disclaimer I don't own Bleach

pairings IchigoRukia, if that's how you want to look at it. I wrote it that way, so…

timeline After they arrive in Soul Society. Not long after though.

notes Yeah. My first attempt at first-person. This is why I don't write it often. My first attempt at an Ichigo introspective.

Really shouldn't mix the two, eh?

But yeah, today I was just like, hey, I want to write in an Ichigo kind of way. Behold my masterpiece (i.e. crap) And I really think I bastardized him. Really. I'm so sorry Ichigo!

warnings Swearing, 'cause Ichigo's just like that. Run-on sentences, because we're (I'm) just like that. References to manga. Slight Ishida-bashing, but please don't take offence since I really like the guy. Its just Ichigo that doesn't. And horrible-ness in general. Proof of why I should never try two new things at once.

Oh. And a recurring double-entendre.

Capture the Flag

I don't even know why I'm doing this.

I mean, fuck, running around and getting hit by a bunch of gi-wearing old-timers (and the occasional few that look younger than Yuzu for chrissakes, speaking of things that freak me out) chasing you with sword-things bigger than you, isn't fun.

Neither is getting one of those hugeass swords stuck in your side for a bit, or if not a sword wound, some other type of voodoo "spirit magic" (or whatever—not like I was listening to her babble that night, since my arms were stuck!) wound, which, through bitter, bitter—and by bitter, I mean even more so than Mizuru dragging me and Keigo and Chad (Chad of all people!) along on a date to meet his girlfriend because she had three younger sisters she wanted to introduce us to, and having to endure Keigo's heart eyes without punching the poor guy out—experience I know actually seems to burn the flesh.

Trust me. It hurts like a bitch.

And don't give me an expression with you rolling your eyes like yeah, we know. We have read the manga, because you don't know.

Let's see you get a barbed (And how the fuck did it change like that anyways? I mean, one second, it was just like, oh, okay, now I'm up against a pansy who names his sword, coughcough—and asked me what mine was named, like, dude, I don't swing that way, sorry, better ask Ishida, and the next it was like, Bam! What the fuck? You know?) sword stuck in your shoulder, and shinigami or no, it fucking hurt, and it wasn't like Rukia was around to fix that one—wasn't like she was around at all.

And that was a perfectly good excuse for me to sit back and say, you know what, sandal-hat? You know what, pansy archer, Inoue, and Chad and whoever else wants to look at me like I've killed the family dog? I'm not gonna do this anymore. My swords busted (and if Keigo were here, he'd have a field day with that one, which makes me wince just thinking about it, and his jokes wouldn't even need to be that clever, since I basically handed it to him on a plate—and is it too late to take that back?) my shoulder's shot to hell, I can't even sit up, so let's just call it a day, okay?

And who would blame me, right? I'm fifteen, for all of my Mr. Tough-Guy Act (which, if anyone asks, is not an act) and alive (for all of that Tatsuki insisting I'm more rock than flesh) and being a shinigami-slayer person was never my forte. Like I ever asked for these spirit things to show up. Like I ever asked for my mom—but I'm getting sidetracked. And she was right that day. For once. About mom.

And after I found out that being shinigami meant you had to belong to some secret club-type thing (called Soul Society, I mean, when I first heard that, it should have tipped me off) where you had to name your sword, be faster than heck, and get weird eyebrow tattoos, (and I bet there's a secret handshake I don't know about as well. I mean, lookit them. Sure, they're stronger than me, but they also look the type, to you know, talk more to their sword than to other shinigami-people. And were those Sakura blossoms floating around that one dude?) I shoulda been outta it even more.

Dressing like that was never my thing.

But basically, after I faint, drowning in a pool of my own blood, I wake up—aching like hell—and my first thought is: Why didn't Rukia do her healing-thing?

And who do I see but sandal-hat, sitting by my bed like some kinda nurse, grinning all creepy.

And my side aches, and my body hurts, and I just wanna give up, but then Rukia's gone, and that idiot—I'm pretty sure he had a name…Ren-something…or was it Ken?—saying that they were gonna kill her for saving me, and that she ran because she didn't want to hurt me and—

Dammit Rukia. Isn't the guy supposed to protect the girl? What am I, Ishida?

And I still don't know why I'm doing this, running around with a bunch of weirdos from my class (Not Chad, Chad's okay, pretty decent to have by my back in a fight, and Inoue's okay too, come to think of it. Okay by "weirdo's", I just meant the archer. And not even Tatsuki's here, and she's the one always bragging about how good she was in karate) in a place that freaks you out by just being there, since you know that everyone you meet has already died.

I still don't know why, only when I woke up that day (what? Only a few weeks ago?) and Mr. Sandal-hat was grinning his creepy grin, and I remembered that Rukia was gone—and I was ready to punch that weirdo now, punch him, or make him promise to never be by my bedside when I woke again—does he want me to die young?—something in me hurt. It hurt even more than that stupid wound. It hurt in my heart, and I know for sure that I wasn't hit in the heart, or I would be dead.

And the creepy old guy said to me, "Rukia's gone." And he looked like he couldn't care less, and suddenly I was past the negotiation phase with him, and I woulda beat him up, too, if it weren't for the fact that, hey, I can't move right now. And the fact that even though his eyes were shadowed—like my grandma always said that if you make a face too long, it'll stick that way, so maybe if you wear a hat too long…—I could see the faintest glimmer of worry.

His grin widened, and he said, "You're going to rescue her." And in his smile it promised me multitudes of pain and agony and perhaps even death, depending on how I answered.

And then, somehow, I knew. I knew that I would get her back. Even if I had to take on those crazy dead guys again. Even if I had to name my sword. Even if—

Even if I had to die.

Which doesn't really explain why I'm rescuing a girl that complained about everything from food (but why is it cold, you bastard?) to clothing (but what good does a "uniform" do?). A girl that I didn't even realize I missed until I woke up cut and bleeding and my first thoughts were about her, and how much she would enjoy this if she were here, me all tied up enough for her to give me a proper lecture on duty and other such crap.

But it could explain why I said to sandal-hat without hesitation, "I'm going to rescue her."


Not that I'm going because I want to see her face again, to see her smile again.