Notes: Silliness, ceiling fans, sketchbooks, symbolism, and all such insanity. It just makes me so sad to think of how Rukia must have felt when she had to leave everything she'd come to know in the real world to face death in Soul Society. Anyway, I sort of deviated from the usual with this one. It's a bit more depressing than my other stories, but not too much ( ::gulp:: I hope?) because Ichigo would follow Rukia anywhere.
The phrase, it was hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk? Forget that. It was hot enough to send those little buggers to hell. Complete incineration.
Rukia sat on Ichigo's bed as the boy screwed something into the ceiling painstakingly. He bit his lip tenderly and glared up at the metal object he held in place, head tilted at an awkward angle as he twisted the screws in to the ceiling. A thin film of sweat glinted on his face. If Rukia was honest, she sorta liked the view. He looked rather endearing while putting his rusty little brain to work. Ichigo finally dropped the screwdriver and sighed, collapsing into the seat he'd been standing on. "Done," he said at last.
Rukia feigned interest while nodding up at the device hanging from the ceiling. "So? What is it?" She wiped sweat from her own face and tapped her pencil against the sketchbook beneath her.
"A ceiling fan," Ichigo said, "To keep this darned heat out."
Adding a few random shapes to her doodlings, Rukia closed her sketchbook and crossed her legs on the bed. "What does it do, though?"
Ichigo sighed. He didn't bother answering, choosing instead to pull a metal cord that dangled from the device. The blades spun up ever so slowly, gaining in speed until they hummed consistently. "Circulation," he said. "It gets all the muggy, hot air and it circulates it. It's still muggy and hot, but it's moving. Moving is a good thing," he said dryly. Then, "It's good for ceiling fans, at least. I don't think I wanna move an inch for a few years, though."
That statement was quickly refuted when Ichigo decided he was hungry. Rukia shrugged as he wandered out to get something to eat, and slid off the bed to stand under the strange device, reaching up to touch the spinning blades. They beat a tune against her fingers, but it was slow.
"Stupid thing." She pulled that cord like Ichigo had done, attempting to turn the useless fan off. It sped up. "Ah," she murmured. "Much better."
She settled back onto the bed, flipping her notebook open again and taking a slender pencil into her hand. An annoying but faintly familiar presence on her shoulder caught her attention. "Go stare at naked girls, Kon," she murmured, slamming her notebook shut once again.
Kon skittered up around her neck and began talking enthusiastically. "All I need is Neeee-san!" he said. "I'll never ever let go!"
"Oh, yes you will." Rukia made a move to brush him off.
"Don't leeeeeave me!" Kon cried, plush hands clinging to the cloth of the thin dress she wore. "So heartless!" She could've sworn he grabbed right down there intentionally. With an irritated flick of her hand, she sent the perverted plush toy flying. He scrambled right back, right up onto her shoulder again, and nestled in. "What are you drawing?" he asked, catching her just before she slammed the sketch book closed.
"Ooh, it's me!" he said.
"It sure as hell isn't you," Rukia murmured under her breath. Though it was the body he occasionally took up residence in.
For a stuffed toy, Kon caught on pretty fast. He could also pull off menacing pretty well. "Hey, Ichigooo!"
"Shut it, Kon!" Ichigo yelled from the kitchen. "I'm eating!"
Kon pointed wordlessly to the notepad, where Rukia had sketched a small figure against the blue-lined paper. "Don't say a word or I'll take out your soul pill and stick it in Isshin's underwear," Rukia hissed. She sat up and bit her lip, sliding up to the wall, almost buried in Ichigo's pillows as her eyes wandered over the absentminded sketch. Despite the heat, she grabbed his pillow and gripped it absentmindedly, somehow finding comfort in its warmth. She traced her fingers over the page.
A single figure had been drawn on the right side, spiky hair sketched in, slender build reminiscent of one carrot top who currently stood obliviously in the kitchen. One might not have immediately guessed it was him, though...because the character was faceless.
She had been tempted to sketch his features in—had known she could, had hoped she would be able to, but she didn't let herself.
In the end, it was a matter of emotion. She was getting too close to him.
She felt differently about him than she had about anyone before. That was something she couldn't deny. This hot-headed, orange-haired nutcase... She sighed.
They would find her, soon enough. She would be taken back to Soul Society, and for her crimes, she would be condemned. She could not afford to think of words like run or stay.
She wanted to, though. She wanted to run from them, to stay with him.
But if she ran, then he would be in danger, and if she stayed, he would get in too deep. She could not forgive herself for that.
So even if, to her, he had to remain faceless, she'd do it so he could remain alive. She'd sketched herself on the opposite side of the page, back turned to him, her hand stretching out behind her.
It reached nowhere, though, touching only the jagged line she'd drawn between herself and him.
Kon...Kon had jumped to conclusions. This picture only portrayed the space between them.
Rukia refused to believe that the stinging warmth in her eyes was tears.
Her head snapped up when she heard Ichigo's footsteps. Kon scrambled to the edge of the bed, all too eager to tell Ichigo about his miscontrued perceptions of Rukia's drawing. "Ichigooo...nee-san's got the hots for—"
Rukia smiled and briskly snatched a shirt—and Kon—from Ichigo's bed, twisting the shirt around Kon and slinging him up on that wondrous ceiling fan, all before the footsteps stopped in front of the door.
Ichigo walked in, sandwich in hand, to see Rukia grinning and standing in the seat while Kon spun in dizzying circles, gasping out unintelligible snippets of words.
Ichigo took a liesurely bite of his sandwich. "Did I miss something?"
"Nah. Hiya, Ichigo." But maybe that was her way to say goodbye.
The fan spun slowly, so slowly, teetering from one side to another in an attempt to accomplish the impossible. But at least it had a place to go. At least it had a home, a purpose.
At least it could stay.
Rukia let her hair fall over her face, because suddenly, it hurt to smile. She imagined that if the heat wasn't as bad as it was today, she would have had no excuse for the drops of moisture that trailed down her cheeks. Suddenly, she hated the ceiling fan.
Author's Notes: Please forgive me? I know this one is a little bit different, but there are just so many aspects to Ichigo and Rukia's relationship that I had to explore a little. I really hope that I was able to portray the depth of Rukia's feelings, though. To anyone who read this, I am very, very thankful! (gives hugs and eternal gratitude) Hehe, this is actually the first time I've ever written Kon. Any thoughts at all would be indescribably appreciated! Please Review?