Scowling, Ichigo plowed a hand through spiky hair as he yet again contemplated why he seemed to always manage to get himself into these sorts of situations. Of course, the answer that came immediately to mind was -- for once, surprisingly -- NOT the actual reason for this particular predicament. That answer being, of course, rather short and slight of build with black hair and violet eyes and a penchant for kicking him in the shins. No, in fact he actually hadn't even seen said violent shinigami since that morning.

Which wasn't his fault.

Despite what she may have said, or done. Or claimed. It was NOT his fault that she was an idiot and got on his nerves with her kicking and her insistence that he cater to her every whim. The hell was he, some sort of glorified man-servant? Oh, hell no. Either way, the "discussion" over whether or not he should have to carry her backpack along with his own because he'd laughed at her when she'd tripped over the blatently obvious crack in the sidewalk because she was ogling that dumb rabbit had ended in yet another fight. Fuck, she should be mad at stupid Chappy, not at him. It wasn't him she was all giggly over, after all. But of course, that wasn't how it worked. Because somehow he, in the infinite wisdom and mind-reading ability he was required to posses ONLY when she wanted him to, should have forseen the slip and warned her of the impending crack in the pavement.

Never mind that he himself had only barely managed to avoid it because he was too busy glowering at her attempts to beat money out of his arm so she could buy said Chappy-themed articles. Feh, like his elbow contained yen. Stupid Rukia, it's your own damn fault you fell. And sure, he didn't have to laugh -- in fact, he wasn't going to laugh at first; he was actually going to be shockingly nice and help her up -- but then she'd glared at him, picked herself up, and punched him. Then laid into him with a scathing comment about his disfunctionality in regards to making sure she didnt' fall on her face. As though that was somehow his God-given duty.

And with that, all his thoughts of being nice -- only for the shock value, of course -- had fallen by the wayside in favour of his usual attitude. Which was a good deal less nice. And somewhere between her calling him a dumbass and him snarling back that it wasn't his fault she couldn't walk without falling down, she'd kicked him again and stalked off to class. Only... she'd skipped out at lunch. Probably off to do some shinigami business, but that didn't change the fact that it was completely unfair for her to ditch him when she was skipping. Why should he have to go to class if she wasn't going to? Not that he cared that much if she went to class. Or if she ran off without him. Really.

It didn't matter to him at all, she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, hell she'd been a shinigami for what, a hundred years or so? Which was why -- despite what Keigo had said before Ichigo's well-placed fist connected solidly with the top of his head -- the fact that Rukia was absent was NOT the reason he'd lost the card game he and Tatsuki and the others were having at lunch. Not even if the reason he'd lost the hand of Snap was because Tatsuki had -- in a very unfair and mean-spirited trick -- pointed behind him and yelled "Hey, there's Rukia", thus making him spin around to look while she slammed her hand down on the cards.

Damn women and their mind-games.

It wasn't like he looked because he cared if she was there, it was just a matter of self-preservation. If he knew where Rukia was, then he knew where Rukia's feet and Rukia's fists and Rukia's elbows were. And he could avoid them contacting with his shins, head, ribs, or any number of other painful places. Not that Tatsuki cared about that, she just cared that she won the game and therefore the bet. Grumbling that it was unfair, or that the only reason he was even playing Snap -- it was a stupid, outdated children's game, after all -- was due to his refusal to surrender his pride when she'd snidely suggested he wasn't "man enough to take the bet", served to make her take it back.

Which brought him all the way back to the initial problem at hand. That being his presence at this... thing that some moron called a party. It wasn't a party, it was an overbearing cacaphony of noise and irritating people rubbing up against each other and imbibing questionable substances in clothes that in some instances barely met local laws of public decency. And then there were the damn glowsticks. Mentally, Ichigo corrected himself; this wasn't a party, it was a rave. As for WHY Tatsuki had somehow thought he needed to go to a rave -- especially since Tatsuki herself had never really seemed the raver type -- he had no clue. He'd tried to ask her, numerous times, that same question and all he got tossed back was some line about how "it would be fun to try". Yeah. Right.

Snarling inwardly to himself, he stuck out an arm and grabbed a cup containing said questionable liquid. Sniffing it, he frowned, noting that at least it didn't smell that much like alcohol so there was a safe bet that whatever alcohol there was in it -- because there was no way he'd ever have been lucky enough to snag something that was purely soda -- wasn't that strong. Downing the drink in one gulp, he grimaced at the taste, not to mention the burn on the back of his throat. Definitely alcohol in that, and stronger than he'd expected. Oh well, at least it wasn't like he was popping the "candy" that some of the shady-looking people in the back of the room were handing out to the bubble-headed morons who took it without so much as a question.

Idiots. Can't even tell candy from E.

Running a hand through his hair in yet another gesture of boredom -- or was it irritation? -- Ichigo rolled brown eyes and mentally cursed Tatsuki again as he wondered why, in all the nine hells, she'd insisted on putting that damned black stuff on his fingernails. Nailpolish was girly stuff, and the only guys that wore it were those emo-fags that hung around the water fountain at lunch and wrote bad poetry in their lockers. Of whose group Kurosaki Ichigo was damned determined to NOT be a part of. But, once again his pride had interfered as the girl -- who he swore must have been hiding some annoyingly girly side of her in order to actually be in possession of the stuff. Or maybe she just loved to torment him, that sounded more like her -- had waggled the little bottle at him and beamed in twisted glee at the way his eyes had widened and the protests had erupted from his person. No, Kurosaki Ichigo did NOT wear nailpolish, NOR did he dress up in the sort of stupid crap she'd demanded he wear if he didn't want the whole school to know he'd backed out of the bet.

Damned Tatsuki.

Sometimes she could be an even bigger bitch than Rukia, if that was believable. Thus it was that with an angry sigh, he hooked painted fingernails into the loops on the unbelievably complicated pair of black pants with their ridiculous neon orange trim -- it HAD to be orange, didn't it? -- and leaned back against the wall, ignoring the way the fishnet shirt felt weird underneath the sleeveless black one. The pants were stupid, the shirt was stupid, this whole thing was stupid. Except the spikes. Actually...he didn't mind the spikes. At least, the ones on his wrist. Those were almost cool. He could have done without the collar -- which, although spiked, was still stupid -- and he most certainly had NOT needed to draw even MORE attention to his hair with Tatsuki's damned insistence on dying the tips of it black. Oh well.

Either way, it wouldn't last forever, and after dodging no less than 4 attempts to grab his ass -- girls made no sense, as it seemed no matter how much they avoided him when they were sober, once drunk he became some sort of prime-choice meat -- it seemed as though the safest place was in the corner, with his back against the wall. At least there, he could scowl and glare his way out of any attempts at getting him to actually dance to this shit. Not because he couldn't dance. Oh no, Kurosaki Ichigo wasn't about to admit anything to that fact. He could dance. Probably. Maybe.

Well, it didn't matter anyway because ability or lack thereof aside, he wasn't going to dance. If the collection of gyrations and flailing limb movements that made up the majority of what people were doing could be called "dancing". Oh, and he couldn't forget the glowsticks. Those fucking annoying things that everyone wrapped themselves in at these sorts of get-togethers, and that some idiot in equally idiotic clothes and stupid shoes always seemed ready to thread on strings and swing. Like he was some kind of circus performer. Glancing out at the cluster of people doing just that, Ichigo mentally hoped they hit one another with those things. At least Tatsuki hadn't insisted on attaching those stupid trinkets to HIS clothes. Maybe she'd decided to count her victories and leave it at that.

Goddamn stupid rave. The fuck is up with this shit anyway, dragging me here? She's being more of a bitch than Rukia.

That was, he supposed, the one good thing about this evening. That the petite shinigami, with her perpetually-barbed tongue, was conspicuously absent from the proceedings. Not that he'd have expected Rukia of all people to be at a rave. It would have been like Ishida being at a shinigami family reuinion or some other stupid shit like that. And if she WERE here, she'd have just been her usual bitch self, and probably never let him live this down. She was irritating like that. One minute she could actually manage to be pleasant, or they could actually have something along the realm of normalcy -- usually during those quiet moments they spent here and there just sitting and watching the stars on his roof or the like -- and the next she'd have her foot planted in his face and be grinding the heel of her shoe into his forehead.

Ichigo wondered if he should point out to her sometime that it was only because he was NOT as much of an asshole as she liked to think, that he closed his eyes when she did that, rather then taking in what most guys would have said was a rather lucky view. No, probably best not to. She'd just hit him again. Glancing up at a commotion -- though how he heard it over the roaring thump of the electronic shit pouring out of the speakers he'd never know -- Ichigo studied the cluster of people surrounding Tatsuki, all wearing that same sort of stupid pseudo goth shit she'd forced on him.

Watching, only mildly interested, he let eyes wander over the group assembled around his friend. It looked like they were playing some sort of game, forming into a circle and then blindfolding one person and shoving them into the middle then trying to make them guess whoever sidled up against them to "dance". Well that was dumb. Anyone who put on a blindfold and let someone they couldn't even identify get that close seriously needed to have their head examined. Not to mention where some of those hands were going was barely legal. He snickered as one such hand got a little too close for Tatsuki's comfort and it's owner let out a yelp as he jerked back the much-abused appendage. Served the bastard right, thinking he could get away with that with Tatsuki.

Ichigo's attention was drawn from the momentary amusement it had found in the other boy's pain as the group shoved their newest "victim" into the center of the ring. A girl, short and slight, dressed in the typical crap they were all wearing. Narrowing eyes, he shook his head as, for a moment, the girl almost looked like Rukia. A blink, then a rubbing of eyes, and his jaw dropped.

No. That WAS Rukia. At least... he was relatively certain it was.

But... Rukia didn't dress like that. She always wore dresses or skirts, never baggy wide-legged pants that hung dangerously low on her hips, or tight-fitting tee-shirts that left her midsection bared for everyone to see. And yet...there she was, in just such an outfit, complete with arm-warmers and spiked cuffs and those annoying coloured streamers in her hair like it seemed every other girl in this place was sporting.

The hell is she doing here?! And...since when does Rukia know how to

His mental retorts trailed off with a gulp of suddenly-dry throat as he found himself privy to the knowledge that not only could Kuchiki Rukia dance, but she could dance quite well. And...she looked...good doing it... Shaking his head to clear the sudden inexplicable cobwebs, he tore his eyes away from what was a very unexpectedly enticing sight and grabbed another cup of mystery-fluid. He'd need it, if THIS is what the night had in store. It was totally un-natural, that's what it was. Rukia was not supposed to wear revealing things, much less look attractive, desirable, sexy in them! It went against some sort of fundamental law in Ichigo's brain that kept Kuchiki Rukia and sex firmly situated as far apart from each other as he could cram them.

Except... that law was an especially flexible law, when he wasn't concentrating on it. Kind of like that one time he'd caught himself watching her sit at her desk and chew on her pen, finding himself strangely wishing he were the pen. THAT line of thought had gotten him a hurried dash to the roof with some sort of mumbled explanation about stomachaches and headcolds. At least she hadn't come after him. For some unknown reason. Maybe she'd sensed that whatever was going on fell under the realm of "guy stuff" and wisely decided not to interfere.

Downing his new drink nearly as fast as he had the first one, he wiped an arm across his forehead, attention pulled unerringly back to the cluster of people, listening to them cheer and yell as the object of his attention wove her arms together over her head, hips moving in tandem to the electronic beat. She laughed as one of the other girls darted up and slipped the folded bandana across her eyes with a giggle. Tying it, the other girl gave Rukia's shoulder a shove, spinning her around and back into the middle of the circle. Orange eyebrows pulled together into a deeper scowl as he watched Keigo and the other guys one at a time have their "turn" with her, not noticing the low growl that rose in his throat when Keigo's hands strayed a little south of where HE thought they should go.

Why the hell doesn't she hit him? He's got his hands all over her, the fuck isn't he lying on the ground in pieces? She'd do it if it were ME. Hell, if I so much as got near her like that, I'd be bleeding.

It made NO SENSE. Rukia wasn't like that, Rukia didn't let guys get close like that. Maybe...maybe it was the drinks! Yes, it had to be the drinks. Someone must have slipped her something stronger. Idiot, didn't she know better than to take things like that from people? Oh god, or maybe someone had slipped her one of the myriad of drugs that he just knew were getting passed around. Either way, she was going to end up in some sort of trouble if she kept this up.

Ignoring the fact that he was currently sounding less like a concerned friend and more like a jealous and overbearing boyfriend, he shoved his way through the crowd and leveled a menacing glare at the one guy who was currently waiting for his chance. With a startled bleat and widened blue eyes, the dark-haired stranger backpedaled away, the look in Ichigo's eyes the only thing he needed to see to make him decide that he'd rather be anywhere than here. Watching for a moment as the distraction made himself scarce, the orange-haired teen turned his attention back to Rukia, watching the petite girl as she swayed in time to the music, amber-brown eyes studying the contours of her face, the way lips were turned up into a smile, the subtle hint of colour in her cheeks, the way black hair swayed against the graceful curve of her neck as it dipped down to her shoulders.

Swallowing past the inexplicable lump in his throat, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the slight curves that -- though he'd never have admitted it before -- were all the figure that Rukia really needed. She'd have looked imbalanced with any more, and somehow the slight roundness her form possessed in all the right places seemed to be nothing short of perfect. Made all the more noticable by the way she moved. It was hypnotic, somehow, the way her hips rolled in time with the beat, gentle rhythem only ensuring that the oxygen level in the room seemed to be decreasing steadily. Or maybe it was that his head seemed to be pulsing in time with the mindless thump of the electronica.

Neither seemed to have much to do with the way his palms were sweating -- which obviously had to do with the heat in the room, because there was no WAY he was nervous. It was just Rukia, right? -- or the frantic way his heart seemed about ready to beat it's way out of his chest as he stalked past the surprised stares, gaping jaws, and Tatsuki's suppressed laughter to stand in front of her.

From her vantage point at the edge of the circle, Tatsuki could barely manage to hold back the initial gape of surprise, and then the stifled guffaw as the very person who had seemed the least interested in this entire thing came skulking through the crowd to throw his weight around in a figurative sense. One hand over tightly clenched lips, she watched with no small amount of amusement as Ichigo intimidated the other boy out of the way and then just stood there, staring at Rukia.

Idiot, you look like a stranded fish. And you sit there and argue that you're not interested in her like that? Pathetic.

The black-haired girl couldn't deny that at first, she'd been fooled as well by her taller friend's loud and often-frantic assertions that he and the petite young woman in the center of the circle were not involved, that they were merely friends and there was nothing between them. And... maybe that was true, in the literal sense. They weren't a couple, weren't dating, didn't show any outward signs that they were anything but friends. And at first... she'd believed them when they said there weren't any feelings there, that there wasn't something just below the surface. But that was before she'd actually taken the time to watch them. To watch the way they interacted, the way they spoke to each other, looked at each other. Sure, they nearly always beat the crap out of each other -- well, Rukia usually was the one doing the beating, while Ichigo did the yelling -- but there was more to it then that, she just had a hunch. You could see it when Rukia was walking in front of Ichigo, and his eyes somehow never left her form, no matter what else he may have been doing. And you could see it in the way Rukia would watch the door after school when she was waiting for him so they could walk home together.

Tatsuki snickered to herself as she watched Ichigo size up Rukia. An Ichigo who seemed somehow a lot more nervous than she'd seen him before. But then, being suddenly faced with an image of the girl you secretly lusted after, looking much more inviting and appealing could do that to a guy, she supposed. Grinning, she couldn't help but feel that it served Ichigo right. The boy was too uptight so much of the time, and too in-control of everything. It was a nice change to see him taken down a peg or two by something so simple. Raising her voice over the roar of the music, she called out to the other girl.

"Oi! Rukia! Got another one for you, see if you can guess!"

With a spin and a swivel of her hips, Rukia laughed, tossing streamers over her shoulders and tilting her head back with a nod. This was fun, and she had to thank Tatsuki both for helping her find something to wear, and for showing her how this sort of dancing went. It wasnt actually all that hard. Mostly a matter of just relaxing and letting your body flow with the beat. Almost like swordplay, in a way. Which was probably why she'd been able to pick it up so quickly. Hearing footsteps, she turned around to where she knew said mystery person must obviously be standing, flashing them one of her usual fake smiles, though this one was tinged with a bit of real mirth.

"Gonna give it a try?"

Swallowing at her smile -- why the hell did she have to lick her lips like that, was she trying to entice some mystery whomever -- he took a deep breath before he slipped up behind her, hands tentatively resting at her waist, pulling her back against him to rest in the cradle of his hips. It was such a risky move, as she was just as likely to kick his ass were she to realize who it was that was pressed so close to her, hands splayed over heated skin that carried with it the faintest sheen of sweat from the exercise. Allowing dark eyes to close, he dropped his head, simply allowing the press of her body against his to lead his movements, the soft sway of her hips tugging them both in tandem with the music. He could do this. It was just dancing, after all.

For a moment, she wasn't sure if the mystery stranger was actually going to take her up on her offer and join the game, then she felt the warmth of another behind her, and found her hips pulled back against a larger body, wide hands resting somewhat hesitantly on her hips. With a slight smirk, she shifted, pressing her hips back against him with a slow weaving motion, listening to the pulse of the techno. He seemed nervous, whoever he was, but hopefully he would loosen up a bit. Now she just had to figure out who he was.

Hmmmm...too tall for Keigo...not big enough for Sado...Mizuiro's shorter...hmm...

It wasn't as though those were the only choices, they just happened to be the first ones that jumped to mind. Well ok, not the first ones, but the first name that jumped to mind was purely ridiculous. He wouldn't be dancing with her, despite the fact that she'd noticed him sulking in the corner. At least, she thought it was him. Either way, his attitude ruled him out. Which meant she had to figure it out on her own. Leaning back slightly, back pressing against a hard, muscled chest, feeling his arms slip around her waist, palms resting lightly over her hips, it was easy to mistake him for Ichigo. If she closed her eyes, she could paint a mental picture of the orange-haired shinigami. Broad shoulders tapering down into trim hips, stretching down into long legs -- she knew they were long, as there was an ample amount of shin for her to kick -- much like whoever was pressed up against her back right now.

It's not him. He wouldn't have the guts to make a move like that, even if he would have wanted to.

If she'd had her eyes open, she may have realized the error of her assumption. Although, while he'd had the guts to make the move -- and it had taken a good amount of them -- Ichigo was finding himself at a loss in regards to what his next move should have been. Did he just keep dancing, until she figured it out and decked him? Or... did he find some relatively painless way to extricate himself from what had quickly turned into a dangerous situation as her backside pressed up against his hips as she shifted slightly closer. Oh...that wasn't good. Rukia or not, if she kept that up for long... well, he was a teenage boy, wasn't he? There were bound to be some problems. But getting out of the situation was a bit trickier than it might have otherwise been, considering the fact that they were in the middle of a ring of people who were all watching him. Damn annoying bystanders, the hell did they need to watch for? Oh yeah. It was part of the game. Which meant that he needed to try that much harder to hide the nervous swallow as Rukia leaned her head back against him, hips still moving with that maddeningly captivating rhythm.

Realizing that at the moment he was mostly just standing there -- likely looking a bit stupid since she was moving and he wasn't -- after another nervous swallow and a deep breath, he let amber-brown eyes drift closed as his grip on her hips firmed slightly, listening to the music and begining to move in time with her gentle swaying. Ok, so it wasn't so hard. It was actually... kind of nice. She fit so well up against him, somehow so much smaller than he'd thought she was before. Almost unbidden, his hands slid up a bit, moving from resting on her hips to circling her waist that was so small his fingers nearly met around it. Dropping his head, he couldn't shake the urge to bury his face in her hair, inhaling that scent that seemed strangely remniscent of strawberry.

For her part, Rukia was a bit surprised as hands slipped up to curl around her waist, drawing her even closer, feeling face nuzzling her hair. It was good to see that he was relaxing, but if he went much further she was going to have to deal with him. It wasn't as though it was Ichigo, or someone else she knew, after all. And if it had been Ichigo, she'd... well, honestly she wasn't really sure what she'd have done if it was the substitute shinigami who was holding her like this, burying his face in her hair, tightening arms around her midsection as his hips rocked against her as the beat of the song began to pick up. Still, it was part of the game. Resting her own small hands on his elbows, she slid them down to cover his hands, pausing at one wrist. Fingertips rubbed softly over a raised portion of skin. A scar, one she recognized. But... no, it couldn't be. Could it? Smiling slightly to herself, she continued to let hands slide down his hands. That was it. How she could be sure. Letting fingertips glide over warm skin, she could feel every scar, every imperfection. And... she knew them all. Rukia wasn't about to admit that the reason she knew them all was because of the way she watched him. The way she studied him, committing every look, every glance, every move he made to memory.

So it is you after all, you orange-haired idiot...

Raising her chin to lean her head back on his chest again, the black-haired shinigami could feel herself relax, hands slipping around his in a loose grip as a smile slipped across her face. So this was how it worked, in safe and easy annonymity, where he could be fairly sure that she wouldn't know him, wouldn't figure it out. But that was about to change. For all that she wasn't really any more adept at dealing with feelings than he was, that didn't mean that Rukia hadn't figured out a few things of her own. For instance, the reason why she caught herself watching whenever he was training, finding herself captivated by his easy movements and the catlike grace he seemed to always possess, like a coiled spring ready to be released. Or the way she'd developed a rather unprecedented preference for the colour orange. Or... a lot of things, really. The way she'd crack the closet door at night and watch him sleep, or the way her heartbeat always sped up whenever they'd go hollow hunting and she'd ride on his back -- he was faster then she was, so it just made sense that way -- with her chest pressed up against the firm muscles of his shoulders. Or even the smaller, simpler things. Like the look on his face on those rare occasions when they simply sat together on the roof, watching the sky, and the way that she wanted to always see his face with that peaceful expression, wanted to be the cause of it. Kurosaki Ichigo might not have loved her... but Kuchiki Rukia had long-since stopped denying -- at least to herself, when she was being honest and swallowing her pride. Which wasn't often -- that she loved him.

Either way, this was a chance she wasn't about to waste. was just a fluke and he was just playing along -- it probably was, given her luck -- but she was going to enjoy it while she could. Tightening her grip on his arms, she sighed, relaxing against him, shoulders and hips moving against him in time with the electronic pulse of the music. This could actually work to her benefit, in a way. If thinking that she didn't know it was him made him relax to this point... then maybe she could use the impromptu situation to her advantage and make him see a few things she hadn't known how to show him.

It was getting harder and harder to keep his head, to not get lost in the rhythem of the song, the feel of her slight body pressed against his, the tantalizing way she smelled, the feel of her arms as she raised them and reached up to loop them around his neck over her head, swaying in time with the music and pulling him with her. Harder to ignore the way he was nearly panting, face in her hair, lips somehow finding their way unerringly to the side of her face and neck as his arms slid around her, one across her hips and the other across her chest, holding her tightly to him as he forgot everything else, forgot the fact that everyone was watching, that he hated raves, that he was stepping -- leaping, if it were really said -- over so many boundaries and lines and red tape that he himself had errected in some sort of -- obviously futile, given how easily they were broken down -- attempt to deny to himself that one simple fact.

He wanted her. Needed her. Craved the touch, the contact. That he'd wanted it for so long he'd forgotten how it felt to not want it. To not be so overly conscious of her presense in his closet only feet away, so maddeningly near and yet at the same time so far away. To not have to avert his eyes and stammer out something scathing every time she got in his face and started to yell at him, just to distract himself from how badly he wanted to simply back her up against the nearest wall and plunder her mouth with his own. To not savor every accidental touch, all the times she'd trip and he'd catch her, only to be met with a foot in his face or some other form of punishment -- not that it wasn't worth it, for the chance to feel her slight form in his arms.

Rukia would have been lying if she'd tried to say she wasn't enjoying this, wasn't enjoying him. He'd finally relaxed, arms winding tighter around her, more like those of a lover than just a dance partner. Not that she cared, or minded. In fact, if she closed her eyes and just let herself go, she could find her way back into her own mind, back into her own fantasies where he held her like this and whispered things into her ears. Those dreams and whimsical thoughts where his lips lit fire along her skin and they moved together in an entirely different sort of dance, one that was far older then anything in his life or hers. And then it was as though she could feel his lips against her skin, pressing sweet, gentle kisses to the side of her neck, and it seemed so real, so perfect that her voice betrayed her in an unbidden sigh and soft gasp of his name.

Truthfully, he'd already lost this "game" the moment he'd felt her relax against him, had given in to the sweet temptation of having her there, so close, in his arms. And he hardly registered the fact that his arms had tightened further, that his lips were dropping soft caresses down the side of her throat, palms sliding up slim arms and back down to glide over the bare skin of her stomach as he pulled her even closer into his embrace, suddenly not sure if he'd ever be able to let her go when the song ended, to let this moment slip away into oblivion the way so many other almost-moments already had. And then he heard her sigh, heard the soft murmer of his name, felt her fingers tighten on his hand, her head tilt to the side to give him better access and it was a struggle between his sense of self-preservation -- because he was most certainly about to get pounded for this -- and another sense that somehow recognized a different tone in her voice, and balled that tone together with the palpable need to taste more of her skin, to be closer to her.

Which won out, as he decided that any beating she might dole out would have been worth it, dropping his head back to the side of her neck, lips caressing the warm skin he found there as hands slid across her stomach, fingertips sliding just barely under the hem of the shirt, resting against her abdomen as he pulled away long enough to whisper in her ear.

"Beat me up after the song's over."

It really only took a moment for that previously-disengaged portion of his mind to snap back into place. Did...he just say THAT? Swallowing reflexivly, he paused in what he was doing long enough to send frenzied brain hurrying back over the last 20 seconds or so. Ok... dancing with Rukia. Nibbling on Rukia's neck -- oh god, what possessed him to do that, and why did it have to be so good that he never wanted to stop, just wanted more. Telling said shinigami that she should LET him keep doing it. Oh. Yeah. THAT. He did actually say that. Or at least... say something that very closely resembled "just shut up and let me molest you and then you can beat me up later".

Oh great, that was real brilliant you fuckwhit. Now she'll just beat you up sooner, rather than later.

Slowly, almost mechanically, he forced each finger to lift, hands beginning to pull back, sliding away from their coveted position of pressed against the skin on her stomach. Except... that same motion was interrupted by the tightening of her fingers around his wrists. Not much, just enough to communicate that she didn't want him to move. Odd as that was.


He nearly fell over at the single, simple word falling from her lips. Alright? How the hell could it be alright?! He was all over her, about 3 steps from just letting go of his control and spinning her around and kissing her like the world depended on it, and she said it was "alright"?! There were a lot of things in life that were confusing, and a lot of things that were difficult to figure out, but there were some things... that just simply did NOT compute. And the idea of Kuchiki Rukia somehow, in some weird twisted figment of reality -- because that must have been what this was -- being somehow content with the idea of him making his way steadily towards second base -- if that were possible without kissing, since he really hadnt had the guts to make that move yet -- was most definitely one of those things that did not compute.

", Rukia are you sick or something?!"

Yet another brilliant move. Take a very real, very true gift of an opportunity, and turn it back on itself. Bright, dumbass. Real bright. Well, if she hadn't planned on killing him before, he was certain that she probably would now that he'd drawn attention to the fact that she'd seemingly taken leave of all her senses. He grit his teeth, mentally beating himself in the head. Yup. He'd likely just signed his own death warrent.

"No. Do I have to be sick to actually agree with you?"

There it was again, that deceptively level tone, lacking in any of it's normal bite. Fuck, why couldn't she just get it over with and kick the shit out of him already?! It was fucking unnerving to have her seem so... so OK with this! And oh god, she was still weaving hips back and forth against him, in spite of it all. Fighting back the urge to crush her against him and do... well, things he wasn't going to think about, he was about to say something, to DO something that might make her act well... NORMAL. But before he got the chance, she had started speaking again.

"Is it really that hard to consider that I might actually be OK with this, Ichigo? I don't think I have to ask if you are, you're making it pretty clear you know. Or is this just a game, trying to see if I'd actually let you get this close if I didn't know it was you?"

"It's not a fucking game! It' can you mean you're ok with it?! I'm...why aren't you hitting me?!"

Rukia sighed, her body's rhythem slowing to a stop until they were just standing there, barely swaying, her back resting against his chest. Closing her eyes, she let her head lean back, crown of dark hair pressing against the fabric behind it. Could he really not comprehend that she might actually be... fond of him? That she could actually want this sort of attention? Or... was it just that he didn't want the same thing, and he -- in typical Ichigo fashion -- didn't know any other way to just say it?

"Oh for the- do you want me to hit you? Would that make you feel better? God, you fucking idiot if you aren't interested would you just SAY something, and stop acting like a retard?!"

Shoving him away with a disgusted snarl and a stomp to one foot, she wove her way through the crowds towards the exit near the back. God, what a moron. Did men NEVER understand when you were trying to tell them you liked them?! Or were they all just thick-skulled idiots like the one she'd attached herself to apparently was. Barely noticing the people who exclaimed in outrage as she shoved them aside, she focused everything on her goal. The glowing exit sign up ahead. Fine. If he wasn't interested, and she'd just made a foot of herself, then fine. So be it. He could just go rot. Or at least... that was how she felt now. Later... she knew it wouldn't be the same, not when she had to face him again.

He simply stood there for a moment in stunned shock before he took off after her with a snarl, ruthlessly tossing aside anyone that got in his path. Not interested?! The fuck was screwed up in her head? His longer strides made it too easy, far too damned easy to catch up to her. Strong fingers wrapping around her upper arm, he dragged her behind him around the corner into the hallway before he all but threw her against the wall, following to pin her there, arms a cage around her, his body pressing hers against the wall as he brought his mouth down on hers hard, tongue pushing past lips parted in surprise to plunder her mouth as his hands slipped off of the wall, one winding around her waist and the other tangling itself into her hair and craning her neck back to allow him to slant his mouth and deepen the kiss even further. Pulling back enough to suck in a hurried breath of air, he dove back in, crushing her lips beneath his, one hand fisting in the back of her shirt.

"Not interested? Not interested?! Goddammit Rukia, don't you get it!? It's all I can do to keep from... from just...god, and you think I'm not interested? The fuck is wrong with you?!"

Never mind that he'd never really given it much thought before. That could all be blamed on months of denial. Simple, therapy-worthy, but it worked. And... maybe it was true. Because with every touch, every taste of lips or skin he wanted more. Needed more. Wondered how the fuck he'd even been able to function without it, without touching her, holding her, ravaging her the way he was now. Forcing himself back away from her, gasping for breath, he leveled lust-filled brown eyes on her.

"I want you so bad I can hardly stand it, so don't stand there and say I'm not fucking interested, Rukia!"

Stumbling back as he released her, Rukia could hardly manage to stand. Not just from the kiss -- and how the hell did he learn to kiss like that anyway -- but from the entirety of it all. His... well, when it boiled down to it, it was a confession, wasn't it? Panting slightly, she stared up at him, a question in her eyes. If he meant what she thought he meant... then everything would just fall into place, all the tension and aggravation and stress that she'd pent up in silence could be released, let go. He had to know she felt the same way, otherwise... she didn't think he'd ever have done anything like what he just had. And then there was always the way she'd responded, which was in itself pretty telling.

"Ichigo...are you...does that"

Dammit, she was talking too much again. She always talked too much. It was one of those things about her that irritated the hell out of him. But at least that was something he could remedy. And in a moment, he did just that, cupping her face in his hands and once more covering her mouth with his.

"Rukia. Shut up. Just... shut up."

It was just another kiss, but somehow this one was... different. Sweeter, more meaningful, set distant and apart from the previous one, all full of lust and need and pent-up tension and desire. Because... even though this one still carried all of those things, there was a slowness to it, a lack of the hurried frenzy and need to prove a point, get a message across. Violet eyes slid shut slowly as she relaxed, kissing him back with all the emotion she could pour into it, arms slipping up to wind around his neck, fingers tangling in black-tipped orange hair.

He didn't really know what to say, how to... explain things. Just... that he wanted this, wanted her. And somewhere between his fingers curling themselves into the back of her shirt, and her arms wrapping around his neck, it just all made sense. And... he didn't need to say anything, didn't need to explain, to expound. This... this was enough. Finally pulling lips from hers, he hardly even thought as he wrapped arms tightly around her, burying his face in her hair and closing his eyes. This... was right.