Title: Wine Vintage
Date: September 1st, 2006.
Disclaimer: Bleach and its characters belong to Kubo Tite. Fanart from which the fic is based on belongs to fanartist (find fanartist at DA or LJ). Plot is mine.
Author's notes: This piece was inspired on fanartist's fan art found in the IchiRuki LJ Comm. I'm a big fan of her work and I sincerely think that this fan art in particular is extraordinary, from the colors and the shapes to the concept, and of course, it's IchiRuki! Also, the lesson of the day: Plot-bunnies are evil things that won't leave you as much as you try, even if you have tests coming up. This hasn't been properly proofread, so I apologize about typos and stuff… Enjoy!

The way her eyes are narrowing makes Ichigo shudder unconsciously; he doesn't know why, but there's something about it that bothers him. Rukia doesn't have any idea of how bright her eyes seem or how feline she looks when she does, even if she has a strange dislike for cats. She smiles slyly at him and he knows he is in for trouble. Whatever she has in mind will most likely end up with her having her way and with him doing something he will regret later. He feels like a fool because it is clear that he knows the routine, yet he never does anything to stop it.

She brushes her shoulder-length hair with her fingers as she walks towards him, the burgundy diamond of the ring in her right hand blinking as it reflects the light from the burning candles. Ichigo had given it to her a long time ago, too long to even remember when, as a sign of his loyalty to her. That time when it had been the beginning of it all… and she'd kept the ring and worn it every day to remind him of his duty and of the unwavering devotion he owed her.

There isn't any other piece of jewelry that stands out to him more than the ring other than the necklace she is wearing, the one that matches her outfit and that has been in her clan for centuries now. The dark mauve corset tightly encloses around her, enhancing every curve of her little body; the embroidered fabric working as some kind of sleeves that begin from the middle of her forearm give her a sophisticated and feminine touch; and below her waist, the long, silky skirt of maroon flows about her as she moves. The slit on the skirt is large enough to let him see glimpses of her legs, the straps of her sandals curling around her like ivy on an ancient Greek column. And her incredibly pale skin and her dark, dark hair glow under the candlelight, a touch of gold and shadows here and there that make her look almost… divine.

It's almost a shame she can't see how beautiful she looks. The mirror in the room is set there purely as a decoration piece while the oil paintings like the ones in the hall tend to lose face against the real thing. But on another hand, maybe it is best this way. If she knew, there would be no way to bring her down her cloud this time. It is hard as it is.

"Ichigo," she begins with that rich feminine voice that distinguishes her, giving him a coy grin that make bells ring warningly in his head. "Aren't you tired?"

He looks at her inquiringly, a bit rigid in his uniform and still wondering about her motives. "No, Ma'am…"

She pouts childishly, but the tone of her voice and the glint on her eyes betray the amusement she is feeling. "Oh, why are you so uptight, Ichigo?"

"I'm doing my job, that's all," he replies as he turns away from her and continues cleaning the wooden doors of her wardrobe; he'd been hoping to finish cleaning the main chamber before the mistress returned from her hunting. He quickly glances at her as he pretends to focus his attention on the task at hand and adds with an imperceptible snicker, "Ma'am."

Rukia looks positively peeved by his attitude. And he can tell by the way she moves impatiently across the room until she reaches him. Her hands instantly brush up his arms, an unsaid call of attention. When he doesn't stop what he is doing or shows any kind of acknowledgement to the hands now on top of his chest, Rukia fumes. "Look at me, Ichigo," she commands.

He does as told and arches his brow at him. "What do you want," he sounds rather indifferent, his voice low and husky; his lips curl into a now very visible smirk, "Rukia?"

There are some rules in the household that every servant follows blindly: to deeply respect the Mistress, to obey her every order, and most important of all, to never do something to displease her or anger her. Ichigo's tone isn't respectful at all and how he's spoken her name is a clear intent of teasing her. If he were any other of those serving in the mansion, he wouldn't even have the time to apologize. But he is different from the rest. Rukia is his mistress, and as such he is bound to follow her, but it doesn't end in simple servitude. From his being to his very soul, if he has got any left, every part of him belongs to her.

Ichigo is hers.

Rukia furrows her eyebrows together and scowls. "You are impossible," she sighs over-dramatically, one of the hands that had been resting on his chest flying to her temples for an added effect. "I don't know why I keep putting up with you…"

"Because you need me," The young man sounds so certain that it almost surprises her how sure he is about the matter. She thinks it's to be expected… But he is too cocky for his own good. He's been like that ever since they met. That was an extensive amount of time.

The grin appears on her face again, sly and tempting as usual. "Ah, is that so?"

He gazes down at her and carefully studies her face unabashedly; his fingers linger slightly as they brush her cheeks. With a grin as devious as hers, Ichigo stands on his ground. "You'd be a mess without me, Rukia," he answers with utmost confidence.

"Hm," she mumbles thoughtfully, and then she is on her tiptoes, kissing his jaw. His skin tingles were her lips touch him. She backs away and smiles warmly. "Perhaps you are right."

"Let's have some wine, alright?" She says as she walks over to the settee, her hips swaying as she does and his amber-eyes following every motion, and she sits on the large, red upholstered furniture. She crosses her legs and leans back, waiting.

Ichigo doesn't waste time and is already out of the room and going towards the wine cove. He comes back not too much later, carrying in one hand a bottle of the one he knew was her favorite red wine and two fine glass goblets in the other. There's a 'pop' sound and he has already uncapped the bottle of Merlot. He sits beside her and she snatches one of the cups.

"Please…" she laughs casually, raising her cup so he can serve her the wine, and purposely moves closer to him so their legs are touching.

Before he realizes it, her legs are already tangled up with his and then she's on his lap; but he doesn't pay heed to it. Instead he expertly pours her a cup of the finest wine from the cove. The scent of the alcohol wafts in the room and reaches his nostrils. He pours a second glass for himself, but waits until she drinks some of hers before tasting it himself.

The taste is bittersweet in her tongue, the frozen liquid on her lips somehow warm in her throat. Rukia sighs contentedly and leans against him. "It's cold," she states observantly, the small smile never leaves her face and the taste of the wine is still in her mouth. "Were you prepared for this?"

"I expected as much," he tells her, a lopsided grin on his handsome, age-less face, and he drinks of his own glass. He pulls off the feat of drinking all of the remaining wine in the goblet in less than four gulps. He places the goblet on the mahogany night table beside him. When it falls to his side, his hand ends up close to her thigh, just on the side of the slit; Rukia admits that he's got an impressive control of himself. "You know, I'm getting hungry…"

"Are you, now?" Rukia stares suspiciously at him. Her eyebrows arch up when he leans down towards her and captures her lips. His kiss is rough and careless, but passionate and it manages to make her insides churn. It's like having butterflies in the pit of your stomach, she recognizes before losing herself and she closes her eyes. She doesn't even worry if someone barges into the room as she undoes his tie and the top buttons of his white dress shirt. Droplets of red alcohol from her goblet stain the cushions that lay beside her as she clutches the glass strongly.

Ichigo grins amidst the kiss, lips still moving against hers fervently and possessively; it's a contradiction to their situation but neither of them bothers to think about it. He bares his fangs and bites her, causing her to moan. He sucks the trickling blood from her lower lip and breaks away. Fluttering her eyes open, she regards him silently just as he slowly licks the remaining blood on his lips. It makes her lick her own lips absentmindedly.

She shakes her head after regaining control and reproaches him, there's a teasing edge to her voice however, like it is usual in their banters. "What a sly creature you are…" Rukia brings the cup still in her hand to her mouth and takes a second swig. She gulps down the rest of the cup rather easily.

He leans against the back of the settee after removing his white gloves and getting completely rid of the scarf around his neck. Ichigo shuts his eyes close and shrugs absently at her remark. "You are the one who made me like this."

His words, nevertheless meaningless they are to him, do manage to silence her completely and make her stiffen. Ichigo only notices because the silence extends more than it should and he opens one eye to peer at her. The other eye follows the first as he finds the pale woman staring pensively at the glass of wine in her hands. He takes her goblet away from her grasp and puts it next to his on the night table. And so he reaches for her without even sparing a second to think about it.

"Hey, you idiot… What the hell are you thinking now, eh?" he whispers as his hand cups her chin and he brings her face closer. "Rukia…"

Ichigo drops a kiss on Rukia's lips again, but this time it's soft and painstakingly slow. Unlike before, she receives the kiss with some hesitation and responds the caress only after his arm wrap around her waist and the other around her shoulders so she is crushed in his embrace. Her small hands wrap around his neck, her fingers skimming through the masses of his orange hair as their kiss deepens. He nibbles her lower lip teasingly and after a while the gentleness changes into something fiercer and definitely more like him. They break away only when they feel the need of air.

"You taste like wine," he declares amused, eyes meeting hers straightforward. "But not enough…" He smirks boyishly at her one more time. Rukia thinks sarcastically that he's been particularly cheerful today. "Another glass?"

There are still a number of bottles stored in the cove. To creatures like them, the night is long.


September 28th, 2006. For the people who wondered about this (ale, had no way to contact you): Yes, both are vampires, and Ichigo is the "slave" since basically Rukia turned him into a one. Rukia regrets it in a way, but Ichigo doesn't blame her at all. Think about it, you could relate this to how Rukia turned him into a shinigami. Hope that helped explain things a bit :D

Extra tidbit: I know Merlot may sound over-used, but it is a wine that has berries mixed in. So... yeah...