossible."

"Just because you can't do it, doesn't mean it's impossible," he said, taking the can from her and popping it open easily. She looked at him eagerly and reached out for it. Instead, Ichigo took a long swig from the can, ignoring her.

"HEY," she cried, kicking him, hard, in the shin. "Wasn't that mine?!"

"I paid for it," he said, handing it back to her. "I get first sip rights."

"Hmph." She slowly brought the can to her lips.


"Oi," Ichigo said harshly, drawing the can away after she had started choking. "You're not supposed to chug it."

Rukia hiccupped helplessly as the bubbles crawled up her nose and swam down her throat. "How was I supposed to know?!" she gasped. "You should've warned me!"

"Idiot," he said. "Why should I warn you about these kinds of things?"

"That tasted horrible," she said, after coughing for a while. "Who'd want to have their throat burned?"

"It's good," Ichigo insisted. "You're just not used to it."

"I don't want to get used to it," she said stubbornly.

"Jeez," he said, walking towards another vending machine next to a store. "I'll just buy you a different one. Then will you shut up?"

Her eyes lit up again. "Really? Another one?"

"Whatever," Ichigo said, pulling out his last hundred yen. "Do you want grape or lemon?"

Rukia beamed. "Grape."

I want to see that again.

Ichigo groaned as he got to his feet. He ignored the taste of copper in his mouth, and spat on the ground in front of him.

"Let's go," he rasped. "I'm not done yet."

Zangetsu gave him a pleased look. "Alright then. Here I go."