Author's Note: This is my first Bleach fic, and it is inspired from a show that I used to watch back in the late 80's titled Moonlighting. I used the David/Maddie/Sam arc in that story here… and if you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, just read my story! You'll love it, I promise!
I need a beta reader for this story… interested parties can contact me through my profile. This is not edited so please excuse any errors you may encounter.
The alarm clock buzzed briefly as Ichigo threw his covers over his head, groaning into his pillow. Now a senior, he dreaded going to school now. Life just seemed to be more complicated ever since he became a Shinigami.
In the span of a few years Ichigo managed to save Rukia's life in The Soul Society, and then Orihime in the Hueco Mundo. To top that all off; he was still killing hollows in his town when he returned. His already non-existent social life was dwindling down into nothing more than a short hello and goodbye to his friends and family. Now school was back in session… and already his father was hounding him about what universities he should be applying to. It truly sucked being Ichigo Kurosaki right now.
And now he had a new problem. Even though he was a bit busier than usual, it didn't tear him away from the fact that he noticed something was wrong with Rukia. She had become more distant lately; never maintaining longer conversations with him like she always did. And there were moments she would disappear for hours, sometimes days at a time. This was a genuine concern for Ichigo; not only was she his soul-reaping partner, she was his friend, they were close and there wasn't anything they couldn't talk about. And more importantly, this world was vastly different from hers; she could unknowingly get mugged or attacked by someone if she wasn't careful. Ichigo shook his head and laughed to himself, sitting up in his bed as he thought about some punk trying to grab Rukia… she would easy put him on his ass if that happened.
Okay, she can defend herself… Ichigo argued to himself as he stepped into the hot spray of the shower. Then why did she have to disappear so frequently? He was going to get to the bottom of this, today.
He only hoped she would actually come to school so he could confront her about it.
Walking briskly down the hallway, Ichigo made way to the classroom. He was distracted briefly by his classmates, but he easily thwarted them. Walking in, he noticed Rukia sitting at her assigned seat, simply reading a book. Instantaneously, their eyes met over the expanse of the classroom. Rukia was the first to tear her eyes away from his and continued reading her book, attempting to ignore him. She must have noticed the wary look in his eyes; no doubt she wanted to avoid any- and all- conversation with him.
"Oi," Ichigo said as he stopped in front of her desk. "What's up?"
"Nothing." Rukia quickly replied, her eyes still fastened on her book.
"Rukia." Ichigo called out to her, his tone deep and serious. She looked up at him, his arm bent at the elbow with his schoolbag thrown over one shoulder. His uniform; though neatly ironed and clean, was never buttoned at the very top- as required by school regulations. It was always unbuttoned a few buttons down, revealing his casual tee shirt. Today he was wearing his black tee with the flaming red and yellow skull.
He searched her eyes, hoping she would tell him what was wrong. The dead silence told him different; she wasn't revealing anything. "I want you to tell me what's wrong." Ichigo implored, trying hard not sound whinny or desperate. She hated when he sounded like that.
"There's nothing wrong, Ichigo." Rukia replied curtly, her eyes starting to drift back to her book. This apparently pissed Ichigo off royally. He reached out, snapped the book down onto the desk. Rukia glowered; supremely irritated at his continual persistence. "What the hell!" she cried angrily.
"Exactly, what the hell," Ichigo repeated back at her, leaning down towards her, his scowl deeper than ever. "You're gonna tell me what the hell is bothering you, I'm sick of this!"
Before she could retort, the school bell rang, and the other classmates rushed to their seats. Ichigo stood, rolled his eyes at the tiny death-god before he sat down next to her. He was going to make sure she didn't run out on him this time… he was going to get to follow her into hell if that was what it took to get the truth out of her.
Rukia was annoyed by the end of the day. Not only did Ichigo follow her all around school today, but he even walked her to Orihime's house. She asked Orihime if she could stay with her a month ago; telling Ichigo that even though it was very hospitable of his family to let her stay there; she felt like a third wheel.
They were already halfway there when Rukia stopped; clutching her school books close to her chest she finally spoke.
"Alright… you've followed me all day. What do you want?" She snapped.
Ichigo sighed and walked around to face her, noticing her irritated frown. "I just wanna know… what's the matter?"
"What's the matter," Rukia snorted as she repeated his words back at him, her eyes now following the cracks along the sidewalk. "If you knew it would only satisfy your own curiosity. It wouldn't help me."
"Then let me try," Ichigo said honestly, his hand falling on her shoulder. She gazed up at him, the sunset cascading down behind him, the breeze blowing his orange stands of hair, making him look mature. "I thought we were friends, Rukia."
"We are," Rukia replied softly. "It's just that this isn't a friend thing."
Ichigo's already furrowed eyebrows crumpled even more. "Then what could it be? It can't be that bad," Ichigo assured her.
"Oh… it's bad alright." Rukia said as she shook her head in futility.
"We could always talk about things, Rukia," Ichigo spoke quietly, hoping his calming tone would reassure her of his concern. "Whatever's mixing you up or is causing you pain… I want to know about it. Just tell me what you're feeling."
Rukia paused, turning her back to Ichigo as her head tilted back, taking in the wondrous view of the sunset on the horizon. "Ichigo, I feel alone… yet surrounded at the same time."
Ichigo nodded, his hands now folding in front of him as she began to confess. "Okay."
"I feel trapped, or kind of… restrained … like a bird in a cage about to break free."
Ichigo raised a puzzled eyebrow at her metaphor; but nonetheless he tried to understand her predicament. Maybe she was just feeling homesick for the Soul Society. "…That's understandable." He said slowly.
Rukia whirled around to face him, the expression on her face one he'd never seen before. Her eyes twinkled with a gleam of something wild. "Do you know what I want to do? Do you really want to know what this is all about?" Rukia paused, closing her eyes as she took a deep breath just contemplating what she wanted to say. She opened her eyes, looking back at the now very confused Ichigo when she spoke, "I would like to just go out there, you know…out somewhere in town… just find some guy, not even ask his name… and go to a hotel and just be bad."
"What?" Ichigo croaked, his eyes widening at what she said. But she wasn't listening. She was too wrapped up into her own fantasy to realize.
"I would be so bad… It would be so wonderful… and not even ask his name…"
"I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THIS!" Ichigo injected loudly, his hands crossing each other in the 'stop' motion. They both stood there silently, staring at each other. Ichigo now knew what that look was on Rukia's face. It was lust. She frowned, placing a hand on her hip, and narrowed her eyes.
"Right." She scoffed as she shook her head in incredulity. "Well it's nice to know that we can confide in our friends." Rukia spoke coolly. Ichigo didn't respond; he continued to stare at her in total shock at what he heard. "What's with that expression on your face? You wouldn't be picking your chin up off the floor if you were having this conversation with Chad or Keigo."
"You're damn right I wouldn't be," Ichigo replied quickly.
Rukia let out an exasperated sigh as she began to walk away. "Stupid Rukia, I'm always forgetting… what's good for the goose is forbidden for the gander!"
"Oi… where are you going?" Ichigo asked as he ran behind her.
"Out." Rukia replied, never looking back at him.
"Out… out where?" He asked in a panicked voice.
"Out. Out there." She answered simply.
"Look Rukia… don't go out there and do something stupid." He pleaded.
"I've already done something stupid. I talked to you." She replied nastily.
"What would make you want to do this Rukia?" Ichigo asked as he grabbed her arm, forcing her to look at him. She didn't give an answer; she just simply glared at him. After a few seconds, Ichigo tilted his head to one side, a small smirk curling on the end of his mouth. She was bluffing. This was only some feeble attempt to get his attention. "You're going home." He said clearly. "You're going home and you're going to bed before eight like you always do." He his tone was mocking, but it came off more as an order than a proclamation.
Rukia never spoke; only brushing a stray hair out of her eyes. Ichigo's smirk disappeared, and the scowl returned as he gave her a good shake to let her know he's serious. "Look me in the eye and tell me you're going home." Ichigo waited for her reply, but she still stood there, her stoic expression not faltering. He frowned, confused at her demeanor and reluctance. "Why are you so… unhappy?"
"My chastity belt is pinching me." Rukia snapped, breaking free from his grasp and stormed down the sidewalk angrily. "Good bye."
Ichigo watched Rukia's retreating figure, puzzled at what she told him. He turned, walking home as her words repeated over and over in his head, making his stomach churn with sickness. The mere thought of Rukia acting reckless and out of control with a total stranger no less- was not a pleasing image; in fact it was damn near disturbing!
Ichigo stopped in his tracks, realizing that Rukia was dead serious of her intentions. Fear stabbed at his gut, and before his mind knew what his body was doing, he was turning around and dashing down the sidewalk, top speed. There was no way he would allow her to do something so stupid. In spite of her lewd confession, she was his friend and he had to keep her from making the worst mistake of her life.
He slowed down, thinking how Rukia would react if he would try, yet again, to save her. He decided to follow her tonight, to see where she went and to make sure she didn't get into any trouble. That's all, Ichigo thought to himself. I just want to make sure she's okay after all that crazy talk earlier. He approached Orihime's house, and crossed the street to the dark alleyway. He hid in the shadows and waited to see if Rukia would come out. He hoped deep down that she was only bluffing and wouldn't come out at all. But when the front door opened an hour later, Ichigo's worst fears were confirmed. He could hear Rukia talking to Orihime. Then he heard Orihime exclaim, "Have a good evening Rukia!" He ducked, making sure that Rukia didn't see him as she exited the house. He noticed she was no longer in her school attire; she had on a simple black dress with a red jacket and matching cap.
She's just going out for a walk, Ichigo convinced himself as he stealthy began to follow behind her. But when she began to walk into the seedy part of town where the all-night saloons and strip clubs were, he began to worry. He stood behind a corner and watched as Rukia walk into the infamous Paper Lateran, a bar that had a notorious reputation for being hunting grounds for lonely drunken men and women.
Ichigo growled low in his throat, angry that she would even have the nerve to walk into that place. Hell, he was only seventeen and they would definitely card him if he tried to come in. Rukia however was a different story. She had told him on numerous occasions she was much older than him and in all outward appearances did look older. But he also knew that the Paper Lateran didn't ID women, so it wouldn't be problem for her to enter.
When he knew she was inside, he rushed around the back of the building, creeping along the alley to find a window. Red and blue lights danced on the brick wall, and Ichigo noticed a window into the bar. He pulled up a trashcan and climbed up, looking in to see if he could locate Rukia. He gasped when he spotted her red hat and jacket just as she sat down at the bar.
"What will you have miss?" The bartender shouted over the music.
"Soda water please," Rukia said with a small smile. She looked down at the end of the bar, and noticed that five guys were already gawking at her. "You'd better make that a Kamikaze on the rocks." She amended quickly.
Rukia got her drink and got up to go sit a small table. It wasn't a minute later a tall, handsome man floated over, a drink in his hand.
"Mind if I join you?" The handsome man asked with a toothy smile.
Rukia smiled hesitantly and nodded, "Sure."
The man sat down, and they both just exchanged some nervous chuckles and smiles. "I saw when you walked in here," he said casually, "And I have to say that you are gorgeous."
"Oh… really?" Rukia said with her award-winning actress tone.
"Oh yeah. Makes a man wonder what a beautiful thing like you doing in a place like this?" He asked.
Rukia's smile faded a few degrees as she hunched her shoulders, taking a quick sip of her drink. "I just wanted to get out, I suppose."
"Me too. You know I was just thinking-" Right at that moment, the guy swung his hand and knocked his glass over on the table, the contents splashing all over Rukia's dress. She yelped, standing up as she tried to blot off as much alcohol as she could with a napkin. "Oh gosh… I'm so sorry about that. You made me so nervous." He said with a small chuckle.
"It's alright," Rukia tried to say in a pleasant tone, but damn it if this guy wasn't beginning to sound irritating. "I'll just go clean myself up in the restroom."
"You know I have a place right around the corner from here if you wanted to get cleaned up," The man offered quickly, which made Rukia look up at him suspiciously. He smiled as he added, "You know why you're here, baby. I'm here for it too. We can go over to my place, I'll get you out of that dress and get you cleaned up, real good."
Rukia couldn't believe the nerve of this guy. He wasn't discreet with his intentions. It anything it was definite turn off. She looked at him, staring back at her with that stupid toothy grin that made her want to smack it right off. She squared her shoulders, narrowing her eyes at him.
"I don't think so. Good night." Rukia turned on one heel and headed to the back of the club to find the women's restroom.
Ichigo snickered to himself. Having seen that little display he knew she would probably not pick this guy. What am I thinking? Ichigo thought to himself. I'm finding amusement at her turning a guy down who wanted to screw her? Ichigo shook his head, trying to rattle the visual image of her with some strange man. He watched her walk toward the back of the club, and presumed she was heading for the bathroom. He didn't have a good view of the back, so he kept his eye in that location until she came back out.
As she looked back at her reflection under the bright light of the restroom, Rukia fumed. She pulled down more paper towels to blot her dress, and then looked back at herself again.
What are you doing here? Rukia thought to herself. True, she was out here to get laid by some stranger… but once the opportunity presented itself it became so… unclean. Unhealthy. Unnatural. She really didn't want to do it this way, but she was sexually frustrated! She needed relief… badly.
That damn gigai was the blame. She was given permission to stay longer than usual in the human world recently, and since her stay her body was getting more and more human. A month ago to her shock and dismay she had her first period- which freaked her out until Orihime told her what it was.
Then the sexual urges began. It was an emotion that she felt was long gone… only experiencing once when she was young and living in the Rukongai. But even then the feelings were nothing compared what she was feeling right now. It was all she thought about… the intensity of the sensations were tens time more extreme than it had been in the Soul Society- which would explain why the Shinigami could conduct themselves with little or no emotion.
It first came on as a dull ache in her stomach and nether regions; making it difficult to ignore sometimes. Then it progressed into this throbbing, pulsating tingle that would rear its ugly head in the worst times, like in the middle of class. Rukia would squirm and shift around in her seat, pressing her thighs together to somehow abate the feeling. Her panties would be drenched by the end of the day… and in the evening when she would lay awake at night it became so distracting that she had to touch herself in order to find relief.
But she needed more.
So now she's resorted to getting a stranger to relieve this itch for her. Rukia snorted. Not one of my better ideas, she thought as she pulled her cap off her head, her jacket following. She laid them in the lounge chair that sat near the doorway, and returned to the mirror.
Rukia then began remembering how she went to Urahara Kisuke in a panic about the situation, explaining to him that the gigai may be defective…
He chuckled darkly at her distress when she explained the 'malfunctions' the gigai was giving her, only to say with much amusement, "Its only human sensations your feeling, that's all," Urahara said as he snapped his fan closed. A wicked grin curled on the end of his lips as he added, "They are intense, aren't they?"
"I don't want to feel intense," Rukia growled, grabbing the lapel of his robes. "I don't like feeling out of control."
"Then do something about it." Urahara replied, pulling his hat down further on his head, concealing his eyes. "That is the only advice I can give you. The only way to sate this yearning is to indulge in it. You'll be right as rain after that, Rukia-san."
Running her fingers through her hair, she looked up when a dark-haired woman wearing a black evening gown entered the restroom. Embarrassed for staring, Rukia turned back to the mirror, mussing her hair with her fingers nervously as she eyed the woman in the reflection of the mirror.
The woman stopped at the mirror, opening up a small compact as she applied her translucent concealer on her nose and cheeks.
"Not having a good night, honey?" The woman spoke to Rukia, her accent sounding like she was from some foreign country. Startled, Rukia looked over at her and blushed. "These men are sharks in here, honey. They have no problem with telling you they want to get into your pants."
Rukia let out an exasperated sigh, chuckling as she threw her hands up in the air. "You're not lying about that, they're despicable!" Relaxing around the woman's presence, she walked around the partition to the sink, and began washing her hands. "I don't even know why I came here tonight. Well… I do why I came here but now I realize that I don't have stoop down to this."
"Due tell, honey." The woman drawled as she closed her compact with a smirk.
"I guess what I'm looking for isn't in this place, that's for sure." Rukia said as she dried her hands. She paused, waiting to hear the woman respond, but there was none. "Hello…?" Rukia called out as she walked back around the partition, noticing the woman had left.
And her coat and hat was gone as well.
Ichigo's heart raced with alarm when he noticed Rukia walking towards the door with a guy sporting salt and peppered hair. What the hell? Ichigo thought to himself. She just went to the bathroom… right? How did she pick up a man near the restroom?
Leaping down from the trashcan, Ichigo dashed round to the front of the building just in time to see Rukia and her now chosen date hop into a black Mercedes and drive off. Panicking, Ichigo ran out to the curb and began waving for a taxi that was driving down towards him. The taxi pulled to the curb and Ichigo hopped in.
"Where to bub?" The taxi driver asked.
"Follow that black Mercedes!" Ichigo almost screamed.
The driver rolled his eyes and pulled off the curb, following the dark car down the street. Ichigo frantically looked ahead, keeping his eyes on the car in front of him when he noticed the taxi driver's eyes looking at him in the rear-view mirror.
"Wife or girlfriend?" The taxi driver asked.
Puzzled at the taxi driver's question, Ichigo scowled. "What did you just say?"
"The car we're following… is your wife or girlfriend in there?" The taxi driver asked again.
"Neither." Ichigo replied harshly. He was irritated with the mere intrusion of his question. "Can you just catch up to that car please?"
"So you're following a woman that isn't your wife or girlfriend all over town? Sounds strange if you ask me…" The taxi driver laughed lightly as he shook his head.
"She's just a friend I'm… watching over, okay? Can you just mind your damn business and drive this taxi?" Ichigo blurted out maliciously.
"Whatever kid," The taxi driver said as she rolled his eyes yet again. "You just have my fare ready when we stop."
The Mercedes finally stopped in front of a hotel a few blocks from the Paper Lateran, and Ichigo had the taxi stop a block back to let him out. He watched Rukia and the unknown man leave the vehicle with a valet as they walked inside the hotel, the unknown man now with his arm around Rukia's waist. Seeing that made Ichigo a little rattled; he just couldn't believe she was doing what she set out to do. He briskly walked into the hotel, making sure Rukia wouldn't see him as he had a seat in the lobby, pulling out a newspaper and unfolding to conceal his face.
He was close to the clerk's desk, and he could hear part of their conversation as the clerk gave them a room. When he heard the clerk say room 225, he got up and exited, heading around the back side of the hotel, climbing up storage drain to the second floor. One of the storage drains broke when he grabbed a hold of it, the murky water running all over his face and clothes. After climbing up he made it to a window that was on the second floor hallway. He ducked when he saw the elevator's door open and he saw Rukia and the unknown man walk out, their backs still turned to him as they walked down the corridor to the second door on the left. The moment they walked in, Ichigo was on his knees on the tiny ledge, crawling around to where he thought the room was.
As he crept by, he peered into each window, hoping he would see Rukia in one of the rooms. He cringed when he caught sight of a few people in the middle of heinous sexual acts as he looked in, and he prayed he wouldn't catch Rukia in one of those compromising positions. His knees were getting bloodied from the stones digging into his skin, and his hands ached from gripping the ledge. But he was determined to intervene and keep Rukia from making this grave mistake.
When he stared into one of the last windows on that side of the building he noticed a flash of red. It was Rukia's jacket and cap lying on the chair in the hotel room. Ichigo's heart leapt into his throat. His eyes then followed over to the where the bed was located, and he groaned.
With her back still facing him, Rukia was now embracing the unknown man, kissing him furiously. The man had his hands all over her body, occasionally his hands running down to her hips, grabbing them tightly.
No,no,no,no,no… ! Ichigo thought as panic wavered through his chest. He felt sickened to discover her this way… being handled and touched in a way that was too much for his mind to comprehend. Anger flashed through him, making him sweat with a sort a rage he never felt with her before. He watched as the man groped her, kissing and licking her neck and shoulders until the man's eyes opened and looked directly at Ichigo in the window.
"Hey goddamnit!" The man yelled.
Ichigo ducked, whimpering as he almost fell off the ledge. He tried to turn and scamper away, but it was too late. The man had opened the window, and Ichigo heard the clicking sound of a gun being cocked back.
"You're not going anywhere, fucker." The man growled. Ichigo stopped in his tracks, frozen with fear. "Now you turn your narrow ass around and crawl inside." As soon as he climbed over the window sill, the man pulled him in and slammed him into the wall face first.
"Look Rukia… I can explain," Ichigo spoke nervously as he felt the barrel of the gun press against his shoulder blade. "I know you're wondering why I followed you out here, but I was only looking out for…" Ichigo managed to turn is head to look at her, only to find that he wasn't staring back at Rukia. It was some woman, same height; same hair color as Rukia… but it wasn't Rukia. "…You? Who are you lady?"
The man slammed Ichigo's face against the wall again, making him groan. "Seems like we need to ask you that question," The man yelled. "Who the hell is Rukia?"
"She's a friend I was following tonight, but now since I know this isn't Rukia she could be off doing something with someone else." Ichigo rattled out, his heart being hard in his chest. "So can you let me go please?"
"Do you know this kid, baby?" The man asked the woman, and she shook her head. "Well I ain't letting you go until I figure out what's going on asshole."
"Well that's fine dude…" Ichigo laughed evenly, trying to make light of the situation. "But if I have to stay here then what about that guy out on the ledge?"
The man looked over at the window, looking for the second intruder as Ichigo slipped out of his grasp, and made a grab for the gun. The man and Ichigo began to tussle and rolled around the floor, the gun going off one time but barely missing them both. Just as Ichigo managed to overpower the man and was on top of him, the woman came up behind him with a vase and crashed it over his head. Stunned, Ichigo turned around to gaze at the woman standing in front of him, his vision blurring.
"Are you sure you're not Rukia? You sure hit like her…" Ichigo grumbled as he fell backwards, and suddenly all was black.
A dull ache in his head roused him awake, and he moaned as he rubbed his temples. He was lying on his back on the floor, and as he began to sit up he felt something on his legs holding him down. Looking down the length of his legs, Ichigo went rigid with shock when he noticed the thing that held his leg down was the man he was fighting with earlier lying there… dead. His mouth was lying open, his eyes rolled back in his head. Ichigo instantly kicked the man off of him, scooting back across the floor on his behind. The pain from being hit in the head was lifting, and he struggled to recall what had happened. He remembered being pulled into the room by the now dead man, and discovering that the woman he had been following all night wasn't Rukia…
The woman! Ichigo thought as he looked around the room. She wasn't anywhere to be found. That's when he heard it. The sound of police sirens from the distance; and the loud pounding at the hotel room door. Before he could get to his feet the door was kicked open by one of the four police officers that stood behind it, and they drew their weapons at Ichigo.
"Police! Place your hands on your head and get on your knees now!" One of the policemen ordered the teen. Frightened out of his wits, Ichigo complied, and the other officer ran in and tackled him, handcuffing and dragging him downstairs to the police car. And has they stuffed him in the backseat, Ichigo wondered how the night had gone straight to hell like it did.
Pacing the dingy jail cell like a lion in a cage, Ichigo bit his thumb as he tried to figure out how he got in this mess. Obviously he didn't kill that dude. Whipped his ass? Sure he did. But the dude didn't deserve to die; he would have reacted the same way if someone was hanging off the ledge peeking into his room too. His thoughts drifted back to the mysterious woman that knocked him out. She had to be the killer. But she was long gone. There was no way the police officers would believe his story. The woman was a ghost now and he was going to be booked for murder.
And this is all because Rukia felt the need to jump someone's bones, Ichigo scoffed as he thought to himself. He felt like a big fat jerk… what was he thinking in the first place following her anyway? What was he exactly going to do or say if he actually caught her in the act? I should have stayed out of this, He thought and he ran his fingers through his hair.
The double doors of the corridor that led to the holding cells burst open as an officer escorted a woman in. Ichigo looked up briefly and his jaw slacked. It was the woman from the hotel room.
"Hey baby!" The woman called out to Ichigo as the officer walked her past his cell.
"Hey! Officer! That's the woman I was telling you about!!! She was there! Hey!" Ichigo screamed out to the officer, but he didn't care less. He placed the woman in the cell next to his, locked it and walked back out. "Wait!!! Don't leave!" Ichigo begged, and after the officer left, he slumped against the cell bars, defeated. "Great… just great!"
Ichigo sat down on the grimy floor, not really caring it was filthy. From the nasty water from the storage drain and climbing on the building's ledge, he was already a mess.
His life definitely over.
"Aw baby… don't be sad. It'll be alright." The woman purred as she sat down on the bench in the cell.
"That's easy for you to say," Ichigo snapped. "You're not being charged with murder."
"Let me tell you something baby," The woman said with a wide smile on her face. "That man I killed tonight… I would have killed for him. I loved him that much."
Ichigo's head snapped up, staring at the woman. He leapt to his feet and yelled out his cell, "Hey!!! Oi!!! She just confessed!!! Hey!"
"Stop yelling," The woman ordered him as she stood.
"Stop yelling? You just confessed you dizzy broad!" Ichigo growled as he pointed his finger at the woman.
"And I'll confess again." The woman replied, and Ichigo stopped quieted, a bemused look on his face. "Now stop all that screaming and sit down."
Reluctantly, Ichigo sat down on the bench next to the woman's cell. He felt so tired; he placed his head in his hands as he exhaled weakly. This was definitely a night that wouldn't end.
"Who is Rukia?" The woman asked.
Ichigo raised his head up, looking at the woman. "What?"
"You called me Rukia tonight. Who is she?"
Ichigo looked away from her, sighing as he thought about the little death-god. "She's just some girl."
"Just some girl?" The woman laughed. "Look at yourself. Would you put yourself through all that for some girl?"
Looking down at himself, Ichigo had to chuckle at how torn up he looked. Shaking his head, he softly admitted, "I was worried about her. She said some things to me today that she had never said before. I just wanted to make sure she was okay."
"Really?" The woman spoke just as softy as she gazed at the boy. She smiled, folding her arms in front of her as she crossed her legs. "Does she know you love her?"
Ichigo snapped his head in her direction, his cheeks turning red. "H-huh? I don't love-"
"Yes you do," The woman declared, her smile widening. "No man would go through what you went through tonight if you didn't love her. Why don't you tell her?"
Ichigo's head was reeling. He was in love with Rukia? Could it actually be possible? He knew he felt something for her… and he thought it was just friendship.
But the more he thought on it… all the times they spent together, the closeness, how he nearly risked his life tonight and so many other times before… just for her. This was deeper and stronger than any friendship he had ever had. He just didn't know it until now.
Ichigo's heart beat hard against his chest with the realization. His empty stomach was fluttering with butterflies just thinking that all thistime, he loved her. How long had he been denying himself this fact?
"Tell her," The woman coaxed him. "Just tell her. What do you got to lose?"
Ichigo gulped, resting his elbows on his thighs as he considered what he had to do. But how was going to tell her locked up in a place like this… ?
"Kurosaki Ichigo?" The officer's voice yelled, drawing Ichigo out of his thoughts. Nodding mutely, he slowly began to stand. He watched the officer unlock his cell door and opened it. "Come with me son." Ichigo began to walk out when he felt a hand grab his arm, and he turned around, looking back at the woman in the adjoining cell.
"You make sure you tell her, baby. Alright?" The woman smiled.
Ichigo couldn't speak, but nodded shakily as the blood rushed to his cheeks once more. He turned and walked out of the cell, escorted by the officer to the interrogation room.
"…So let me get this straight," The fat detective said as he put out his cigarette in the ashtray in front of Ichigo. "The girl you thought you were following was the girl in the holding cell, and that's how you ended up in this mess?"
Ichigo coughed, the nasty smoke irritating his lungs. "That's right."
"You know we have strict stalking laws in Japan," The skinny detective noted to Ichigo as she pushed his glasses up on his nose.
"I wasn't stalking her," Ichigo grumbled, waving his hand in front of his face. He was getting sick of this now. They had been asking him the same questions for the last hour. "I was making sure she was okay, that's all."
"Sure you were," The fat detective drawled out, his eyes rolling wildly. "If I could get a yen for every time I've heard that line."
"So who is this girl to you, your sister, your girlfriend maybe?" The skinny detective asked.
"I don't know what she is to me, alright?" Ichigo spat out, running his fingers in his hair. It seemed like the detectives were more interested with validating his relationship with Rukia rather than investigate the murder, which at the time was clearly more important. "I… I think I'm in love with her, I guess." He sputtered softly.
"Hey Ichigo," The fat detective said as he leaned in towards him, the words 'duh' clearly written his eyes. "Don't you think you need to tell her?"
The rain was falling hard as the police car rolled to a stop in front of Orihime's house. Ichigo exited from the back seat, waving goodbye and good riddance of the officers. The mystery woman stuck to her word and confessed about the murder, freeing him of any wrongdoing. Apparently the woman was housewife getting her husband of eight years back for cheating on her. The skinny detective wanted to charge him for being a peeking tom and intrusion, but the fat detective decided that Ichigo had been through enough that evening. It was just rotten luck that the woman and Rukia looked so similar from a distance.
As the police car drove away, Ichigo stood there on Orihime's lawn, staring at the house. The rain wasn't cold, but a chill was shivering through his body from inside out. Ichigo never told anyone he loved them before, other than his mother, naturally. This would be the most pivotal moment in my life, he thought has he walked forward. This would be an event in his life that he would tell his children, and his children's children. He would tell her how he felt, and he only prayed she felt the same way.
But she had to. Rukia brought out the best in him, and he brought out the best in her. In spite of all the arguments and spats they had, they always made up one way or another. And then there was always this raw tension that was brewing between them and made them both unknowingly passionate about the other's well being… he now understood that it was their strong attraction to each other that made their passion so intense.
They were made for each other.
Looking over himself, the rain did wash off some of the scum that covered him, and he slicked his wet hair out of his eyes. Nervously he brought one closed fist to the door, paused and then knocked. Ichigo cleared his throat, rolling his neck in an attempt to sway the tension out of it as he saw a light come on in the living room, and the sound of footsteps padding to the front door. His heart was beating rapidly as he heard the turning of the lock, and the door slowly began to open.
"Look, Rukia… I know it's late but I have to tell you something…" Ichigo nervously began as he now saw the lean red-headed man standing at the door. Ichigo swallowed deeply, His eyes widening to his horror. It was Renji Abarai. His hair was down, lying down around his shoulders. He had on an unbuttoned shirt with white pajama pants. They both looked at each other momentarily as Renji placed a hand on the door jam.
"You were looking for Rukia?" Renji finally asked, breaking the thick silence.
"Yeah." Ichigo said in a low voice, stuffing his hands into his pockets. They were shaking uncontrollably and he didn't want Renji to notice it.
"She's asleep," Renji replied as he looked Ichigo up and down strangely. "I could go get her, if you want."
"No," Ichigo quickly replied as he slowly backed up from the door. "It really isn't necessary."
"Are you sure?" Renji asked again, bemused at Ichigo's sudden retreat. "I could just-"
"Don't bother," Ichigo managed to say with a small, painful smile. "It really wasn't important anyway. Sorry to bother you." Ichigo turned oh his heel, and slowly began to walk away. He heard the door close, and he looked over his shoulder, watching the light in the living room go out. He turned again, numbly walking away. He felt like his entire body had turned into the rain, his life just running out of him. Yet he was only too gracious for the inclement weather… that way no one could tell if it was rain drops or tears sliding down his face.
:: To be continued ::