A/N: Hey, people! Another IchiRuki one-shot! I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. Thank God. I don't know how my life would be without Kubo sensei.
It was already dark, around 9p.m. Rukia was walking slowly, looking at the ground. Sometimes she would stop and turn around. But then, some seconds later, she was back at the same direction she was heading before.
She felt horrible. Her Captain had just informed her the most frustrating news. Well, frustrating, at least, in her opinion.
She had to tell Ichigo. She really didn't want to, but she had to.
Rukia looked up and stared at Ichigo's house. She sighed. Then she knocked on the door. Seconds later Yuzu was there in front of her, beaming.
"Rukia-san! Come in! We've missed you! You haven't come here for five days! Tochan can't stop asking where's his future daughter-in-law!" – Rukia blushed, embarrassed. – "How are you?!"
"I'm fine, thanks, Yuzu. You okay?" – Rukia said, coming in.
When they got in the living room, Karin was watching an anime on TV and Isshin was snoring on the couch.
"Oi, Rukia. Long time no see." – Karin said, smiling.
Rukia smiled back at her.
"Rukia-san, do you want some juice, or water?" – Yuzu asked her.
"No, thanks, I'm okay. Um. Where's Ichigo?"
"Upstairs. You know the way." – Karin answered.
"Yeah, I guess. So. Excuse me, girls."
Rukia left the room and headed to Ichigo's room. The door was closed but she didn't bother knocking and opened it at once.
Ichigo was sitting at his desk, apparently doing some college project. He didn't look up.
"I wasn't expecting you till tomorrow."
"Oh. Okay. Bye"
She turned to the hallway. Then Ichigo got up and followed her, reaching for her hand and pulling her back inside, closing the door.
"You're such a baby sometimes." – Ichigo said, lying on the bed and resting the back of his head on his hands.
Rukia laughed, sitting cross-legged at the end of his bed.
"I wasn't really leaving, idiot."
"Right. You were just pretending to be leaving and then you would count to ten and come back, saying it was a joke. Yeah, I can picture that."
"Nope, I just knew you'd have come after me." – She said, amused.
"Oh, really? Not a tiny little doubt?" – He was now sitting too, smiling like her, teasingly.
She shook her head.
"How could you be so sure, Oracle?"
"Hmm, let me see… Maybe because I know you."
Then Rukia knew the moment was coming and stopped smiling abruptly, looking at her hands.
"What's the matter, Rukia? What's wrong?" – Ichigo asked, immediately worried.
"Nothing, it's just…" – She broke off.
"I can't come tomorrow." – She said hurriedly, still not facing him.
Ichigo didn't say anything. Exactly what Rukia feared. She looked up.
"Ichigo. I'm sorry. Ukitake Taichou just told me I have to be at Seireitei tomorrow. The whole day. Maybe more. An unexpected problem appeared and we've got to-"
But he wasn't looking at her.
"Ichigo, look at me."
He did. They stared at each other for some seconds. Rukia's face wore a pleading expression. Ichigo's was unreadable.
"No, it's not okay. Satisfied?" – He asked.
"No. But I just want you to understand-"
"I do. I just don't like it."
"But, Ichigo, all of your friends are going to be here, you really won't even notice I'm not-"
Ichigo laughed, sarcastically.
"Yeah, I will, Rukia. You can bet I will."
Rukia looked down again.
"I'm sorry." – She whispered.
Some seconds later Ichigo sat closer to her, lifting her head by her chin.
"Listen.I'm sorry. I know it's not your fault. I really overreacted. And you know I hate birthday parties. I never liked the idea. It's just… It would be weird, a party and everybody here but you. Something would definitely be missing." – He smiled at her. – "But it's okay, don't worry."
She smiled back at him.
"I promise I'll make it up to you."
"Okay, I won't forget the promise."
Then Rukia got to her feet.
"Well, I guess I should go now."
Ichigo got up too.
"Try to come the day after tomorrow, then."
They both left Ichigo's room and started climbing down the stairs. The house was silent. Everybody seemed to be sleeping already.
Suddenly, in the middle of the stairs, Rukia stopped.
Ichigo, who was right after her, crashed into her and had to hold her so she wouldn't roll the rest of the stairs down.
"Are you nuts?! What do you think you're doing stoppi-"
"I've just got an idea!"
She held Ichigo's hand and pulled him to the kitchen.
"Um. What are we doing here?" – He asked.
"I'm gonna bake a little birthday cake for you, of course!"
She looked really, really excited. To Ichigo's horror. Rukia's excitement always equals trouble.
She started opening the refrigerator and every door and drawer on the kitchen's cabinet, getting the ingredients and the baking stuff.
Ichigo was too stunned to speak.
"Ichigo, I can't find any strawberries. Haven't you got it?"
"You know, I don't like strawberry cake."
"Well,I do. I love strawberry. Where's it?"
He got it for her.
"Do you know how to bake a cake?" – He asked, suspiciously.
"Yeah, Inoue taught me that ages ago."
Rukia looked at his shocked face. Then she burst out in laughter.
"I'm just kidding, don't worry. My cake is gonna be not only eatable, but delicious too."
"You sound confident. But… You, Rukia? A cook?"
"What's so surprising? You're insulting me. I'm a real chef. An excellent one. Graduated at the most famous and prized Seireitei Cook School. When it comes to special dinners, I'm always called to prepare it."
They looked at each other. Then both started laughing so hard Ichigo had to close the door.
"No, actually I just know how to bake a cake. Only that. I learned it from Rangiku-san when we were throwing a surprise birthday party to Ichimaru Gin. My role was to help her with the cake."
She continued to gather everything she needed.
Ichigo was staring at her.
"You're kidding again, right?" – He asked, smiling.
She looked up.
"What? Kidding? No, Rangiku really taught me how to- Oh. That. No, I'm not kidding. Trust me, don't even ask. It was a crazy day. Or should I say, a crazy Matsumoto day."
Ichigo was staring at her again. His mouth slightly open.
"You just can't be serious."
"Um. I am."
"A surprise party? To Ichimaru?"
"But how the hell did-"
"Ichigo, I said don't ask. Shut up and come to help me."
"You know I'm not giving up, don't you?"
"Slice these strawberries."
"But I've never-"
"Jeez! You just have to cut it! Pretend it is a baby Hollow."
"I would never kill a baby Hollow. How could you-"
"What if he were a really powerful one and were about to attack me?"
"Well, then I think I could handle doing some damage on him."
"I'm sure you could."
They fell in silence, while doing their jobs.
"For God's sake, Ichigo! What are you doing? They are completely destroyed!"
"But you said-"
"I was just joking! Honestly! Then you say I am the baby! Nobody in their right minds would hold a knife as if it were a Zanpakutou like you're doing! I'm actually felling sorry for the poor strawberries!"
"It's your fault! You didn't say how I was supposed to do it!"
"Christ. Never mind! Put them in the blender."
"If they were going to the blender, why slice them?!"
"These ones are for the flavour. The sliced ones are made to decorate. I really don't know what I was thinking when I asked you to work with the decoration part."
"Well, neither do I." – Ichigo sounded annoyed.
"Okay, so you get the strength part. Mix all these ingredients inside the bowl. And don't you dare change the direction!"
"The mixing direction!"
"Why can't I change it?"
"Because I told you not to!"
"It doesn't make any sense."
"Shut up and do what I tell you to."
"Okay, ma'am. Jeez…"
They fell silent again.
"Okay, that's good. I'm gonna put it in the oven." – Rukia said, pouring everything in the cake pan. – "Now, strawberry icing!"
She prepared the icing while waiting for the cake.
Rukia went to get it from the oven.
"Ouch!" – She suddenly cried.
"What happened?! Did you burn yourself?" – He was reaching for her hand.
"It was nothing."
"Yeah, I can see the red 'nothing' written on your fingers. I'm gonna get the burn salve. While I'm not back, please try to control your exhilaration and keep yourself alive, okay?"
"Gosh, talk about exaggeration…"
Ichigo opened his mouth and was about to argue with her, but decided just to roll his eyes and left the kitchen.
When he came back, Rukia was already putting the icing on the cake, pulling a face.
"Give me your hand."
"I can't. I'm using it."
"So stop using it for a moment."
"Give me. Your. Hand."
"No! I wanna finish this! And the burn is not even hurting."
"Of course it is."
"No, it's not."
"Yes, it is."
Ichigo caught her hand and held it firmly to prevent Rukia from taking it back.
"Ichigo, there's really no need to-"
Ichigo put some salve on his finger and then looked at her.
Rukia was biting her bottom lip, looking anxiously at her burned fingers.
Ichigo smiled to himself. Sometimes she was just like a kid.
"Don't worry, they're gonna stop hurting quickly."
"You better be telling me the truth."
"I wouldn't lie to you."
Rukia let her breath out, looking calmer. Ichigo looked at her one more time and then finished the job.
Rukia studied her fingers.
"No problem. Let me finish the cake."
He put all the sliced strawberries over the icing.
Then both stared at the cake.
"It'scute!" – Rukia said.
"It looks kinda good. But I'm not so sure about the taste." – Ichigo was frowning, looking suspicious.
"Oh, I can't believe you don't trust my cook abilities." – She was faking a sad face. – "C'mon, let's try it!" – She added, beaming excited.
She got two plates and forks. But when she reached the knife to cut the cake, Ichigo stopped her.
"Let me do it."
"No, I'll do it."
"The cake is mine, isn't it? I'll cut it."
"Ichigo, trust me. I'll never let you use a knife near food anymore. I'm still sorry about those strawberries! They certainly didn't deserve that." – She said, seriously, shaking her head.
"It's happened only because I was innocently following your orders. And your fingers are burned."
"I can use my left hand."
Ichigo rolled his eyes.
"Okay, go ahead, Miss I'm-the-only-one-who-knows-how-to-use-a-knife."
Rukia winked at him, mouthing "thanks". She cut two slices of cake and placed them on the plates. Then she handed one to Ichigo with a flourish.
Ichigo looked at his plate, still frowning.
"Eat it!" – Rukia demanded.
"Okay! No need to shout!"
Ichigo made a quick attempt to kill her with his eyes and then slowly took his fork to his mouth.
He chewed and swallowed.
Rukia, who was watching him expectantly, did the same.
"What?" – She moaned.
"That… That was the most… Strange… And disgusting thing I've ever tasted. Really, Rukia, you should take some cook classes with Inoue. She's way better than you at it."
For a second Rukia looked like she was going to burst into tears. Ichigo regretted his words deeply. But she quickly recovered and said, coldly:
"I don't buy it."
"So try it yourself. I mean, if you wanna get cramps."
She shot him a mortal look, narrowing her eyes menacingly.
She proved the cake. Kind of apprehensive, to Ichigo's amusement.
Then she frowned. A second later she kicked Ichigo's shin very hard. He grumbled.
"You bastard! There's nothing wrong with the cake!"
"Yeah, yeah, sorry! I was just teasing you! I couldn't imagine you'd take it so seriously! Damn, you didn't have to kick me so har-"
"Say it now!"
She kicked him one more time.
"Ouch! I am… so sorry?"
And once again.
"You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen!"
Rukia stared at him. Then she blushed, her heart beating madly all of a sudden. Ichigo was blushing as well.
They stayed silent for some more seconds that seemed like hours.
"Um… Really?" – Rukia asked him with a small and soft voice, still blushing.
Ichigo looked away, scratching his head, also blushing intensely.
"I… Whatever. Anyway, what did you want me to say?"
"How's the cake?"
Ichigo sighed, annoyed.
Rukia looked just like a kid on Christmas morning.
"So now you like strawberry cake?"
Rukia beamed happily.
Some minutes later, a huge laughter waked Yuzu up. She seated on her bed and rubbed her sleepy eyes. Then she stood up and left her room.
When she was approaching the kitchen, she was able to hear an animated voice, talking and giggling:
"And then Yamamoto got there and asked what that fuss was all about, and Rangiku-san got all disapproving towards him because he didn't know it was Ichimaru's birthday, and then she started to fight with Ikkaku and Yumichika because they haven't invited Yamamoto, and they said it was her who ordered clearly not to invite him, and the fight turned to a physical one, and so nee-sama got there too, attracted by all the noise and asked me what I was doing there, and everybody got silent, so I said I was just there to check what was going on, just like him, and Rangiku-san mouthed "traitor" to me, and then the fuss started again and the shinigamis were shouting that the party had to go on because they had bought presents and they had to have at least cake in return, and Yamamoto agreed, excited with the party, and that was when Hinamori-san shouted Hitsugaya-kun couldn't get candies from the table before the singing, and everybody looked at him accusingly and angry, and he blushed and said he hadn't get anything and that Hinamori had to call him Hitsugaya Taichou, and- Hey, Ichigo! We didn't sing!"
Ichigo was still laughing and looked confused about her last statement.
"´Happy Birthday to You!'"
"Like hell I'd let you sing it to me." – Ichigo said, looking at her like she was crazy.
"And the candle!" – Rukia was shocked she had forgotten all those important things.
Ichigo clearly didn't give a damn about it.
"Rukia, you know I don't like birthd-"
"Rukia-san baked a birthday cake to Ichi-nii?!" – Yuzu asked, astonished.
"Yuzu!" – Both Ichigo and Rukia shouted back, startled.
"That'sso cute!" – Yuzu said, happily.
"Oh, the cake? Yeah, I found it cute too, you know, it's my first-"
"No! I mean, the cake is super cute, of course, way to go, Rukia-san, I didn't know you knew how to cook, but what I meant was that the fact that you wanted to make a special birthday cake for Ichi-nii, just for the two of you celebrate his birthday, is totally cute! Like I've already said a thousand times, you're the sweetest couple I've ever seen!"
Rukia and Ichigo blushed hard again.
"Uh… Yeah, well… You see… It's that I won't be able to come tomorrow." – Rukia explained, looking at anywhere but Ichigo's eyes.
"Yeah, I have to… I have to work."
"But can't you take the day off?" – Yuzu looked really disappointed.
"Unfortunately not. I've already tried."
"It's really a shame. But I'm glad you two found another way to commemorate Ichi-nii's birthday together. Well, I'm going back to bed. Good night, Rukia-san! Come back soon! Good night, Ichi-nii! Gosh that's so cute!"
And she was gone.
Rukia cleared her throat.
"Well. I guess I've gotta go too. It's late."
"Yeah. I'll just do the dishes and-"
"No, I'll do it later, don't bother."
"But it's really quick, I can-"
"O-kay!" – She gave in, frowning.
They walked to the door. Ichigo was the first one to talk.
"So. Thanks for the cake."
"No problem." – Rukia smiled at him. – "Did you really, really like it?"
"Yes, for the zillionth time." – He said, rolling his eyes for the zillionth time that night as well.
"You. Are. Welcome." – Ichigo tried not to roll his eyes again.
"So. Good night, Ichigo."
"Good night." – Ichigo looked strangely hesitant.
She nodded and turned to leave, when he grabbed her arm and said:
But her words were interrupted by his lips.
Ichigo almost smashed Rukia against the wall. Not that she cared. Or even noticed. The kiss was quick, but there had certainly been time for some tongue action.
When he pulled himself back, Rukia was still too affected to open her eyes. When she did so, she blinked a few times and asked:
"What was that for?"
"What?" – Ichigo asked back, innocently.
"You know damn well what. That."
"Oh,that. Um. The price."
"For not coming tomorrow."
"What? But what do you think the cake was for?"
Ichigo stared at her for about two seconds. "Her" meaning "her mouth".
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry. My bad."
Rukia narrowed her eyes.
"You don't seem sorry to me."
Rukia looked taken aback by the sudden question.
"Shut up, I've gotta go."
She turned to leave again.
"When are you coming back?"
"Soon." – She answered still walking away. – "Maybe sooner. Given the latest… occurrences."
She smiled. So did Ichigo.
Then she was out of his view and he closed the door. He had some dishes to do.
A/N: I'm sorry about any senseless thing about baking. I didn't follow any recipe and I'm anything but a cook. Afff... ¬¬ And sorry about any writing mistakes too.
Thanks for reading!!
Leave me reviews, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE...!! Even if to say, "Gosh, that was lame!". Omg.O.o