Disclaimer: Don't own it, just play with it.

A/N: I was just thinking about what Ichigo and Rukia talk about when they're not trying to kill each other, and my mind went nuts. Expect more of these.

She's been in his closet long enough for him to discern she's not a heavy sleeper. This unhappy fact has been drilled into his head via the objects she would hurl at it when he snored. She can hear him through the flippin' closet door. That's how light a sleeper she is.

She's also an early riser. About the time he's rolling over and scratching himself, she is usually emerging from the closet, glowing like a kitchen utensil that has been soaking in hot water and bleach.

So today, when he awoke, he was shocked to find she was still sleeping. The closet door was closed but he could hear her soft breathing. He hesitated a moment, this is the first time he has watched her sleep. She reminds him of Karin. Tiny, soft, peaceful when sleeping, but the moment those eyes open she will go back to being a holy terror. But it's getting late, and she'll have to get up if they're to get to school on time. So he reluctantly touches her shoulder. No response. "Rukia. It's morning." He shakes her a little. "You have to get up."

Her body goes completely rigid, and in a flash she whimpers and jumps, jerking away from his hand and pushing herself into the deepest corner of the closet. She whimpers again a little when she hits her head against the wall.

What the hell? "Rukia--" and then he gets a look at her face. And it's terrible, because he can see the apprehension etched on it and knows in an instant what's wrong, and he wants to laugh his ass off. But he suppresses that urge and strains to soften his voice. "You must have been sleeping hard," he says. She nods at him, eyes bleary. "Did you forget where you are?"

She blinks and nods with a little grunt.

"Are you okay? I didn't mean to scare you. I didn't know you were so damned skittish."

"I'm not skittish," she snaps, and slams the door in his face.

She's quiet for five minutes. Just long enough for him to run to the bathroom and get her some soap, water and a washcloth before Yuzu comes up to sound the breakfast warning.

"Does that happen often?" he asks.

"What?" Her voice is muffled as she drags the washcloth over her face.

"You wake up not knowing where you are. You seemed almost scared."

"It used to happen a lot," she says. "When I was younger I didn't always sleep in the same place."

"Why's that?"

"What's with the interrogation?"

"I was just curious."

She sighs and opens the door. Fully dressed, her hair a little messy, she sighs. "I didn't have a family. It was just me and a few other kids in the same situation. We moved around a lot because it was dangerous to be in one place for too long." He hands her Karin's hairbrush. "Thank you."

"Would people try to hurt you?"

"Yeah." She tilts her head away, brushing almost absentmindedly. She clearly doesn't want him looking at her eyes. So, he thinks, that's why she jumped. She doesn't need to tell him anything else.

"Well," he says, "just so you know. I have no problem with you sleeping in my closet and I'd never hit you."

She looks at him, and he can almost swear there's a smile trying to come out. "I knew that already, dumbass." That's why she can sleep so hard. She knows that here, annoying as he is, cramped as the closet can be, is the safest sleeping spot she has ever known.