Author's Notes: Standard Disclaimer applied for every chapter. Bleach belongs to Kubotite, not me. This is a Bleach AU, so additional characteristics may be added to canon characters. I will try my best not to make them OOC. Note: Most of them are a few years older for my convenience. Rated for language.
He hated his current job. There were long hours which stretched into the night at times, if business was good. Lately, the bar had become livelier, with a new management and a new name. Not to mention that the new owner had an extremely attractive body, complete with wavy blond hair. But that was beside the point. He hated the job because the pay was low, the hours were erratic, and no one wanted to see a male bartender when Matsumoto Rangiku was available. But then again, he hated the state he was in, he hated his hair, and he hated the fact that he hadn't achieved much in the twenty-one years he'd spent in this world. Overall, Kurosaki Ichigo hated his entire life, from the day he was born to the day he was mixing cocktails for a bunch of perverted old men ogling at his employer, who seemed to enjoy all the attention.
He hated the fact that his father had brought him up single-handedly because his mother had been run over by a car to save him. He hated the way nobody blamed him for her death and continued living their fucking lives, as though nothing had happened. But most of all, he hated himself for leaving his family because of some stupid reason he can't remember, and getting himself into all sorts of shit, be it drugs, guns or sex. And ended up with absolutely nothing except the bandaging skills his father (who was a doctor) had taught him at a tender age, and the unusual ability to wield a gun.
Kurosaki Ichigo never would have thought that his bandaging skills would come to use around sixteen years later, and for someone he didn't even know.
It'd been one of those late nights with Rangiku calculating the day's profit and chuckling to herself as he stepped out of the bar with his daily pay of a meager ten bucks (depended on the business rate), into the freezing outside. The only difference was, instead of just the occasional meow of a stray cat as he walked down the pavement lined with flickering streetlights, he heard a loud screech of a car turning at a sharp point and a few gunshots, shortly followed by a puny figure plummeting straight into his chest, head first. They dove (or rather, the figure pushed him) into a small, unnoticeable alley, and hid there, not daring to breathe until the sound of many pairs of clicking leather shoes faded away.
The figure turned limp and slumped down onto the ground in front of Ichigo, breathing heavily. Before long, all life had gone out of the body.
Once, twice, he contemplated. Sighing and knowing he would kick himself for it later, he picked up the wounded person and made his way to his apartment as inconspicuously as possible.
Lights were turned on; the figure was placed on his bed. He examined the face rather intently, under the light.
The person was a female and a rather good-looking one actually. She wasn't hot like Rangiku with her overwhelming assets, but her pale face lined with dark features had a certain quality to it, which made Ichigo want to just keep on staring, on and on. Tangled but somewhat shiny jet black hair lay as a curtain on his white bedsheets, creating a stark contrast in colours. Her limbs were small but seemed strong enough, despite the fact that they were bleeding in the moment.
Dust was blown off the first aid kit, and Ichigo set to work. He grimaced as he thought of the grueling process of scrubbing the blood off his white sheets; nevertheless, he tried his best to dress her wounds properly, just as his father had instructed him to do. Then came the more embarrassing task, in which he was made to peel off her soiled clothing in order to bandage her upper torso.
The entire process took around two to three hours, and by the time he was done, sweat was beginning to form on his brow. Tiredly, he collapsed onto the bed, taking care to leave a space of at least 10 centimeters between the female and himself.
It was amusing, really, how the two of them woke up at approximately the same time, the space that Ichigo had taken care to leave clearly bridged. In simple terms, it meant that he had his arms around her waist and their noses were almost touching.
For a girl of her size, she sure had strong lungs. He was definite that the entire block of apartments had heard her screech.
When she had somewhat regained her composure, she began tugging at the shirt and shorts she was currently swimming in, and scowled at him with all the venom she could manage. Clearly, she wasn't happy about him changing her clothes for her.
"I didn't see anything," Ichigo mumbled, still half asleep.
A quick movement and he found himself on the floor.
"Fuck you," she spat, reaching for the gun she usually kept strapped onto her thigh, which he had so unfortunately removed.
"No thanks," he replied, rubbing the cheek that she had just slapped. "That stung," he added, rubbing more vigorously.
"Good," the girl said, scanning the room for her weapon and clothing, finding only a clump of bloody cotton and denim in the bin.
"You should treat your savior with more care and respect," he retorted, pulling the gun out of under his pillow and waving it in front of her face. She snatched it away a little less violently than intended. Savior? She looked down at her neatly bandaged wounds. Savior indeed.
It was at that moment that Ichigo's ever-so-friendly neighbor from next door decided to pay a visit to see what the din was about.
"Ichii!" yelled a shrill voice as a pink thing bounded into the room (his door had been left unlocked) and crashed into the orange-haired male, grinning rather maliciously (in his opinion).
"Bad, bad Ichii is bringing women back to his house," the pink thing which turned out to be a hyperactive kid said, eyeing the astonished female, who was currently pointing her gun at Ichigo.
"Ken-chan would find this amusing!" the kid yelled as Ichigo pushed her out of his apartment and locked the door. There'd been enough noise for a Saturday morning.
"Who was that?" the pale-faced girl asked, lowering her weapon. This guy didn't seem so dangerous, if kids like that pink-haired girl could be around him with ease.
Ichigo sighed and frowned. "Her name is Yachiru, and she lives next door with a guy called Kenpachi."
A kid and a guy? Her father perhaps.
"What's your name? I can't keep calling you with "oi". Besides, you owe me something for saving your life," Ichigo interrupted her thoughts. He was surprised by her quick answer.
"I'm Rukia, Who're you?"
"Ichigo. Kurosaki Ichigo."
"My sentiments exactly about yours."
It was going to be a long day.
To be continued.
To readers: That was long, for me at least. Basically, this AU aims not to include supernatural or fantasy elements, because canon!Bleach already contains enough of that. Explanation for the people chasing Rukia will come soon. The story is called Whiteout because I couldn't think of another term that had roughly the same meaning as Bleach. Please review!