In Her Eyes
Chapter Sixteen: Happy Endings
Their high school graduation was bittersweet. The fresh graduates loitered around the entrance of the school, which was appropriately dressed for pictures, the floor lightly dusted with cherry blossom petals.
Rukia and Ichigo stood with their friends, lightly bantering and chuckling at precious memories. Despite the momentous occasion, a sad air lingered among them. Rukia looked through the profiles of their graduating class, stopping to stare at the picture of Yume above an italicized "In loving memory".
"She would have loved to finally leave school." Grimmjaw interrupted her pity party, pulling off his graduation cap and scratching his bright blue head.
"What did she want to be?" Rukia asked.
"I don't really remember. I never really did listen to her." He replied somberly.
The older teen glared at Ichigo. "What. I can't say good riddance?"
Ichigo sighed, "You can."
"It was a trick question, I didn't care about your answer." He smirked.
A silence fell among the trio, quickly interrupted by Isshin's scream.
"Look at this! You're picturesque! Quickly, stand closer!"
Grimmjaw rolled his eyes, "Bye."
Isshin stood from his embarrassing 'photographer' stance and stared hard at Grimmjaw, "Boy, when you realize the importance of memories, you will be far too old."
There was a power that seemed to emanate from Isshin at his remark. Grimmjaw reluctantly stayed, grimacing in the photo that Isshin took.
"Thank you." Isshin said curtly, and noticed Tatsuki with Karin and cajoled over.
"What are you planning to do after this?" Rukia asked. Ichigo feigned interest, and watched as Grimmjaw shrugged.
"I always enjoyed cars and all that crap. At least I won't have to go to higher schooling for it." He replied. "What about you, Kurosaki? I imagine that you'll become a doctor? Follow the old man?"
Ichigo shrugged, "I just might, but that's none of your business."
"You're right." Grimmjaw agreed, for once. "I'm going. Hope things go well for you guys and whatever."
"Yeah. You too." Rukia smiled politely.
Grimmjaw tried to smile, only to let his mouth slant awkwardly. He patted Rukia on the head. "Don't feel too bad."
Rukia watched as Grimmjaw walked away. "I somehow have a feeling that we'll see him again."
"I hope you're wrong, he's annoying as hell." Ichigo muttered, scratching the back of his head.
"What part? That he matches you evenly on most fronts? Or that he seems to still have feelings for me?" Rukia looked up at Ichigo with an amused face.
"You wanna go?" He asked jokingly, trapping her head in a play chokehold, Rukia laughed as she smacked his arm.
"Rukia." Byakuya glared at the pair, who quickly straightened themselves.
"Dad." She said, looking up at him nervously.
"Congratulations," he placed a hand on her head. "I've got something for you." He gave her a brown envelope.
"Thank you so much," she said with a soft smile. She pulled out a photo of when she was a baby, her mother holding her with a large smile and Byakuya still serious but softly looking at his wife.
"Don't forget where you came from." Byakuya said, watching as Rukia began to tear.
"I won't." She smiled and Ichigo couldn't help but smile himself.
Suddenly Ichigo was nearly knocked to the ground by a tackle.
"Ichigo! I'm going to miss you so much! Are you going to miss me?" Keigo said excitedly, ruffling Ichigo's hair.
The rest of the gang caught up with the village idiot, and Inoue could only look at Ichigo apologetically. Ichigo shoved Keigo off and the teen fell to the ground in dismay.
"I tried to stop him, Kurosaki-kun." She said.
Byakuya took this chance to disappear quietly.
"I'll see you at dinner time." He patted his daughter's head then left for his black Mercedes.
"Rukia your speech was excellent." Uryu said.
"Thanks, I had a lot of experience to draw from." She joked, and the group wasn't sure how to react.
"Sorry, I mean, if we didn't seem to help." Inoue said sadly, looking away.
"Don't worry about it," Rukia replied, "I'm just glad you guys even bothered to talk to a little blind girl."
"She admits she's little." Ichigo snickered, only to receive a punch in the gut.
"What are you guys planning to do to celebrate?" Rukia asked, as she pushed Ichigo's counter attacks away with ease.
"Dinner with family, for now I'm planning to go home and read." Ishida replied.
"I'm going out with Tatsuki's family, they've always been sweet to me, I'm planning to buy dinner for them this time." Inoue smiled.
"I'm going to go home and play video games," Keigo grinned, "to think that I actually passed exams is incredible. Time to reward myself."
"What about you two?" Ishida asked.
Rukia burst into her home and ran into her room.
"Rukia?" Byakuya called out, his voice echoing throughout the large house.
"Can't talk, I have to meet Ichigo soon!" She exclaimed as she dug through her closet.
Byakuya climbed up their spiral stairs and knocked on her door. "What's going on?"
"He's going to show me something new!" She said excitedly while swinging her door open.
Byakuya tried to stay calm and considered what else Ichigo could show her that hasn't- he blinked. "Rukia hold on."
His daughter paused, the tone of the statement was only heard when he had some lecturing to do.
"Yes?" Rukia asked, her blue and white sun dress swayed as she walked towards her dad.
"You are a responsible girl, and you are a smart lady, right?" Byakuya said.
"I am." She replied, looking up at him in confusion.
"Whatever Ichigo ends up showing you… please do it safely so as to ensure that… you avoid consequences that… can forever change your life." Byakuya wondered why Hisana never talked to Rukia about the topic of sex, then realized that she probably spent more time worrying about the limitations the world put on her daughter than anything else.
Rukia's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Drat. Byakuya hoped she'd catch on, and was slightly surprised at her daughter's innocence despite her rebellious nature. He led her downstairs and they sat across each other on the leather couches.
Byakuya cleared his throat and Rukia tensed. "I know it would have been more appropriate to have this talk with your mother, but seeing that she's no longer with us and that you've come to age, I think now is the best time."
Rukia stared at him waiting for his lecture, which she always found lengthy and a bit over the top.
"When a girl and a boy become interested in each other, sometimes that interest becomes intense." He began, deciding to explain the process as textbook as possible. "That intensity can manifest in different ways, through blushing, avoidance, flirting, or arousal."
Rukia's face changed completely at the last word, she turned red and covered her face. "Dad, I know what sex is." She grumbled behind her hands.
"Sorry?" Byakuya asked, unable to hear her clearly.
"I know what sex is." She said louder, still not dropping her hands.
"Yes… we learned it in Biology." Rukia muttered, dropping her hands and looking away.
"Oh, good. Then you know its dangers and precautions to prevent severe consequences right?" Byakuya asked.
"I do." Rukia said, she suddenly felt really small in front of her dad.
"Did you want to start on birth control pills? We can talk to-"
"Dad it's fine. I didn't even think… Ichigo wouldn't-"
"He is still a male, Rukia." Byakuya interrupted.
"God, you make men sound like animals." Rukia retorted, glaring at her dad.
"Because, intrinsically, most men are." Byakuya finished.
There was a knock at the door.
"It's him," Rukia said nervously.
"Remember your defensive skills," Byakuya said.
"Dad!" She exclaimed as he stood and led her to the door.
Byakuya pulled the dark wooden door open slowly. Ichigo stood on the porch clad in casual wear.
"I expect her home before 9PM, Kurosaki. And don't do anything you'll regret. You don't want me coming after you." Byakuya said, staring down at the teen.
Ichigo nodded, "I know the rules."
Byakuya retreated and revealed Rukia in her dress. Ichigo blushed a little at the sight of her in casual wear, realizing that he didn't see her in dresses as often as he liked.
"Ready?" He asked coolly as Rukia fumbled with her cardigan and keys.
Rukia blushed as her dad reappeared and closed the door for her.
"What's wrong?" Ichigo leaned down to look at her face as they walked down the street.
Rukia cursed, she was now thinking about- "Nothing," she muttered, and pushed Ichigo away.
"Are you blushing?" Ichigo asked, his voice light with amusement.
"I am not blushing." She retorted, looking away.
Ichigo snickered. "We're almost there," he replied, "we've got to hop on the train though, if that's okay."
"Yeah," Rukia replied.
"Are you sure everything's okay?"
"Everything's fine, strawberry. Lead the way." Rukia looked up at him with a smile.
Ichigo and Rukia found themselves in the middle of afternoon rush hour. They stood close in the midst of the crowds at the station.
"Stay close to me." Ichigo said, pulling her closer by the shoulders as the train pulled to a stop. Rukia felt herself heat up at Ichigo's touch, cursing her father's terrible misunderstanding.
The train doors opened and commuters trickled in. Soon, the train resembled a sardine can as people stood shoulder to shoulder, trying their best to stay upright as the vehicle moved. Ichigo and Rukia were sandwiched by the opposite doors. Ichigo hovered over Rukia and did his best to provide her with ample space but found it difficult.
"Sorry, I-" Ichigo blushed, looking away.
"It's alright," Rukia replied, glad to realize that she wasn't the only one realizing how intimate the situation was. "You can come a bit closer."
At this, Ichigo stepped in closer, their bodies now in full contact. Rukia was sure Ichigo could probably hear her heart racing, but did her best to stay calm. He noted how sturdy he was despite how thin he sometimes appeared. In the past couple of years he had gotten into sports and the effects of rigorous training molded Ichigo's body into one that could make even grandmothers blush.
"Are you alright?" Ichigo asked, looking down at Rukia.
"I'm as fine as anyone could be in such a crowded space." She smiled up at him and she spied his cheeks tinge pink.
"Yeah, well." Ichigo muttered, and he slid an arm around her shoulders and pulled her into him. He rested his chin on her head.
Rukia felt she was going to have a heat stroke in his arms. His body felt incredible against hers and as the ride progressed, she slowly returned his hold.
"We're here." Ichigo said, still not letting go of her as they waited for the crowds to clear. "Downtown in spring is always so busy." He muttered, grasping her hand.
"I've never been here." Rukia said, finding the unfamiliarity of the area a bit uncomfortable.
"I imagine Byakuya wouldn't let you, it's too crowded and noisy - easy to lose anyone blind or not." Ichigo led them out and they walked towards the mall.
"It's strangely wonderful to see." Rukia remarked, craning her head as she looked at the tall buildings, decorations and bustling people. "So many different faces."
Ichigo smiled as she tugged him towards a flower shop.
"Ah these, these are familiar." She said, taking in the scents. "I could always tell the difference between flowers, something my mother prided herself in teaching me."
"Do you have any favourites?" Ichigo asked, bending slightly to watch her face.
"Lavender." She replied simply.
"They match your eyes, young lady." The shopkeeper, a small old man, handed her a small bunch.
"Oh, I couldn't-"
"Nonsense, take them. Your handsome boyfriend will pay." The shopkeeper smirked at Ichigo and Ichigo shook his head with a smile as he pulled out his wallet.
"They look beautiful." Rukia said, bringing them to her nose.
"Not as beautiful as you," The shopkeeper grinned.
"Alright, quit sweet talking her, I ain't buying anymore flowers old man." Ichigo said, pulling Rukia aside.
"A sale's a sale, young man." The old man snickered as they left the store.
"Was this what you wanted to show me?" Rukia asked, smiling up at the tall teen as he grabbed her hand.
"Nah, though this was a nice surprise for the both of us. Now I know what will calm you no matter what." Ichigo smirked.
"And you know that you piss me off the most, right?" Rukia said, smirking back.
"I know," Ichigo said almost proudly, "but at least I'll know now to pull up a bunch of flowers every time you're on a rampage."
"I will pretend that you do not know so I can be surprised every time." Rukia laughed.
Ichigo smiled as he opened the door into the cool shopping centre. He lead Rukia along the stores and into a small shop hidden in one of the dead-ends of the large structure.
"Hey! Is that Kurosaki?" A man with tattoos sat behind the front desk, his hair black and spiky like Ichigo's.
"Hisagi," Ichigo smirked, scratching the back of his head. "Didn't think you'd still be here, man."
Hisagi shrugged, "A job's a job." He noticed Rukia standing beside Ichigo and smiled at her. "Got a date eh? Finally stopped scowling?"
"You'd be surprised to know that I'm one of the only people who knows that he scowls to maintain a reputation." Rukia said. Hisagi laughed.
"Kurosaki used to grin like a fool as a kid, guess you gotta look tough for the ladies huh?" Hisagi smirked at Rukia who shook her head fondly.
"Just give me some tokens already," Ichigo said with a scowl as he placed a few bills on the counter.
"Coming up," Hisagi placed the tokens on the glass counter and slid it towards Ichigo. "There'll be a lot of kids coming in today, so watch yourselves."
Ichigo led Rukia into the play area and she looked up at him in confusion.
"Are these games?" She asked.
"Arcade games." He clarified, "you can play whichever one you want but on one condition."
Rukia looked up at him in suspicion, they both knew how competitive she could become when given the chance.
"What?" She asked coolly.
"With every win I get, I get to give you a kiss." He said, looking at her coyly.
Rukia blushed, "And what about if I win?"
"If you win, you get to decide what we do next." Ichigo smirked.
Rukia brought her hand to her chin in thought. "Let's make this more interesting - if I win more games than you, you have to do whatever I want."
Ichigo shrugged, "If you win more games."
"I may have been blind for most of my life until recently, but I still have lightning reflexes, Kurosaki." She challenged as she rolled up the sleeves of her cardigan.
"You haven't even used one of these things in your life." Ichigo replied, leading her to a large contraption with detachable guns.
"That's fine, you'll need a handicap against me." She smirked.
"Oh now you're really asking for it." Ichigo retorted, shoving the tokens into its slots.
"House of the Dead…" Rukia read aloud, "Zombies?"
Ichigo proceeded to instruct Rukia on how to play, shooting outside the screen to reload and so forth.
"This is fascinating," Rukia replied, as her eyes lit up at the sequences on screen.
"Don't become too distracted or you'll lose." Ichigo smirked.
Rukia smirked and narrowed her eyes at Ichigo, "You're just trying to make me angry aren't you?"
"It's starting!" Ichigo said, turning his attention to the screen. Rukia jumped and did the same. They spent several silent minutes shooting their enemies.
Soon, the game ended, and exclaimed 'Player 1 wins!' in far too many exclamation points.
"What happened to your lightning fast reflexes?" Ichigo asked, placing the toy gun back in its place.
"I was a hundred points behind you, that's pretty close." Rukia said, "besides, this is my first time, you can't expect me to beat someone like you."
"But I win, so I get my prize." Ichigo smirked, holding Rukia's hand.
"Oh fine, just don't make a big show of it." Rukia stepped forward and closed her eyes.
"Who said I'd redeem them right away?" Ichigo said, tugging his girlfriend to another game.
Rukia felt her heart flutter, "Wait, hold on-"
"We've still got tokens, which means there's still more games. Let's see this to the end, shall we?" Ichigo inserted more coins into a racing game.
For a few hours, Rukia and Ichigo duelled until they ran out of coins. Surprisingly, they began to talk less and less as their concentration and competitiveness increased. In between games, they would taunt each other and argue about which to play next. Rukia found she was best at anything that required timing and precision while Ichigo was best at chaotic games or ones that required hand-eye coordination.
"You guys were hell bent on whatever the hell you were doing," Hisagi remarked as the pair unloaded a large amount of tickets on him. "Did you have fun?"
"We need a tie breaker Hisagi," Ichigo said, glaring at Rukia. "This one insists that 'it's not fair that a formerly blind girl be so heavily tested on her hand-eye coordination'."
"What about rock-paper-scissors?" Hisagi laughed at the pair's confused faces.
"Fine, based on chance anyway." Ichigo said, rolling up his sleeves.
They stuck out their hands and decided to see who would win out of three attempts. Rukia noted how large Ichigo's hands were compared to hers, their fists remarkably different when they displayed their decisions.
"Hah." Ichigo smirked, winning the game two out of three with rock. Rukia sighed, and shrugged.
"Gentleman's honour, you won, Kurosaki."
"And you also won this," Hisagi added, handing Ichigo a medium sized pristine white bunny plushie.
Rukia's eyes widened. "Look… Look at its bow!" She said happily, pointing at the large bow resting on its fluffy chest.
"You can have this," Ichigo smirked, handing Rukia the stuffed toy and struggling due to its size.
"Can you hold my flowers?" Rukia asked, handing Ichigo her small lavender bouquet. Ichigo received it and led her out.
"Thanks Hisagi," Ichigo smirked.
"You guys won it, all I do is dispense it." Hisagi smiled in return and watched as his old friend left the store.
On the train, Ichigo and Rukia sat beside each other idly chatting. The pair gathered stares due to the stuffed bunny resting on Rukia's lap, but they were far too immersed in each other to realize.
"There's one more game I want you to try, since you seem to enjoy the stuff." Ichigo said.
"Do contest rules still apply?" She asked with a smirk.
"No, no, but it'll make you want to kill me once I beat you." He replied.
"Well, we'll see." Rukia smiled.
They walked down the streets of Karakura in relative silence. Ichigo held Rukia's hand gently, and in his other was the quaint bouquet of lavender. They entered the Kurosaki residence and he led her to the living room. Kon barked excitedly and lay by the coffee table, watching Ichigo set up.
"It's called Mario Kart." Ichigo explained, pulling out a pristine white device and handing Rukia what looked to her like a remote control.
She received the device and then gently placed the bunny on his couch. "Does it have something to do with carts?" Rukia asked innocently, and Ichigo couldn't help but smile.
"It is in the name." He replied as he sat cross legged beside her on the floor.
"Shut up." Rukia replied, punching him on the shoulder.
Ichigo laughed and they began to play.
"Oh, it's a racing game," Rukia remarked, trying to figure out how the buttons were working as the countdown began.
The pair took off, and Rukia shot past Ichigo. She followed as the AIs did and picked up coloured boxes, though she did run into many bananas.
"Where are you? I don't see you with the rest of us at all," Rukia asked, as she glanced at his half of the television screen.
"I'm just letting you try out the controls, let me cruise." Ichigo replied, his competitive face totally gone.
The next round came and Rukia picked up the game very quickly, easily passing the computers and even Ichigo at some points.
"Get your game together, mr. second place." Rukia taunted, as she sped in front of Ichigo.
Suddenly, she heard strange alarm noises and became disoriented.
"What's that?" Rukia asked, still keeping up her speed.
"It's a blue shell." Ichigo said simply.
"What? Is it coming for me? How do I-" She was interrupted by her cart exploding and Ichigo zooming by. "That's not fair!" Rukia exclaimed, shoving Ichigo.
"And you were taunting me like a fool," Ichigo smirked as he reached the finish line and ended the race.
"One more round!" Rukia said furiously, positioning herself to prepare for Ichigo's defeat.
"No," Ichigo said, putting his controller down.
"What? That's hardly fair!" Rukia said.
"I want to do something else." Ichigo replied as he turned off the television.
"What?" Rukia asked, checking her watch. "You've got to drop me home in a couple of minutes. There's not much we can do- perhaps another movie?" She asked excitedly. "I have heard of the animated movies, or what was it Keigo liked to talk about? Anime?"
"No." Ichigo replied, he kissed her on the cheek.
"What was that?" Rukia asked, blushing.
"I want to redeem my kisses." He said with a smirk.
"You coy ass." Rukia said, smacking him on the shoulder.
"Hey, I won fair and square." Ichigo replied, leaning in for another on her lips.
"Just- wait- what about your family?"
"Dad's at work until later and the twins are on an outing with their friends, they won't be back for a while." He said, kissing her on the lips again.
"Are you sure?" Rukia asked, glancing around the house.
Ichigo kissed her on the lips again, "I'm sure."
"Hey! I am counting you know. You have ten left." Rukia said, still blushing.
Ichigo leaned in closer and Rukia found her back against the couch as Ichigo gave her a longer kiss on the lips.
"9." She said, meeting his eyes momentarily until he went in for another.
Ichigo pulled her closer and she obliged, her heart still in her throat. He kissed her gently, and persisted until they broke away for a breath.
"I'll have to count the longer ones as two." Rukia mused. Ichigo smirked, then picked her up and set her down on the couch. She lay back as he climbed on top of her, kissing her neck as he did so. "6, 5, 4," She continued in a whisper and felt his hands travel up her back.
He leaned in and kissed her hard. She let out a small moan as he continued, and his hands continued to travel along her body. Rukia flung her hands around his neck and pulled him in closer, Ichigo replied by holding her tighter, his fingers tangled in her black hair. They broke apart, panting, and he smiled, placing a kiss on her forehead.
"Negative one." She smiled. He shook his head with a laugh.
Ichigo checked his watch and saw that it was nearly nine. "Crap, your dad's going to kill me if I don't get you home." He said, standing quickly, and bringing Rukia up with him.
"You're not planning to carry me to my house are you?"
"I can if you want me to." Ichigo smirked proudly.
"Put me down." Rukia said curtly, and Ichigo placed her on her feet gently.
They walked down the streets of Karakura as the darkness of night began to loom in. They arrived at Rukia's door step and waved to Byakuya eyeing them from the second floor window. Byakuya narrowed his eyes and disappeared with the close of the curtains.
"I had fun today." Rukia said with a smile.
Ichigo smirked, "It's been a while since I've shown you something new, right?" Rukia nodded.
"Good night, Ichigo." She turned and twisted the knob of the door only to be pulled back into Ichigo's arms.
Ichigo gave her another deep kiss, and she did her best not to melt.
"Good night." He pulled away, smirking at the girl blushing under the light of fluorescent bulbs.
"Negative two." She smirked, and punched him in chest lightly.
Ichigo let her go and she slipped into her house with a small smile. He turned and let out a huge sigh, realizing that he had spent most of the day breathless around her. Ichigo wondered what it would be like to be able to kiss her like that every day.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the reboot! I reread the older chapters and was just shaking my head so many times in so many different places, so I decided to scrap most but keep some key plot points and make it more in character and a bit more… character oriented. Thanks for reading! :)
All my awesome readers : D 68 alerts! Awesome :) If your name was not mentioned, and yet you read this, arigato gosaimas. (LOL I know I spelled that wrong.)
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