Rating: PG-13 (to be safe)
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the characters in this piece.
Summary: Ichigo has a sudden revelation when his closet door is opened one morning.
He'd seen her in many different states of dress. Pajamas, blouses and skirts, dresses and of course, her school uniform. He didn't know why this morning had affected him like it did, but he did know one thing. He didn't like it.
Rukia was in some ways his partner and they often shared and switched the roles of mentor and apprentice. He grudgingly respected her and had to admit that his unusual penchant for her company had evolved from a tolerance of her presence to becoming unbalanced without it. At times he even considered her a friend, someone to share a special moment with or somebody to talk to if need be. But he most certainly did not have feelings or urges beyond that. He didn't want to get to know her better or have her squirm her way any deeper into his soul than she already was. He knew with absolute certainty that he did not desire her.
Except for this morning….and all the subsequent following moments when he had been unable to purge his mind of the image of (this he was the most certain of) a highly desirable Rukia.
She had been running late. Why? He had no clue. He had been standing at his desk shoving his books that he had used for last night's homework back into his school bag. As the closet door opened and his gaze swung over, he had suddenly seen her as he never had before.
She had one foot on the ground, the other still in the process of swinging off the bed, which gave him a glimpse of the pale creamy flesh of the inside of her thigh. As her leg touched down, her skirt fluttered down, still moving and unsettled, covering and uncovering to his gaze enticing glimpses of her skin in an unbearably teasing manner.
His heart was pounding in his chest and his mouth was suddenly dry. Had he ever seen her in that position? He must have, but it had never seemed like this. Like some light switch turned on, he was abruptly aware of her as a woman. Not just any woman, Rukia. His Rukia.
God, his Rukia? Where had that come from?
Her vest was still unbuttoned and she was looking down concentrating on buttoning it, her brows drawn together in thought. She was unaware of him it seemed, but that seeming unawareness was not mutual.
Had he ever seen her while she was still dressing? It seemed like such an intimate thing to be seeing, and it struck him that few, if any, had witnessed Rukia like this. Her breasts were thrust forward, straining against her fitted white shirt, while her chest pushed forward, making it easier for her to see the buttons on her jacket.
That finished, she drew her hair out from under collar with a shake and quickly ran her hands through it.
Ichigo suddenly felt the desire to replace her fingers with his own. To run his fingers through that black shiny mass of hair he was sure would be as soft as silk. To bring the strands to his face and feel them against his cheek and inhale the smell of freshness mixed with soap. Just as Rukia always smelled.
God, why did he know what she smelled like? This must have started earlier than he thought. Surly he had not noticed these things before. Had he? But if he hadn't then why did he know what she smelled like? It seemed like it would be impossible not to notice everything about her from this point forward.
A memory assaulted him then. He was sitting while Rukia was standing over his shoulder trying to look at something, her hair sliding against his check, tickling his skin, riveting his senses with that refreshing scent, her scent.
She finally noticed him it seemed. She flashed him a smile, a small twist or her lips really, while reaching behind her for her school bag.
"I'm leaving now, Ichigo. I'll see you at school." She climbed out his window in a flash of gray, leaving him in complete confusion as he no longer understood his world.
What had happened to him? Why did he suddenly see her as so much more than he ever had before?
Snapping out his daze, he tried to concentrate on getting ready for school before his friends showed up to walk with him.
Somehow, he had a feeling that this would be a very long day.
Ichigo dropped his school bag on the floor and flopped down onto his bed. Burying his face in pillow, he tried to forget about the day and simply focus on nothing.
School had seemed like a second form of hell, his inability to concentrate on anything today had been particularly frustrating. He's glanced discreetly at Rukia several times and had finally come to the conclusion that he could never go back to seeing her as he had before. At this point he wasn't sure if he had ever been indifferent to her and perhaps just had always been in a state of semi-denial, finally coming to the conclusion that he desired her in so many different complex ways this morning when he could no longer trick himself in the light of day.
It seemed that every movement of hers was filled with a flowing sense of tranquility and grace, which despite the uncomfortable reactions it caused him, still managed to fill him with a sense of long forgotten peace and balance.
Lunch had been a dual form of relief and torture. He had never been happier to be free of Rukia's presence and to be spared of the need to converse with others at the same time. While at the same time, he couldn't stop thinking about his revelations of that morning and wondering where she was, what she was doing or if she was happy.
Walking home from school with her by his side was not nearly as bad as he thought it would be. In fact, he had derived some sort of perverse pleasure from being so near to her and just enjoying her company while they strolled home in silence. That was one thing Rukia could always do that others could not. And that was to be what he needed when he needed it. When he needed silence, she seemed to understand and those moments of boring everyday conversation, those moments that were really his lifeblood, were always given to him when she sensed he needed them.
Now he was confined to his room with her, and he had always enjoyed that too he now realized, but with that realization came many others. Her presence was in this room in such a way that it would never leave. He could feel her in his room, smell her scent in his room, and in every place he looked, he had a memory of her in that spot with him.
It was too much, too soon after his revelations that morning to be in this room with her. He grabbed a change of clothes and changed into a pair of running shorts and casual t-shirt and threw some sweatbands around his wrists. Just as he was opening the door to leave his room, she came through the window.
Her voice floated over to him. "Where are you going? Outside?"
He shut the door and turned to face her while she approached him. He felt every inch separating them as he never had before and in his head screaming for her to come closer and at the same time to move away.
He cleared his throat and answered, "I just needed to blow off some steam, and I thought some fresh air might help me."
She looked at him for a moment in contemplation. She took a step closer and he saw the spark of interest in her eyes, practically glowing with whatever idea she had in mind. She gave him a smile, "I know a great way to work off some steam."
Dear God, was she teasing him? Was this some sort of sexual banter that his mind had made up out pure hope? Was that quirk of her lips implying what he hoped?
Apparently it was not as she continued happily, "We should go for a run together. I need the exercise too, this body is hard to adapt to in situations when running is needed." She gave him a hopeful look, "Come on, it will still be fresh air for you and might help you clear your thoughts. Give me a second to change and then we will go."
Obviously his approval of this plan was not needed as she went into the closet to change. Knowing that he would have to leave through the front door to tell his sisters where he was going and that Rukia would be waiting for him outside after climbing out his window, he left the house.
As they met up outside he barely glanced at her before starting to jog down the path leading away from his house, knowing that he did not want to see her in whatever revealing outfit she would have on for exercising purposes.
He set a pace that he knew she could keep up with but would still be a challenge and tried to keep from looking at her. He did not want to see her long legs running in tandem with him or her hair flowing unbound in the wind. He didn't want to hear the sound her soft breath puffing beside him or feel this sense of peace that always enveloped him from head to toe when he was near her.
But he did notice those things and could not seem to stop himself from it. However, already he was getting used to those feelings and beginning to accept them for what they were and meant.
Finally, when it starting to get dark and he knew it was getting close to time for dinner, he started back towards the house. Rukia followed him quietly, seemingly happy just to enjoy the fresh air and burn calories.
He walked up with her to the window before he started around for the front door. She turned around and looked up at him, instead of starting to climb through the window.
He thought right then, that for every inch that she was arousing to him; she was just as every inch adorable. Her cheeks were flushed from their run and her hair was ruffled from the wind. Looking down on her he could see the full sweep of her eyelashes and the delicate arch of her eyebrow.
Her eyes, so filled with emotion, so deep he felt would drown in their depths, narrowed on him with precision. She pressed another smile on him as he wondered if she always smiled this much or if he had simply never noticed before. "That was nice, Ichigo. We should do it more often."
He gave an imperceptible nod of his head to her statement and watched her climb inside his room.
He decided then that he would go insides, eat dinner, do his homework, read some manga, and then sleep. Then perhaps tomorrow when he saw her coming out of the closet again he could keep the drool from escaping his mouth and that emotion he didn't want to recognize buried deep within.
This was my first Bleach fic, so I'm not too sure about the characterizations, but all the same I hope you liked!