AN: Set in the pre-Soul Society time. Some oneshot I felt like writing while studying. I won't tell you the inspiration though. Hahaha.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach

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Holding Her Hair

- - -

It had to be something she had eaten. Well, it was either that, or her gigai was malfunctioning like mad.

But in the time she had been on Earth, this type of feeling had never hit her before. It actually hadn't hit her at all, actually. In Soul Society this weird, oozy, unpleasant feeling in her stomach never existed.

It definitely had to be something she had eaten.

- - -

Rukia had decided to grow her hair longer. It wasn't that she didn't like her old hairstyle – it was convenient, at times, but here on earth, the only hollows that came around were usually weak ones.

Weak ones, and Ichigo was with her most of the time, so she didn't really need to be fighting. She was a bit gloomy, because she couldn't fight much, but she decided to make the most of it, and grow her hair out a bit longer.

When she had told Ichigo, he merely shrugged. As if he cared. He knew she trimmed it once a week, or once every two weeks – as she told him that her hair grew fast.

That had been a few months ago. Her hair was now just around shoulder length.

She decided she liked it, swinging her hair this way and that.

Problem was, she did it all the time, and Ichigo had a few verbal outbursts about the particular matter. It wasn't that he hated the sight of her flipping her hair around – even though it was somewhat un-Rukiaish – but she was attracting unwanted stares.

Unwanted in his point of view anyway. Too many lecherous guys in the streets these days, openly gaping at his Rukia. It didn't really help that her hair was, well, nice. And this he kept to himself, but not his fists, which made the acquaintance of a few guys each day. Some were the same guy, however – like Keigo.

After much deliberating, and days spent musing about the problem, he decided to put it to her straight. So, whilst alone in the house one night, with Rukia reading her educational books also known as manga, and Ichigo on his bed, trying to do his homework, he "put it to her straight".

It went something like this:

"Oi, Rukia."

"What?"

"Cut your hair."

"No."

End of conversation. Rukia went back to her manga, if she had ever left it, and Ichigo grumped to himself, but continued with his homework.

Lately, she had been gaining a few more power points on him. Either that, or Ichigo himself was getting slack. Usually he was as stubborn as an ox, or was that donkey? Or 'ass' as Rukia would put it, and burst into laughter, which he would find humiliating, but cover it up by yelling back at her.

- - -

Eventually, he got used to the new tradition, or cycle, which would begin with them walking to school.

Before, when she had short hair, she used to walk to school alone, and early. But now, she waited for him outside their house. It was all because one day, just one day. She had newly discovered the art of 'flicking' and was flicking her hair this way and that, enjoying the feel.

Apparently, so did some early morning hoodlums. She fought them, obviously. And won, of course. But after that, Ichigo never allowed her to walk to school alone.

Oh, she had complained at the start, telling him that she didn't need him to walk with her everywhere, also telling him that even if he was there he couldn't do much, which she knew wasn't true, but it was just fun seeing his reaction.

They had fought the whole time walking to school, but sure enough, the next morning, she was waiting outside of their house (only after jumping out of his window).

Amazing what Ichigo would wake up early for.

So, their cycle.

Walking to school, fighting, Rukia still flicking her hair, Ichigo taking out his anger on various males that were staring etcetera, etcetera.

It was like this one the way home, as well.

- - -

Today was different, though. Something was missing. Oh sure, they were still walking home from school, but there was silence. So that meant, no fighting. Rukia wasn't flicking her hair, which meant there were no guys around, which also meant that Ichigo wasn't brutalising the common (perverted) citizens of Karakura.

Something was definitely wrong.

"My stomach hurts, Ichigo."

The last time she said something like this, it was to trick a teacher into letting her "use the bathroom", but really, she just wanted to oversee Ichigo fight a bigger hollow than usual.

But this time, her voice sounded a tad shaky, and slightly softer as well. Like she was actually sick.

Panic held Ichigo for a few seconds, but he covered it up with his usual mask. His words, however, betrayed him.

"Tch. It was probably something you ate, idiot."

"Mm…" came the weak reply.

Rukia knelt down, and Ichigo nearly stepped on her.

"What are you doing, idiot?"

She said nothing, but stared at the ground. The pain in her stomach did not subside.

'Jeez', she heard him say, and then, felt herself being lifted away from the ground. She returned the words he had spoken just a second ago.

She heard him say something about getting home quicker, and grinned, in spite of her pain.

- - -

"Ichigo."

"What?"

He looked down at her. She looked so fragile, so weak. Though, he could see past these things already. She could kick like hell.

"Stop."

Obediently, he halted, and let her down carefully. She knelt down, staring at the ground, her black hair covering her face.

"I feel –"

She didn't get to say what she felt – it was more like a demonstration of how she felt.

She felt her stomach heave, and felt the bile rising in her throat.

Three times.

She vomited three times. The first time she threw up, she expected to hear a sarcastic comment from Ichigo, but he knelt down next to her, and gently held her hair.

She looked at him gratefully, and he continued to hold her hair until she had vomited out her stomach's contents. There was no words of disgust or sarcasm, just him kneeling next to her in silence.

She didn't know why, but she felt that he shouldn't be seeing her like this. She probably looked horrible. She would have to repay him, somehow.

- - -

She kissed him later that night. She had prepared for this; washing out her mouth a thousand times, and staring at herself in the mirror for hours. Practicing what she would say. Wondering if she looked alright.

Breathing in deeply, she marched up to him where he was on his bed studying.

A 'thank-you', she said, before leaning in to give him a short kiss.

He hadn't resisted, of course, and while his hands were in her hair, the first words that came out of his mouth were, "Tastes like vomit."

Upon which she promptly hit him on the head, and they went back to normal – that is her reading her manga, and him, doing – well, trying – to do his homework.

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AN: Hope you like. Hahaha. Don't you dare ask me what the inspiration for this was. Obviously you already know. Apparently, well, according to my sister, the sweetest thing a guy can do is hold a girl's hair while she is vomiting. Couldn't really do that with Rukia, since she has short hair, so I apologise for going on this big detour of how she grew her hair. Was necessary.

Sorry for not updating my other stories. I will, just wait till November 10 and beyond. That is my last exam, so I will be able to pay attention more. This one shot, well, it was more like a thing I did in between studying. For my longer stories I really need to sit down and concentrate if I'm to write.

Sorry!