Title: First Time
Rating: PG
Pairing: Ichigo/Orihime
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue
Summary: Orihime tastes like a lot of things.

The first time they kiss, Ichigo is taken by surprise.

He's bleeding and filthy, and every ounce of him burns with pain and anxiety and something that hurts the roots of his hair to the jagged edges of his toenails. His heart is thrashing in the pit of his stomach, reaching out desperately for something, anything to raise itself back to his chest.

Before he possibly can muster the energy to collapse, Inoue stands before him, and maybe she's been crying, because her eyes are red and bloodshot and she's heaving something fierce.

She works her magic, those tiny fairies that in some way really suit her, till his pain is bearable, and the blood trickles slowly from her open mouth. Inoue lurches forward, body heaving as he feels her heart pound against his own, and very suddenly, almost too suddenly for his head to process, her lips are on his own.

Something tastes salty and metallic, and he can't quite decide if it's her or him, but something in him desperately hopes that it isn't the girl before him. Somewhere past it all, she tastes like ice cream and octopus and Tabasco sauce, and maybe a hint of the cherry lip-gloss that Rukia steals from Yuzu.

Inoue tastes like sadness. Like heartbreak and misery and the anguish of a thousand lives, and maybe some of this sadness is for him. For Tatsuki, Rukia, Chad and Ishida. For the homeless children she sees on the news, the animals she hears are in testing facilities, the stranger's bitter grandmother, dying in the hospital's cancer clinic.

She tastes sweet, like some sort of tainted innocence. Broken head and heart and soul. His own heart is swelling as her tender, cracked lips press harder against his own, her body pressing achingly close.

She tastes like desperate, heart breaking loneliness that burns Ichigo in a way that hurts far more than his wounds did before Orihime arrived. But maybe, he thinks, this pain wouldn't be too bad to feel on a regular basis, but only if he feels it with her.

She tastes like salt and agony and innocence and loneliness, and he hopes that this kiss never ends, because he isn't good with words, and he isn't sure exactly what he'd say.

She tastes like undying loyalty.

But most of all, she tastes purely like her, baggage and shadows and the whole beautiful everything that Ichigo saw the moment she walked through the clinic door, the brother twice her size on her back. She tastes like all the things Ichigo has always wanted to tell her, but the best he can hope is that she can, in turn, taste all of his demons and fears and desperate hopes.

He hopes she can taste all the things he's never been able to tell her.

When the kiss breaks, she stares in shock, cheeks flushed and eyes wide and she stutters out some apology, that he prays means as little to her as it does to him.

Ichigo's never been good with words, so he grasps her shaking hand in his, and kisses her again.