Part V: Awakened
Rating: PG-13 or T
Summary: Ichigo's seemingly perfect solution for a hot summer day backfires.
Author's Notes: Hi, everyone! We have finally reached that time; this will be the last chapter of Revelations. I have had a blast writing it and I would like to thank everybody who reviewed and was patient with my updates. School is finally finished and as soon as it was I whipped this out as thanks to everybody! Once again, thank you to everyone who has reviewed and inspired me!
Sometimes, Ichigo wondered if the fates were out to get him. Specifically him and only him. And by "get" him, he meant unexplainable and never-ending torture awaiting him around every corner.
Actually, he was beginning to wonder if right now he was either incredibly blessed or incredibly cursed. This, of course, depended on how one looked upon the situation.
Witnessing this… he wasn't really sure what to feel.
Rukia was eating an ice cream cone.
Well, he wasn't sure eating was the correct term. Facing the quickly melting, sticky scoop of coldness inside of a large waffle cone she had looked even more baffled then when confronted with a juice box (he still had to open those damn things for her).
After about 30 seconds of staring, she had apparently realized that if she didn't soon decide upon a method of eating, the entire thing would wind up in a puddle at her feet.
Rukia had then tried poking the sweet substance with her finger. It seemed she had quickly discovered two things, one; it was cold and two; it was much too like liquid to endure any more poking from her finger.
At this point, Ichigo was feeling pretty smug. It was very amusing to watch Rukia trying to eat an ice cream cone. He really loved watching her when she was met with new things from this modern era that were not in Soul Society. Hell, who couldn't figure out how to eat ice cream? Even toddlers walked around with these things without managing to look like a fool. Which is definitely what she looked like right now outside of the Ice Cream Shoppe: a fool.
Deciding to take pity on her and start eating his cone so she could watch him he quickly ordered his ice cream and walked outside and across the street to the empty park. It was incredibly sunny out, so he found a shady area under a large tree which left them secluded. School had finally ended, and ice cream had seemed like the perfect idea for such a hot afternoon but it would be hell to pay if any of his friends saw him out eating ice cream with Rukia, they would surely demand an explanation and then decide to grace him with their presence.
Looking at Rukia, still feeling amused at her expression when faced with this new test, he took a long lick of his vanilla cone. She was looking at him quite intently; ready to discover the solution to her eating challenge. She copied his movement, albeit at a slower pace, still looking unsure.
When Ichigo saw her pink tongue dart out to catch a melting bead of ice cream falling down the side of the cone, he immediately realized his mistake in bringing Rukia here. She was now licking her finger which she had inadvertently stuck in the ice cream while chasing the drop from earlier. She looked at him and smiled brightly, pleased with her triumph over her food.
Suddenly feeling a whole lot less enthusiastic for the licking and sucking of ice cream and much more in the mood for something else, Ichigo looked away embarrassed.
But embarrassment or not, he had to peek over at her. What normal teenage boy would not enjoy the sight of any attractive woman eating an ice cream cone? Sure, maybe some people would enjoy it more if she had even an inkling of sexual purpose to her movements, but perhaps her naïve innocence while eating was what he found so attractive.
She looked so carefree and even, average, that he was struck anew at how much he had grown attached to her. He knew things could not last forever like this, but what would he do when someday she was gone, and he was left with an empty closet and a gaping hole in his chest? Where would he be without her enthusiasm for modern technology, her constant support of him or even her mere presence which gave him an unexplainable feeling of peace?
Looking at her again, standing under the shade of a tree with a yellow sundress on and eating an ice cream cone, he felt an emotion so strong, so deeply embedded within him; he would have been scared if not for how right it felt.
Her mouth full of waffle cone, she looked at him in confusion. "This is good, why aren't you eating yours?" At least, that's what he thought she said, after all, she did have a mouth full of food.
He took another leisurely lick of his cone, "Don't talk with your mouth full." He smirked.
At that moment he was sure he would end up with ice cream in his hair, but apparently she liked the sweet confection too much to dump it on his head. Instead she was quickly finishing her ice cream and beginning to look at his intently. "What flavor is that one?"
Not in the mood for a battle over his ice cream he responded casually, "Vanilla."
"Is it good?"
"Well I'm eating it, aren't I?"
"Can I taste it?"
A pause. He was sure she was contemplating if it would be easier to beg or tackle him to the ground. "Please?" He was sure it must have been too hot for her to consider the physical work of tackling him.
Feeling almost challenging, Ichigo met her eyes and took a deliberately long lick of his ice cream, then extended the cone to her. Still maintaining eye contact, he wondered if she would accept it. Not sure, if she was tempted by the thought of more ice cream in a new flavor or if she simply felt the dare he was issuing her and refused to back down, he was not really surprised when she made up her mind.
She placed her hand on his wrist and guided the cone to her mouth and repeated his movements, smiling mischievously the whole while. A spark had flared between them and both refused to tamper it down. Unwilling to lose, Ichigo leaned down closer, so that she would not be forced to remove her hand, and took another bite, leaving the next move up to her.
Moments passed, full of cold pink tongues, sweet vanilla ice cream, and private secret glances, they finished the shared ice cream cone. Reluctant to disrupt the enjoyable moment, neither moved from their place under the shade of the trees, hands still linked together.
Occasionally, a light breeze flew by ruffling their hair and providing a cool relief from the hot sunny day. Finally, Rukia spoke, "I think yours tasted better than mine."
He grinned and spoke quietly, "Let me taste it again."
Slowly, he bent his head and covered her lips with his and pressed her into the tree while imprinting his body upon hers. Teasing her lips with his tongue, he tasted the sweet essence of Rukia mixed with the flavors of their ice cream. One hand was braced above her head and the other still interlocked with hers, Ichigo finally was able to experience what he had been thinking of for months. She was gradually responding to his kiss; understanding that though nothing was expected of her, they were sharing a mutual commitment that would bind them together.
Brief seconds later, Ichigo lifted his head. Barely a kiss, a more fleeting touch of lips and tongue, he spoke. "I think they tasted best together."
She smiled in understanding, silently agreeing.
Later, Ichigo knew that he would never do such a thing again. At least, not they way things were at this point. They had soon been interrupted by the need to dispatch of a hollow, but he knew when the fates decided to interrupt something it was usually for a good reason. Someday, perhaps if a relationship seemed feasible he could confess what he felt for her. That she had become someone precious to him, that without her, he wasn't sure he could meet his potential. That no matter who he met later in life, she would be the one person that was so incredibly right for him, but so impossibly far out of his reach.
He had accepted that long ago, that a relationship was impossible, intangible, but today when he had felt the emotions so strongly, he had been unable to resist the temptation of those eternal thoughts.
Reflecting, he knew it had been stupid, but he didn't care. He would treasure that moment forever, no matter the cost. No regrets and no fear. Despite the fact that truly, he had accepted they could never be, today had sparked something within him that nothing could ever deny.
I hope everybody enjoyed this! I know the timeline is a bit screwy because its summer and Rukia is obviously still there, but ignore that for the sake of this chapter. Please everyone let me know what you thought and thank you all again!