Summary: "We only have tonight, after all."
Rating: M (Some sexual situations and language )
Feedback: Sure. Advise me.
Spoilers: Definitely up to manga chapter 180-181. The anime isn't even there yet, so expect to be spoiled if you only watch the anime or if you haven't read manga translations up to those chapters mentioned above.
Disclaimer: 'Bleach' and the characters Kurosaki Ichigo and Kuchiki Rukia are creations from the fertile mind of Kubo Tite. This story is a work of fan fiction. I do not own, nor do I make any money from Bleach.
"I've decided to remain here."
Ichigo shouldn't have been surprised. Deep down, he suspected Rukia would choose to stay in Soul Society, it was her home; and after all, what did his world have to offer her? Nothing but a closet, some stolen clothes and their strange, occasionally adversarial relationship. No, he shouldn't have been surprised.
"Okay. That's good. If that's what you really want." Had he really said that? And with a smile, no less. But what else could he have said? Rukia wasn't part of his world. She was happy in Soul Society. And wasn't that, in the end, what he wanted for her? To be happy? Isn't that why he risked his life, and the lives of others, to save her? So she could live a happy life?
But why couldn't she live a happy life with me? That disturbing thought chased him back to the small private room he had been housed in while he recovered, courtesy of the 4th squad. He brooded for the rest of the afternoon, declining an invitation to attend an unofficial send-off party over in 11th squad's quarters later that evening. While the others celebrated their last night in Soul Society, he remained closeted in his room, alone and unhappy.
Kurosaki Ichigo had faced down Hollows and Shinigami captains, all with a cocky grin and unbreakable confidence, but he cowered in front of the idea that he most probably loved the short, irritating, yet strangely appealing Shinigami that had daintily stepped through his bedroom wall months earlier and completely taken over his life. Hell, it wasn't a probably. He was in love. And he hated it.
Later that night, he found himself pacing the floor of his borrowed room, scowling down at the well-scrubbed and slightly worn floorboards as though they had personally insulted him. He was too jumpy to sit still and he knew that he would be absolutely shitty company if he decided to go down to that party, so with nothing else to do, he paced and thought, and wondered how exactly he had ended up in this predicament.
When had his dislike of her turned into respect and admiration? When had respect and admiration turned into love? Why, out of all the people in the world, had he fallen for Kuchiki Rukia? Why was he such a fucking loser?
And why was that short, irritating and strangely appealing Shinigami that he, the fucking loser, loved knocking on his door?
"What?" He sounded annoyed, but that was normal enough. He ignored the way his heart sped up at the sound of her voice and viciously squashed any hopeful or romantic notions that ventured into his mind. She was probably just there to berate him for being rude and blowing off everyone in favor of his lonely room.
The rice-paper door slid open and she stepped in, turning her back for a moment to close it behind her.
He took the opportunity to admire the way she looked in the simple and elegant dark-purple embroidered kimono. But when she turned back to face him, he carefully schooled his face into an expression of bored indifference. "What?" he repeated.
"You weren't at the party. Renji and Zaraki-taichou were looking for you." She shook her head in exasperation. "Renji was saying something about you needing a tattoo, and I think Zaraki-taichou was hoping to challenge you to another fight before you leave tomorrow."
Ichigo snorted. "He's fucking nuts. There's no way I'm fighting him again."
"And I suppose you don't want a tattoo, either?"
"Don't be stupid. Why would I want to look like that asshole Renji? He looks like you drew all over him with one of your damn markers."
Rukia laughed, drawing a small, unwilling smile from Ichigo. When had the sound of her laughter had the power to make him smile? Dammit. Being at her mercy pissed him off.
"Did you come here to warn me?" He asked testily. "'Cause if that's all, consider your mission complete and leave me alone." He wanted her to leave him in peace. The sooner she left, the sooner he could begin to put this whole thing behind him.
The smile that had accompanied her laughter vanished. She suddenly appeared nervous, her small hands twisting the material of her kimono. "Ichigo…I didn't come here for that, I…I wanted to tell you…"
He didn't like the sound of her voice. She sounded…unsure, afraid almost. He could deal with her when she was angry or strident, when she called him a fool or an idiot. But he couldn't deal with the vulnerable thread in her voice; with the longing he thought he heard when she said his name.
He turned his back on her and stared hard at the wall. It was easier to act indifferent if he didn't have to look at her.
She didn't say anything further and the room descended into silence, except for the sound of her tabi-slippered feet as they padded towards him. He tensed, wondering what she was up to.
She suddenly appeared in front of him, her pale face determined. Before he could ask her what she was doing, she had her arms wrapped around him and her face buried in his chest.
He was so startled by her unexpected action that all he could do was stand there like a mannequin, completely unresponsive for what seemed like hours, but was probably only a few moments. Then, his resolve crumbled and he returned the embrace, resting his chin on the top of her head.
"What the hell are you doing, Rukia?" he asked quietly, his harsh words belied by the soft rumble of his voice.
"I want to remember how you feel." She whispered. "I want to memorize every part of you, Ichigo."
He frowned. Her words almost gave him hope, but the reality of their impossible situation kept him grounded.
He loosened his grip and pushed her away, focusing his eyes on a spot just above her head. "Don't be stupid." He said gruffly. "You don't know what you're saying. You're going to feel pretty dumb tomorrow, Rukia, so do us both a favor and go away."
He blinked and, in his surprise, looked down at her. "What?"
Her expression was grimly determined; her blue eyes glittered with anger.
"You heard me. You're a damn coward. You just want to run away, take the easy way out. What are you afraid of?"
He glared down at her. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Hah!" She poked him in the chest and returned his dark look. "Yes you fucking do. But you're afraid of getting hurt so you're pushing me away."
He grabbed her hand and his expression softened slightly. "Rukia, what's the point? I'm leaving tomorrow and you're staying here. We'll probably never see each other again, so what's the point of me telling you how I feel?"
She twisted her hand in his grip until she was able to twine their fingers together. "And how do you feel, Ichigo?"
He scowled and pulled his hand away. "It doesn't matter." He turned around and marched determinedly towards the door, deciding quickly that anywhere, even the 11th squad barracks were better than being where he was. So what if he would be bad company, so what if Zaraki challenged him to a fight or Renji forced him to get a tattoo? He would be safe from her if he were surrounded by people.
"Yes it does, you idiot. It does because…" she hesitated for a moment, but her determination soon won and she plunged ahead recklessly. "Because I love you." She bit her lower lip, her hands twisted together nervously. "And it scares me. But even though I'm terrified, I still can't deny that I…I love you."
He stopped dead in his tracks, his entire being radiating with tension. His hands curled into fists, knuckles white. "Are you sure?" he asked hoarsely. Could she honestly love him back? What the hell could she see in him except a bad temper and a big ego?
"Yes. I know it's stupid, and it doesn't make any sense, but, yes, I'm sure."
She blinked and suddenly he was in front of her, looking down at her with such a fierce expression that she paled further. "Ichigo?"
She was shaking, her blue eyes large in her white face. He studied her, looking for deceit or uncertainty, anything that might free him. But all he saw in her eyes was what he felt himself. "Shit." He muttered, his shoulders slumping in defeat. "Shit, shit, shit!"
"How terribly romantic." She had relaxed slightly at his outburst, and she cocked an eyebrow up at him, clearly amused rather than offended. She knew him well.
He couldn't help but smile a little at her sarcasm and she returned the favor, grinning up at him wickedly. And that sealed it for him. Before she could say or do anything else, he cradled her delicate face in his scarred and calloused hands and held her still as he lowered his mouth to hers.
Their first kiss was hesitant and brief, nothing more than a slight brushing of lips. But it was wonderful.
He pulled away and looked down at her, "Then why won't you go back with me, Rukia?"
She couldn't turn away because he still held her face gently in his hands. So, she looked up and him and sighed a little. "I can't. I'm not…I'm not like you. I don't have a place in your world; I don't even have a physical body there. I'd ask you to stay here with me, but you can't, either. Neither of us have a choice."
He dropped his hands and scowled. "There has to be something."
She shook her head. "There isn't. You know that." A thoughtful expression flitted across her face. "You know, this whole thing kind of reminds me of a manga I read."
He blinked, uncomprehending. "Manga?"
"Yes, it was rather interesting. I bought it as part of my assimilation program. It was called…" she paused and frowned, tapping one elegant finger against her chin as she thought. "Fuu-something. Fuugi Yushi? No, that's not right…"
"Fushigi Yuugi?" Ichigo asked, completely bemused.
"That's it!" She smacked her fist into her open palm in triumph. "The main couple was so in love, but all these things conspired against them…" her eyes got bright as she recalled the plot. "I can still remember them calling out to each other in anguish… 'Miaka!'… 'Tamahome!' It was very romantic."
"Rukia, please tell me you're not comparing our lives to a shojou manga." Ichigo said quietly.
"Well, obviously there are differences. We're not in medieval China, for instance. And you're not a money-obsessed peasant. And I am not a busty high-school student with strange hair. And Ishida isn't a homosexual cross-dresser with super strength, although maybe Chad could be, but I really can't see him in a dress…"
Trying to follow her train of thought was proving to be a bit of an impossibility for Ichigo, so he halted her musings with another kiss.
In direct contrast to the brief, almost chaste kiss they had shared earlier, this kiss was heated, and very involved. Because neither of them was very experienced with this sort of thing, it took a few fumbling tries before they got the hang of it, but once they did, nothing, not the appearance of a Menos Grande, not the wholesale destruction of Soul Society, could have distracted them.
Because he was so much taller than she, he had to bend down quite a bit to reach her mouth. She closed some distance by standing on her toes, but it still was a bit uncomfortable for him. His neck began to ache. He frowned slightly into their kiss, catching Rukia's attention.
She broke away from him. "What's wrong?" she asked, clearly concerned.
"You're too short." He replied crankily.
She made a face at him. "Maybe you're too tall."
He snorted and moved down to kiss her again, but she stopped him. "Hold on. I have an idea."
He watched, his eyebrows moving up into his hairline in surprise as she loosened the skirt of her kimono, folding back the material to expose her pale, shapely legs. And then, before he could ask her what her idea was, she jumped on him, wrapping those pale shapely legs around his waist. Startled, he almost fell over, but he wasn't a substitute shinigami for nothing, his reflexes kicked in and he was able to straighten up and hold on to her without further incident.
Their faces were level and Rukia grinned wickedly at him before she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him roughly.
"Is that better?" she asked after a moment, breaking their kiss long enough to trail her mouth over the line of his jaw.
"Much." He replied, nibbling on an earlobe when it came into reach.
"Good." She returned to his mouth, slipping her tongue inside to do battle with his.
One of his arms was hooked around her waist, holding her, but his other was free to do some exploring. Acting on instinct, he wedged his free hand between their bodies to palm one of her breasts, squeezing experimentally. She gasped into his mouth and squirmed against him, which elicited some rather pleasant feelings for both of them.
"Do that again." She whispered into his mouth.
He repeated the action and was rewarded with more pleasant squirming from the girl in his arms. He was rock-hard at this point and feeling that familiar mix of pleasure and pain, that need to sate his body, which, in the normal course of things, ended with his hand and a towel. He didn't think Rukia realized what she was doing, nor did he think either of them was ready to take things that far. Reluctantly, he unwound her from around his waist and set her back down onto her feet.
"What's wrong?" she asked, puzzled.
He looked down at her and felt something inside him tighten. She was adorably disheveled, her lips were swollen slightly, her kimono was twisted and askew and her hair was standing up in places. "I don't want to get carried away."
She cocked an eyebrow. "Why not?"
"Why?" He sputtered, looking down at her in confusion. "Because…well, because!" She was making it damn hard for him to be noble.
Comprehension lit her face and she studied him, her eyes raking down from his cherry-red face, down past his rumpled and slightly open kimono top to the rather noticeable bulge in his hakama. "Oh. I see."
He followed her line of sight, turned even redder and placed his hands defensively over himself. Apparently, she did know what she was doing to him, which both aroused and made him nervous. He had no experience with these things, he was a goddamned virgin.
"Ichigo, I've never done this before, either," she began, easing one of his worries, "but I'd like to, with you." To his relief, she blushed, making her seem less like some world-weary vixen intent on ravishing him. "We only have tonight, after all."
He blinked at her. She was right. In the morning, he and the others would leave Soul Society. And he would probably never see Rukia again. He could either be left with regret over 'what could have been', or he could have a taste of it and leave with some peace of mind. "Okay." He replied softly.
She smiled and grabbed his hand, using it to lead him to the unmade futon at the center of his room.
A/N: Well, I decided to attempt what is only my second (or third?) full-on lemon ever, with my two favorite characters from Bleach, Ichigo and Rukia. I'm not one of those authors who says, "My work is crap! I hate it!" (Then why post it, I wonder?) and I have to say that I actually like this story. I tried to put some humor into it, since Bleach often has some very funny stuff in it. I did blush and giggle a lot while writing and I tried to stay away from some of the more graphic/silly names for things. I don't know about you all, but words like 'nubbin', and 'globes' make me giggle and really just pull me straight out of a story.
Maybe I'm really just a 12 year old boy instead of a 25 year old woman. Honestly, I probably should have stopped giggling at those sorts of things years ago. Anyway, about the next chapter…since NC-17 is no longer posted here on good ol' fanfictiondotnet, I've posted the next part on my website and I've also posted it on adultfanfictiondotnet. There is a link to it on my profile. I'd love to hear what you think!