On the subject of clothing...
Warnings: Mild cursing, entirely on Ichigo's part. Mention of nakedness. No spoilers.
Summary: Rukia crosses the line while taking practical matters into her own hands. Or maybe she's just being mischievous...
Kurosaki Ichigo backed into his room, pivoting at the threshold to push the door open with his hip. He let the heel of his sock-shorn foot swing the door shut again, handle clicking softly as he turned to face the open area. He balanced on his long fingers a tray of leftovers rather too neatly arranged for a midnight snack, clutching the rim of a glass of milk in his other hand. It was late evening, and he tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn as he entered the room. A busy day of Hollow-hunting and test-taking had worn him out. Good thing it was Friday; maybe he could sleep in a little...
Though a stranger might have thought his gaze was stern, Ichigo was actually quite relaxed and in a mild mood. That is, he was in a mild mood until his eyes fell upon the girl in the middle of his room. She had always been very good at catching him off guard, a feat that was growing more and more difficult for the world at large as he became more alert, protective, and on-edge in his role as a shinigami, and yet also seemed to become easier and easier for her as their time working together wore on. Now, however, it was neither her child-like lack of understanding of the simplest ways of the living world nor a sharp observation of an emotion he was sure he'd hidden deep inside that rocked him. This time, it was her clothes.
Or, to be more precise, his clothes. On her. She was standing in the middle of the room wearing his favorite shirt, a blue short-sleeved tee with the words "ARISTOTLE'S LANTERN" written on the front in English, blocky black and white lettering slightly jarring to the eyes in the orange street lamp light that filtered through the window.
Following him around constantly, asking stupid questions about blindingly obvious things like juice boxes, even sleeping in his closet he could deal with, but wearing his clothes? Wearing his favorite shirt? Somewhere, Rukia had crossed the line, the unspoken line that said only he should be allowed to wear his own goddamn clothes.
Ichigo opened his mouth to sputter angrily when he suddenly realized that the shirt wasn't the end of it. She was also wearing a pair of his boxers. They hung loosely from her slender hips, peaking out under the edge of his shirt somewhere near her knees. He blushed slightly and shut his mouth, settling on a glare that he hoped was frighteningly intense as he internally flailed about for words adequate to express his shocked discomfort.
Rukia's icy purple eyes were firm, unaffected. He never was very good at goading her with his glares. "Is there a problem?" she asked coolly, folding her arms across her chest. Despite her small stature, she was formidable with her confident pose and severe face.
You're wearing my boxers! was the only thought in Ichigo's mind, running over and over again like a wheel in a rut. My boxers! Maybe he'd believe it after an hour or so of such repetition.
Rukia, however, was not patient enough to wait for things to finally click inside his thick skull. "You could at least knock" she observed, stern facade unbroken.
"You know I can't do that, idiot" he said sharply, relieved to grasp the less shocking topic, a topic at which he could easily snap a response. "It would look stupid if I were to knock on my own door. Anyway," he said suddenly, brushing past all that as if he had just now remembered something important, "why are you -"
Two can play at that game. "Turn on the light, at least," she cut across him.
Ichigo ignored her command and pressed on. "Rukia, why the hell are you wearing my clothes?" he asked angrily, with a hint of confused desperation seeping in. He wanted to take a stand firm right there, to finally draw the line about some part of his life where she could not go and would not fit. She was so good at blowing past every other one of his barriers.
"My school uniform keeps getting torn and stained at work." It was how they referred to Hollow-hunting when in public, when there was the possibility of eavesdroppers. "And I," here, she hesitated for a moment, and her cool gaze faltered. Glancing downward, she added, "...I didn't think it was fair to your sister that I keep ruining her clothing and having to take more.
"So," she continued, turning around lightly to face the closet, suddenly aloof, "unless you want to go shopping for a new school uniform, a girl's uniform, just shut up about it." Over her shoulder, she smiled a smile that was far from innocent as she reached to open compartment's sliding door.
Ichigo was again at a loss for words. It wasn't that she didn't have a point; constantly stealing clothes from Yuzu was unkind and was beginning to become too obvious. And where Rukia had managed to get the school's uniform, he had no idea, but he knew it was going to be difficult to find a replacement when this one became too obviously worn. He sure as hell didn't want to go shopping with her, that was for sure. But none of that justified crossing the line. It was his favorite shirt! And his boxers? That was just plain weird. He wore those – she was now – those things were - her skin was touching where -
Never mind. Ichigo shivered slightly and mounted his attack, though as the words came out of his mouth, they sounded a lot more like a desperate defense. "Rukia, that's my favorite shirt, dammit! You'll just rough up that up too if you're wearing it. What if we get an order?" he asked, exasperation coloring his explanation. "You won't have time to change and I am trying to keep at least some of my clothing free of Hollow blood, in case you hadn't noticed" he added acidly.
She turned and gave him an odd, calculating look. It wasn't quite like any he'd ever seen on her before, and he didn't like it one bit.
"Hell, Rukia, you're wearing my boxers," he said, gritting his teeth, "my underwear." Couldn't she see the problem with this?
"Then you think I should continue to take your sister's clothing?" she asked, as if it were the dumbest idea she'd ever heard.
"Of course not!" Why me? he asked silently, not for the first time since their lives had collided.
"So I should wear that uniform around all the time."
"Well, no," he said stupidly. That would be weird, too. Still, better than his clothes -
"Then you're proposing that I walk around naked?"
"WHAT?" he bellowed. "No! Just get those things off and change for now, we can buy you more clothes later. Just – just don't wear my clothes."
"Oh-ho, so you want me to take this off, then?" she asked, half-teasingly. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Ichigo registered that her tone had totally changed.
"That's what I've been saying the whole time!" He roared. Finally! he thought, glad to have gotten through her stubborn skull at last. She could have the most annoying attitude when she -
Rukia smirked. It took Ichigo roughly two seconds to realize what he had just done.
Panic set in only a heartbeat later.