23 August 2007

A note from Starry: I wrote this story for Ichigo's birthday back in July (his birthday is the 15th of July) for a mini contest over at the Ichigo and Orihime forum but I never got to finish it because I lost interest in it. How bad of me! Anyways, I managed to finish it and here it is! I hope you guys like it!

Also, Ichigo is so hard to keep him in character so I hope he wasn't out of character too much! If he is, I apologize! Oh and I am not satisfied with how this thing came out but I'm posting it 'cause the members of FLOL (Five Lifetimes, One Love and the IchiHime FC over at BleachAsylum) liked it and gave me positive feedback on it. So why not share it in ffdotnet? So thank them!

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Ichigo or Orihime!


A Private Birthday

Surprisingly, it was a rainy day and the sky was so dark that the street lights had been lit up to guide the people who were walking on the sidewalks. Inoue Orihime sat at her table staring at the calendar hanging on her wall near the window. A small smile was set on her face and her hands were neatly resting on her lap.

The latest episode of the anime, Naruto, was playing on her small color television but the girl wasn't paying attention to it. It just served the purpose to keep the quiet out and give the girl some company, even if it was just the television. Getting up, Orihime walked to her kitchen and got out some baking utensils. This was going to be the first time she baked something… normal.

While shopping for the ingredients she needed, she'd come across easy to make cake kits but she felt that if she were to buy them, the feeling wouldn't be the same as if she made it herself. So she'd ignored the boxes and continued on her way to buy the fresh products.

Now, Orihime stood in her kitchen staring at her oven with a smile on her face. The chocolate cake seemed to be rising perfectly and the smell was delicious! The second she took in a sniff, her stomach began growling. Oh, how she wanted to take a small bite of it and savor it! Turning around, Orihime decided to go and finish getting ready. She still needed to take a shower as well as get dressed!

The girl set the timer for when the oven would turn itself off before walking out to her bathroom and turning on the shower head. In an hour or so, she'd be ready and then she'd finish decorating the cake and then, it would party time!

It was two in the afternoon and the rain was still falling. The streets were now empty and the sky was still dark, a lot of houses had their lights on and it looked like a peaceful rainy night in Karakura town.

Inside the Inoue residence, Orihime finished brushing her hair and regarded herself in the mirror. Her white dress with yellow polk-a-dots fit her quite well and she liked how her breasts looked in them. Not too big, just perfect! She picked up her hairpins and clipped her hair into place, before smiling at her reflection.

"Yosh! Now, we're off to decorate the cake, and then we sing Happy Birthday and then we eat!" It was amazing how cheerful she was considering the weather outside. "Afterwards, we'll dance the night away and open presents!" At this, her smile faded for an instant before it appeared once more.

Orihime walked out of the bathroom and went into the kitchen, to take out the cake and let it cool off on the counter. It smelled delicious and she could not wait to eat it! Since it was her first time doing this, she hoped it tasted good and that it wasn't missing anything. That would be bad!

She got out the icing and began decorating the chocolate cake. Walking to the fridge, Orihime got out a box of fresh strawberries and began slicing them carefully, before placing them on top of the cake. She managed to spell out, HAPPY BIRTHDAY with the slices but she noticed that she only had three more pieces left. Pouting, the girl decided to just leave it with those two words and just eat the remaining strawberries. Besides, she knew the name that was supposed to go down there and it was the thought that counted, right?

Finishing up the cake, Orihime carefully brought it over to the table and placed it down. She ran back to get a candle and gently inserted in above between Happy and Birthday. Standing up and taking a step back, Orihime studied her creation and nodded with satisfaction. Clapping her hands together, Orihime looked out the window at the gloomy sky and smiled.

"Happy Birthday, Kurosaki-kun! May you have many more wonderful birthdays and may you continue to live a long and healthy life!" Her smile disappeared and she just stood there, staring out the window at the falling rain. "I hope you're having fun with Kuchiki-san and the others."

Walking over to the television, she turned it off and picked up a small gift wrapped box that had a small sticker that read: To: Kurosaki-kun, From: I. Orihime. The paper was decorated with small swords that kind of resembled Zangetsu.

"I'll have to wait for the school year to start before I can give you this…" Orihime walked back to the table and sat down on the floor, in front of the cake with the unlit candle on it. She placed the present on the table beside the cake and picked up the lighter. Right when she was about to light the candle, a knock at the door came.

Getting up, Orihime dusted her lap and walked over to the door. She opened the door and her eyes widened in surprise. "K-Kurosaki-kun… what are you doing here?" she asked, taking a step back from the door.

A soaking wet Ichigo stood at her door, a sad expression on his face. A thunder clap rolled not too far from them and it made Orihime jump, but Ichigo did not move he just stood there.

"Ano, Kurosaki-kun?"

"Inoue, why didn't you come to my house today?" he asked in his normal tone. His expression had now changed and he'd lifted an eyebrow up, waiting for her reply.

Orihime averted her gaze to the side and bit the inside of her cheek. Why hadn't she gone? He'd told her the day before when she was buying the ingredients for his cake. He'd invited her to his house for a family and friends gathering they were having for his birthday. She had smiled and said she'd be there, but she had lied. Truth was, Orihime did not have any intentions to go to Ichigo's birthday celebration but how could she tell him that? So instead, she'd just lied and smiled before watching Ichigo turn around and leave. The guilt had been sinking deeper and deeper but there was nothing she could do… well except go to his birthday celebration but she didn't want to…

"Gomen, Kurosaki-kun," she said, feeling guilty as well as stupid. "I..."

"Is that a cake?"

"Eh?" Orihime looked at what he was looking at, and sure enough, he was eyeing the cake she'd made for his birthday. "Hai…" It's for your birthday…

Stepping aside, Orihime let Ichigo enter her apartment and watched as he walked over to the table and continued looking at the cake and his present.

"Is this for me?" Ichigo glanced back at her, holding the small gift in his hands and pointing at the cake.

"Eto…" Orihime slowly closed the door behind her and averted her gaze to the floor. What could she say to not make it sound creepy? I mean, who baked a cake and had a present for a person that wasn't even there? "Ano… yes, it's for you." Orihime smiled weakly as she made her way over to him.

Ichigo studied her for a brief moment before looking back at the cake and his gift. Orihime tried to read his expression but for that moment, it was unreadable and right there and then she wanted to do anything to get inside his head and know what he was thinking. A lot of things were flying in her head and she hoped that none of them were really what he was thinking.

"Is this why you didn't go to my house?" Ichigo's voice normal but if you listened closely, you could hear a bit of sadness in it.

Oh no… "Kurosaki-kun, I was going to go… but then I…" Orihime noticed that Ichigo was now sitting on the floor in front of the cake, so she did the same and took a seat a foot away from him. "I just didn't want to ruin the happy environment you were going to be in at your house." She sighed and moved her attention to her chocolate cake. That was the truth. Going to Ichigo's house and seeing him with Rukia would have hurt her more than she already was. She didn't hate Rukia, in face the other girl was one of her best friends, but to see two people that you loved together just hurt.

"Inoue," Orihime looked up at him and she was a bit surprised to see the expression he had. "How can you say that?" He scooted a bit closer to Orihime but the girl stayed in her place, frozen. "Ruining the happy environment? What are you talking about? Everyone was there, Inoue… except you." At this, Ichigo looked away from her and his gaze was now on the raining world outside the window. "You not being there ruined the happy environment… Actually, there was never a happy environment in the first place." A soft red hue appeared on his cheeks but the boy quickly turned his head away from Orihime. "Inoue, that's why I came here, because… well… you weren't there and I was worried that something had happened to you because you weren't there even though you said you were going to be." Ichigo's face was still turned away and Orihime wondered if he was okay, but what he was saying was making her feel so warm inside.

"I'm sorry," she said, her eyes on her hands on her lap. "I didn't intend to make you worry about me, Kurosaki-kun."

"Thanks."

Orihime looked up not expecting Ichigo to be looking at her with a smile on his face. "For what?" she asked, her eyes searching his face.

"For your birthday surprise." Ichigo then got the lighter and lit the candle, before scooting over and patting the place beside him. "Come on Inoue get closer to see me blow out the candle."

Nodding, Orihime scooted over to him and sat up straight, her eyes on the now lit candle. In a way, Orihime was very happy to know that she was here celebrating Ichigo's birthday with him, but the other side of her was confused and wondering why Ichigo had gone from serious to happy.

At that moment, Ichigo began singing. "Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me…"

Orihime looked up at him and smiled. "Happy Birthday, Kurosaki-kun! Happy Birthday to you!" And she continued to smile as Ichigo closed his eyes for a second before opening them and blowing out the candle. The smell of burned candle wick met Orihime's nose, so she just waved the smell away with her hand.

"I'll go get the knife-" She was interrupted when two arms were suddenly wrapped around her. "Kurosaki-kun?" her eyes wide and she was tense but after a moment she relaxed, but her expression was still a startled one. What was wrong? She wondered.

"Thank you, Inoue, this means a lot to me." Orihime listened and felt her breath catch. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm glad you didn't come to my house. 'Cause then I wouldn't have come to your house and found you here." The orange haired boy then pulled away and turned his face away from her. "Sorry…"

Speechless, that's how Orihime was at the moment. Totally speechless. What could she say? So instead, the girl got up and went inside the kitchen to get the knife. Her mind was blank and she felt as though she was an empty vessel just floating there. As she walked back to the same spot she had been in, she saw Ichigo staring at the gift in his hand. It was still wrapped and Orihime wondered if he'd open it.

Without saying anything, Orihime went back on her knees and commenced on cutting the cake she'd baked for this special occasion. What happened next shocked Orihime. From the corner of her eye she saw Ichigo move and right when she turned to face him, she felt his lips on hers.

The kiss seemed to last for a few seconds before Ichigo pulled away and quickly stood up. "I'm sorry, Inoue! I meant to kiss you on the cheek… not on the lips!" His face was red and his expression just made Orihime giggle.

She was surprised as well and her eyes had been wide and if it hadn't been for his expression she wouldn't have laughed. Getting up, Orihime shook her head. "It's okay, Kurosaki-kun," her face was hot and she wondered if she was as red as he was. "It's okay, really." She smiled at him and didn't know what to do. Should she just go back to cutting the cake? Or should she go into the kitchen? And then, it hit her. Her face got even hotter and a inner voice was telling her not to do it, but now was perfect, right? With the small smile still on her face, Orihime closed the distance between them and kissed him on the lips.

"Happy Birthday, Kurosaki-kun," she said, as she stepped back and smiled. Before he could say anything, Orihime turned around and went back to continue to cut the cake. Her face was still hot and she didn't know what else to do or say, so cutting the cake was a good idea. What would he say? What about Kuchiki-san? Well right now that didn't matter, right? It was just him and her here at the moment.

"Next year, I hope to get another private birthday party like this one." Ichigo was still stand in the same spot Orihime had left him in after kissing him. Except this time his left hand was behind his head and he was gazing out the window. You could still see the pink in his cheeks and Orihime just smiled because it made him look even cuter.

"Okay, Kurosaki-kun. Here's your cake," she said, extending her hand out to hand him his slice of cake. "Happy Birthday."

Ichigo looked down at her and for a moment just stared at her as if she was the most amazing thing in the world, when he realized what he was doing he blinked and nodded before taking the cake. "Thanks."

Everything was well and peaceful and then Orihime remembered something.

"Eh, Kurosaki-kun, you're still soaking wet… you'll get sick if you don't go change."

"Ah! You're right… I don't have dry clothes though…"

"I can let you borrow some of my t-shirts and skirts while your clothes dry." Orihime got up and went into her cupboard and got out a few attires. "This one will be good for you."

Ichigo just stared at her and shook his head in embarrassment. How did the moment go from sweet to this?

"Here Kurosaki-kun," Orihime handed him a bundle and smiled at him. "I'll turn around and you can change."

Ichigo just stared at her and felt his face get hot again for the hundredth time. "I-It's okay…"

"I don't want you to get sick on your birthday. If it makes you feel better, I'll step outside while you change, ne?" The brown haired girl was about to go when Ichigo grabbed her arm and stopped her.

"No, it's okay. I'll just change in your bathroom." And with that, he walked off to the restroom to change into the clothes she'd given him.

"Oh! The bathroom… I forgot I had one of those." Orihime nodded. "Alright, I'll be waiting out here." Orihime watched as he closed the door and she felt so happy at that moment. "Arigatou, Kurosaki-kun, for being how you are," and at the thought of Ichigo's lips and what had happened before made her grow warm in the face again. She'd kissed him! And he hadn't said anything… Orihime's smile brightened up even more and a sense of calmness seemed to have settled inside of her. "Happy Birthday, Kurosaki-kun," she said again, as she began cutting another piece of cake.


Starry: Currently I'm working on a birthday fic for Orihime 'cause her birthday is coming up! So be expecting that in the near future! I hope you guys enjoyed this and please review and tell me what you thought about it. Thanks!