Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Notes: Inspired by a post in the ichi-ruki LJ community about how the bed in Karin and Yuzu's room disappeared when Ichigo did. Set around 223, but it's slightly AU, I guess. (Edited 7/8/10 to fix errors and a few other things.)
Rukia sat on the edge of Karin's desk and watched the two girls sleep. Yuzu had crawled into Karin's bed after an hour of tossing and turning. Rukia had been on the floor then, sitting cross-legged with a random magazine in her lap, reading in the moonlight.
Isshin had taken her bed out of the room earlier that day, saying he needed it back. When Rukia had asked where she was supposed to sleep, Isshin made a comment about how there would be another empty bed in the house that night, and patted her head. Rukia hadn't been sure what he had meant by that, and as she perched on Karin's desk, she wondered if he meant Yuzu's bed. But he couldn't really know that Yuzu would curl up in Karin's bed, could he? He didn't seem like a guy who would know those sorts of things.
Rukia hopped off the desk and left the room, closing the door quietly behind her and walking down the hall. The door to Ichigo's room was shut, and she pressed her forehead against it before opening it. The room was empty, of course, as was the bed, but Rukia felt compelled to check, even if she couldn't sense Ichigo's reiatsu there (or anywhere, really).
Rukia rubbed her hands together and shut the door behind her. If she hadn't known that this was Ichigo's room, she would have guessed it to be a guest room. It looked so bare. Yuzu must have come through here earlier while Rukia was still out, looking for Ichigo. She had been in there that morning, trying to think of where Ichigo could have gone, using the traces of reiatsu she could find in the various things in the room. She'd had to give up to go to school; she knew there was a very slim possibility that he would be there that day, and tried not to think about it too much on the way there. Even so, it couldn't stop the disappointment that had welled up when she found him to be absent. Rukia left during lunch and wandered around the city for hours until she finally gave into her gigai's tiredness and retired to the Kurosaki home.
Rukia's thoughts went back to Isshin when she made note that Ichigo's bed was empty, but why wouldn't it be, considering the fact that he was gone? Isshin constantly made her head boggle with his wild randomness, and the adopted-noble in her wanted to scoff at him, but she found herself laughing more often than not, even as his children rolled their eyes. But there was also something about him, something that she couldn't place; something that didn't seem right, all things considered. She decided not to ponder over it at the moment, and idly wondered how her brother was as she walked over to Ichigo's bed.
The pillow was cool under her palm; for some reason, Rukia had expected it to be warm. Maybe because everything Ichigo touched felt warm to her, somehow. She shook her head and sat on the bed. The covers were tucked in tightly, and she plucked at them for a moment before pulling them back. The moon wasn't shining as brightly into Ichigo's room as it did in Karin and Yuzu's; she couldn't really tell, but she thought she saw an indentation in the mattress from the countless nights Ichigo had slept in it.
Rukia looked around the room, expecting Isshin to jump out from somewhere, or Ichigo to barge in and yell at her to get off his bed. Nothing happened, so she slid between the covers, right in the middle of the indentation. It wasn't a cold night, but Rukia still pulled the sheets up to her chin. She felt calm, calmer than she could remember being in a long time. The sheets smelled like him, a smell that she couldn't describe other than saying it was Ichigo. She burrowed deeper into the sheets and dozed off, peaceful for the first time that day.
Ichigo trudged down the street, squinting into the darkness. He was tired, so tired, and he ached. Hirako offered to heal him up a bit, but Ichigo knew there must have been an ulterior motive and declined, stumbling out of the abandoned warehouse where the Vaizards appeared to live.
Ichigo had stopped bleeding shortly after he left, but everything still hurt. All he could really think about at the moment, however, was going home and curling up in bed for awhile. He could skip school tomorrow and have Rukia heal his wounds, right?
Ichigo paused for a moment. Oh, yeah. She'd probably be pretty pissed at him for leaving without telling her, and then coming back like he was.
Ichigo reached the front door to the clinic and leaned against it. Maybe she'd take pity on him after yelling at him and heal him up. He ruled out just going over to Orihime's apartment and asking her to do it. After all, he was so close to his bed, and that was the only thing he wanted currently.
Somehow he wasn't attacked by his father as he went up to his room. Ichigo shut the door quietly and turned around. Something seemed different in the room. It was cleaner than he remembered, but Yuzu had probably come through here a few times while he was gone. However, that wasn't what was nagging at his consciousness.
His bed. There was someone in his bed.
Ichigo felt anger rising up, but pushed it down after a moment. He was too tired to get angry, and his side throbbed harshly before he had pushed the feelings down.
Ichigo stumbled over to the bed and shut his eyes as the room spun. Who would have known that triumphing over his Hollow would have left him in so much pain? He leaned against his desk chair and looked down at the figure in his bed. She was facing away from him, on her right side. He expected that it would have been Yuzu, but the person had dark hair. Was Karin in his bed? Well, that was unexpected. . . .
Rukia turned over in the bed onto her back. She blinked a few times, wondering what had woken her up before she noticed someone leaning against the desk. She sat up quickly and opened her mouth to explain to whoever it was why she was in Ichigo's bed when she noticed the person had very, very bright hair, even in the darkness.
" . . . Ichigo!" Rukia whispered. She was too surprised to say anything more. He looked terrible. His shirt was almost completely stained with blood, and one side of his face was covered in it. She gripped the sheets as they looked at each other for a few long moments.
"Oi. Get the hell out of my bed," Ichigo said gruffly, and Rukia dropped the sheets at how horrible he sounded.
"Ichigo . . . what happened?" Her mind raced, trying to figure out what could have happened that would have done this to him. If he had gotten attacked by the Arrancar, one of the other Shinigami would have informed her if she hadn't already sensed it herself. He hadn't been at Urahara's training, because she had checked there first. Wait . . . did it have something to do with his Hollow? "Did you -"
"I said get out of my bed," he repeated, cutting her off. And, without another word, he collapsed right into Rukia's lap. Her mouth dropped open in surprise; she grabbed and shook him, but he didn't wake up. She sighed and hauled him up next to her, starting to clean him up and heal his wounds.
Ichigo woke up feeling much better than he had before he passed out. He sat up and started to stretch, but was knocked back down from a punch to the left side of his face. "What the hell?" He cried, rubbing his cheek. He looked up to find Rukia at the end of his bed, glaring at him. She had dark circles under her eyes and she was wringing her hands. "What the hell did you do that for?" He grumbled, sitting up again.
"For leaving without telling me and coming back how you were," she responded, punctuating it with a long yawn. "And then collapsing on me." She slumped a bit after that, and Ichigo realized that it was very dark in the room.
"What time is it?" Could he have slept through the whole day before without waking up?
"Around four," she responded vaguely, pausing before crawling up next to him and flopping down.
"What are you doing?" He asked her, yawning and finding that he was still very tired.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm too tired to go back to your sisters' room. And you owe me." She settled herself against the wall and pulled the covers up over herself.
"Owe you for what?" Rukia gave him such a dark glare that he decided he really didn't need to know right away. "Well, I'm not leaving, either." Rukia didn't answer him, just shut her eyes and pushed her hands under her head for a pillow, since Ichigo had his behind him. He stared at her, expecting her to jump up and hit him again or do something else, but she seemed to have fallen asleep already. He leaned back and looked over at his clock. Just after four, like she had said.
Ichigo reached behind his head and grabbed the pillow, carefully pulling Rukia's hands out from under her head and replacing them with it. She appeared to still be asleep, but when Ichigo turned over and shut his eyes, she opened hers and smiled at his back before dozing off again.