Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach
Author's Note: There will be some references to Japanese culture in this story, explanations will be given at the end. For now just enjoy the story to celebrate my favourite character in Bleach's birthday.
This is light Orihime x Ichigo fluff if you don't like this pairing please turn away now. Critical comments are welcome but comments towards disliking a pairing and flaming are not.
In the town of Karakura many teenagers where in a panic. It was two days before a very important day. It was almost time for the summer holidays to end and for them all to go back to school. For a certain 4 teenagers it was especially worrying. As they had spent most of their time in another dimension saving their friend from execution. Which was a very important reason but it would not be believable to any of their teachers.
Ishida had gone on his own to study. Chad had his own reasons, possibly as he had to catch up with his friends in his band. This left Orihime red faced with her pile of books scattered around the room and unable to believe who she was speaking to on the phone.
"Kurosaki-Kun! What's the matter! Are you sick?"
"Um...no..." The boy replied on he phone. "I was just wondering if I could come over."
"C-c-come over?" Orihime pinched herself, yup she was still awake. "What for?"
"It's hard to explain..."
"...I wanna do it with you!"
"WHAT!" The girl cried almost fainting.
"No... Inoue that's not me... hold on!"
There was a rattle on the receiver and Orihime squeezed her ear next to the phone to listen better. She could here a scream and thumps. She could vaguely make out the voice of Ichigo and the other person she assumed was Ichigo's funny father.
'Pervert! Don't listen to your son's private phone calls, especially don't add lib your own lines!'
She could hear that clearly and it helped her calm down. She heard the clicking as the phone was picked up and a grumpy Ichigo answered.
"Sorry, Inoue. My Dad's a pain in the neck." He huffed.
Orihime imagined how deep his frown was at that moment. He must look like he was about to burst like a giant balloon.
"Look, this house has been too loud since I got back. I can't study and you know we have all that homework."
Orihime looked around the mess in her apartment. She knew perfectly well how much homework there was.
"Good idea, I can bake cookies!"Orihime said cheerfully.
"No, no I can bring something, I'm a guest after all I should bring a present." Ichigo said quickly. He knew all to well Inoue's tastes were not normal. "What would you like to eat?"
"Hmmm... A loaf of bread would be good, a whole one without being cut!"
"Um, okay. Let's say I meet you in 2 hours."
"2 hours!" Orihime almost felt herself jump through the roof.
"Is that too soon Inoue?"
"No, no, no it will be fine Kurosaki-Kun." Orihime laughed nervously. "I just need to tidy my room a little it's a bit messy from all my study."
"Oh okay, see you soon!"
She pressed the 'end call' button and fell backwards sighing. She felt happy that Ichigo was friendly enough to come over to visit. It was after all two days to go before they went back to school and the mountain of homework was handed in. Orihime imagined the mountain of books that stood before Ichigo and herself. They would climb this tall peeks, filling in all the problems effortlessly. Although in there was some danger, what if there was an avalanche? She would have to reach out to Ichigo as they ran down the mountain, the books falling down behind them.
"We won't die! Even if we have to live off paper for a week!" Orihime proclaimed as in her head they pair of them were buried under the books and trapped. This woke her up though and she desperately scrabbled to tidy up her apartment. She glanced at the calendar, tomorrow was circled with a heart. She wondered if Ichigo would notice. Orihime shook her head, she didn't want to put her hopes up. He probably wouldn't notice. She shouldn't expect too much from the phone call and she was going to celebrate with her friend Tatsuki so she wouldn't be lonely.
Orihime snapped to attention again, she was drifting off again! She rushed around the room and piled up her books in some kind of order. Also she quickly picked up any intimate laundry that she really didn't want to be spotted. I mean that would lead to an embarrassing situation! The girl found herself lost in another daydream unaware at how fast the time was passing.
The young boy walking down the street with a school bag and a small carrier bag of baked goods. The large french loaf sticking out of the bag was very noticeable. Ichigo wondered if it was the right kind but frowned at himself for worrying. He was sure whatever he gave to the ever cheerful Orihime she would be grateful and accept it. Even if it wasn't right she would just smile and take it. He had noticed she had that kind of personality. She always accepted the strange and perverted gifts from that lesbian (whatever her name was he couldn't remember) so he was sure she would like the loaf.
He wasn't even sure why he was really going to Orihime's to study. There was Chad but he hadn't answered his phone, same for Mizuiro. There was no way in hell he was calling Keigo. The looser was probably proud that he hadn't done his summer homework. This left either Ishida, Tatsuki or Orihime. Before he knew it he had called her. His hands seemed to know where to look for her number and he had dialed. That had been it, so simple but he wondered why it made his heart beat that little bit faster. He didn't understand and didn't want to dwell on it. There was too much in his life to sit and think about emotions, there was a war coming soon and he had to be ready for it.
He rang the doorbell a couple of times and waited. There was a crashing noise inside the house and Ichigo instinctively barged in. Inoue was on the floor with a wash-basket filled with what looked to Ichigo to be underwear. His face went red and he mutter "excuse me" closing the door. There was another crashing noise and a high pitched squeal.
Then Orihime opened the door read faced, "I'm so sorry Kurosaki-Kun! You're early!"
"Uh...Inoue..." Ichigo stood looking at the girl and pointed, unable to form the words he wanted to say.
"What's wrong? Do I have some crumbs on my face from eating? I'm a messy eater, so just come in..." Orihime said in a panic waving for him to enter.
Ichigo shook his head, how could he say this without embarrassing her any further. A part of him wondered why girls were so complicated. He never had this flustered feeling when talking to Rukia or Tatsuki.
"On your head..." He gasped as he continued to point. "...flower..."
"What I have a flower growing out of my head!" Orihime shouted alarmed.
Ichigo shook his head, "Flower panties..."
Orihime had found the stray pair of panties and slammed the door shut with another scream. Ichigo breathed relieved he had managed to say it. He was slightly wondering if he should turn back now and brave studying at home. His Dad had been really happy and energetic when he got back. There was no way he would have enough quiet study time.
The door opened again and Orihime bowed down, "I'm so sorry Kurosaki-Kun. Please come in... I tried my best to get rid of all the girly things that you shouldn't see."
"Ah, let's not mention it." Ichigo coughed. He made up his mind, this was better than his Dad's random flying kicks and harassment. He handed over his gift of food. The french stick loaf was pulled out and Orihime smiled.
"Thank you this was just what I was wanted to buy today!"
"Well it is now!" Orihime said, she lead Ichigo into the main room which seemed to be the dining room and living room combined. It was such a small apartment. Ichigo sat down at the table were there was a space for his books. Orihime's was opposite and seemed to be piled up in two columns.
"Which ones have you finished?" Ichigo asked.
"Mostly the English and Math, get the most difficult out the way first." Orihime said.
"I've done the opposite, easy first." Ichigo said. "But then I like English so I've finished it just before I came." He took out his books and piled them up.
"I was going to start on science next." Orihime said.
Ichigo nodded and picked up the book. "If there's anything either of us are stuck on we should just say."
"Agreed, but lets do it all by ourselves. I don't want to cheat!"
Ichigo smiled and settled down to a quiet study. After all the embarrassment at the start, it was feeling more comfortable. He took a sip from the green tea that was placed next to him by Orihime and continued. They passed a few hours silently together, every now and then asking a question or checking if the other got the same answer. It reminded Ichigo that despite her ditsy appearance Orihime was actually quite smart. She was ranked third in his year so it was interesting watching her study. She seemed to prefer holding the bread stick in her mouth while she did her homework but there she was obviously thinking quite deeply.
As the town bells chimed 5 o' clock Orihime stood up and stretched. "Shall we take a break Kurosaki-Kun?" Orihime asked.
"Actually, I should go I've got most of it done now."
"Really?" She sounded a bit disappointed.
"Where's the toilet? I need to go."
"It's the third door on the right, you need to give the flush a firm pull but not too hard or it'll come off."
"Okay," Ichigo nodded unsure if he got the instructions, as he went he noticed the calender and wondered for a moment why there was a heart around the third of September. Wasn't school suppose to be back on the fourth? He shrugged and decided to ask her when he got back.
Orihime watched him go delighted with how everything had went. True the start could have been done a lot smoother. If she hadn't been daydreaming so much she would have tidied up her laundry in time and wouldn't have been caught with panties on her head. She took out the cakes that Ichigo had brought and put them down on a plate. At least she could give him a snack before he left.
As he came back Ichigo remembered the calender and pointed at it. "Hey, Inoue, you know school starts again on the fourth?"
"Uh...Yeah." Orihime replied. 'Wait, he did notice the heart!'
"So why is the third circled like this?"
"Oh it's because the third of September is a very important day. Something very important is going to happen on that day."
"Ah... I can't say, it's embarrassing," Orihime muttered.
Ichigo looked away and rubbed the back of his head. He had caused enough embarrassment for one day. He didn't want to push it.
"Please, try the cake you brought! You'll need some energy after all that studying."
"Yeah, just one more day left after this." Ichigo said, glad of the change of subject.
"If you want you can come over again tomorrow, Kurosaki-Kun." Orihime said almost swallowing her heart.
"But isn't tomorrow an important day for you?"
"It'll be okay, if you come over for the afternoon. I need to go to Tatsuki's for dinner but I'm free in the afternoon."
"Oh I see."
"It would make me happy to finally finish this work and you're a good study partner Kurosaki-Kun." Orihime stabbed her cake and ate a big chunk almost choking on it. She coughed a little and tried to keep her smile. She couldn't let her emotions show too much, she didn't want to seem desperate. If anything she wanted to be cool, like a cat. She wondered if she could ask Yoruichi about her ability in turning into a cat. Orihime imagined herself as an orange tabby trying to lean against the wall and made a cool wink to Ichigo.
"Inoue! Wake up!" Ichigo shouted shaking her shoulders.
"Meow!" Orihime answered.
"Oh... sorry Kurosaki-Kun." Orihime laughed. "Oh you've finished your cake, would you like more tea? I'm being a terrible host, daydreaming while I have a guest. I always get told off by Tatsuki as well."
"That's okay Inoue."Ichigo said putting his books into his bag. "I'll have to get back home soon anyway. It will be getting dark and my Dad will be a big pain if I'm late for dinner."
"I understand." Orihime said smiling. 'It's nice he has a family that cares for him.' "You'll still come tomorrow at 2 o' clock right?"
"Yeah, though I think I might try to finish some of the books tonight." Ichigo said. "But don't worry I won't finish it all, there's still too much."
"Yeah, there's so much there can cause an avalanche, learning nowadays is dangerous." Orihime agreed. (In her own way.)
"Um... what would you like to eat tomorrow, more bread?"
"Ah! It has to be DORAYAKI!!" Orihime said her finger pointing in the air. "If you're going to the bakers be sure to buy lots of dorayaki!"
"Pancakes with sweet bean paste inside?" Ichigo asked, checking he had heard right.
"Yes, lots and lots of dorayaki!" Orihime said. "Don't worry I'm buying some tomorrow as well so you don't need hundreds, maybe ten from you would be enough."
Orihime smiled and nodded again. Ichigo couldn't argue with that smile and got up to left. As he said goodbye and Orihime chatted about whatever was in her head; he couldn't but look at the calender again. It had to be something to do with her brother. He decided he'd have to ask someone that knew as it was obvious Orihime didn't want to say. He wasn't even sure why she had invited him over again if it was a special day for her.
It bothered Ichigo most of the way home and in frustration as he didn't want to cause more embarrassment tomorrow he called the only person that would know.
"What do you want Ichigo?" Tatsuki asked annoyed. "I'm busy just now and I haven't done my homework so don't ask for study help!"
"Oh, you haven't done the homework?" Ichigo asked amazed.
"No, I've got a great excuse but I'm not telling you, you might steal my idea."
"If you must know I'm almost finished." Ichigo bluntly shot back. "I would think you would be asking me for help."
Tatsuki snorted, "Whatever, what do you really want?"
"What's important about tomorrow?" Ichigo asked.
"Why are you asking?" Tatsuki asked back cautiously.
"I was studying with Orihime today..." He heard a choking noise on the phone. "Oi! Nothing like that!"
"You sure it wasn't a date?!"
"NO! Damn it! Why is everyone making such a big deal about this! I just went to Orihime's house as it's the quietest place I could think of to study!"
"Can I ask you something personal?" Tatsuki said seriously.
"What?" Ichigo asked suspiciously.
"Do you find men attractive?"
"Huh? NO!" Ichigo yelled. "I am not gay!"
"Are you sure?" Tatsuki questioned. "You went over to Orihime's place and didn't do anything, just study?"
"Yes, why would I do anything?" Ichigo said. "We studied, ate cake and I went home!"
'I swear he's gay...' Tatsuki swore under her breath. "Listen idiot, I will only say this once. Tomorrow is an important day as that lovely girl, with a big chest, hope you noticed, was born on that day."
"What?" Ichigo was confused, what did her chest have to do with anything. He wondered if Tatsuki was the real gay person.
"Tomorrow is Orihime's birthday!" Tatsuki said. "She's coming over for dinner because goodness knows what she would eat to celebrate."
"Dorayaki." Ichigo answered. It all made sense now.
"Nothing, look thanks Tatsuki I didn't know and Orihime didn't want to tell me for some reason."
"She probably doesn't want a big fuss." Tatsuki sighed. "Listen just turn up and say 'happy birthday'. You don't need to worry about a present if you turn up at her house on her birthday that will be enough."
"You're not making sense." Ichigo said. "Thanks anyway Tatsuki."
"Bye, see you at school."
"Yeah," Ichigo hung up the phone. Well that was one mystery cleared up but whether he could figure out the larger mystery of Orihime's mind was a different question.
The third of September came and there was no fireworks or big announcements as there should have been. The news was quiet and Orihime wondered if people in the rest of Japan had forgotten. Orihime just shrugged and made a pile of books that she had still to finish. This time it would be perfect. All her underwear was safely in her bedroom and not on her head. It was all clear of possible bad moments. She glanced at the clock it was almost one and she had to get to the bakers for the dorayaki. She was sure, this would be a lucky birthday. Not just for her but for the special person who shared it with her.
At 2 o' clock exactly on time the doorbell rang and Orihime tried to calmly walk to the door. She ran last time in a rush to finish putting away her laundry and it ending in disaster. She opened her door with a big smile and saw the frowning face of her many dreams.
"Afternoon Inoue... Happy Birthday." Ichigo gave her the bag of from the bakers.
"Ah! Thank you!" Orihime smiled. "How did you find out?"
"I asked Tatsuki," Ichigo admitted and entered the house. He looked at the table there was the same pile of books but there was also a stuffed toy sitting on the table. He went to move it but Orihime almost pounced on him. She stopped just in time and settled for grabbing the toy.
"Ah don't Kurosaki-Kun! This our guest of honour!"
"Inoue... it's a toy..."
Orihime looked heartbroken. "How can you say that Kurosaki-Kun! This is Doraemon!"
"I know who he is." Ichigo said.
"But it's his important day!"
"Don't you know?"
Ichigo shook his head. He obviously wasn't anywhere near understanding Orihime.
"On September the third in the year 2112 Doraemon will be manufactured!" Orihime stated and she continued with her story. "So every year My brother and I would always celebrate our birthdays! I share a birthday with Doraemon, I was so happy when I learnt we shared the same day. He's like my twin robot cat brother from the future. And we share the same taste in food! He loves sweet bean paste as well, especially dorayaki! That's why we have to eat dorayaki to celebrate his birthday or to be more accurate his future manufacture date!"
Ichigo smiled. He let out a small laugh and pulled out a pancake from the bag. He passed one to Orihime and placed one next to the stuffed robot cat. He then raised a dorayaki, "Happy birthday to both of you." He said.
Orihime laughed and bit into the pancake. There was still a lot of homework to be done but for now it was all just as perfect as she imagined. Ichigo understood the importance of this day. She placed a kiss on her Doraemon toy and munched on her pancake. Ichigo gave an unaware jealous look to the stuffed toy but Orihime was laughing and that distracted him from realising. They shared a little about their favourite Doraemon moment in the cartoons and eventually returned to the forgotten homework.
Ichigo wondered how little by little, he was slowly getting to understand the great mystery of Orihime Inoue. He was sure that from now on he would remember this very important day.
Author's note: Doraemon is a popular cartoon and comic book character from Japan and his birthday is indeed on September the third, same as Orihime. I just thought she would notice something like that and want to share her celebration.
Dorayaki is just two pancakes with a sweet bean paste filling. It is Doraemon's favourite food. (Which is why his name starts with dora!)
Japanese High schools give insane amounts of homework for summer. The date they go back is usually the end of August or start of September, it changes with the different schools.
Sorry there wasn't much romance as I thought at this point in the manga (just back from Soul Society) they are really on a good friendship basis. So Ichigo is clueless and Orihime a smitten girl with a big secret love. I really just wanted to make a cute fic that would have the pair interacting.
For anyone on ffnet that are waiting for my other stories to update and going, "WTH? Where's (insert name of fic) not updated yet!" Sorry, HUGE writers block, horrible work, summer too hot, moved apartments and lots of other such excuses. Don't worry I am still working on them promise!