Writing on the Wall
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach; Kubo Tite invented the characters of Ichigo and Rukia and he says he designed Ichigo to "match" Rukia! Woot!
Description: PG13 (because Ichigo cusses in his mind like a teenage boy). Vignette. IchiRuki romaaaaance.
for Mel, whose translations of excerpts from Bleach databooks and Kubo interviews have been a blessing to the English-speaking IchiRuki fandom. Thanks for being my friend and for helping my crush on Kubo Tite escalate to epic proportions.
It was a long while, maybe thirty seconds, maybe a minute, before Ichigo realized what he'd done.
There'd been no stopping it from happening. There was no stopping it now. They sat on the floor outside the handicrafts clubroom. It was after school, long past club meetings. A slant of afternoon light fell across Rukia's brow and her eyelashes looked dark blue. Her lids were pearly with tiny pink veins.
He was kissing Rukia.
Then Ichigo shut his eyes because he knew it wasn't proper to stare at someone while kissing her.
Only their lips were touching, and Ichigo's neck felt strained.
Maybe I should--?
He scooted his knees forwards.
Go ahead. Just touch her shoulder.
His palm was holding up the wall. If he removed his hand, the universe would cave in.
"Ichigo." She said the name against his lips.
It was her critical tone, and for a moment he thought she was going to pull away. Instead she moved forward, and before Ichigo knew it, she was sitting in his lap, and there was no anxiety in his shoulders because their faces were perfectly aligned. Okay, this works. Then her lips parted, and Ichigo's mouth melted into hers.
This is a kiss. This is a huge mother-fucking big deal. Does she still think kisses don't mean anything in modern times?
Modern times? It was the beginning and end of all time. History had turned itself inside out. Ichigo felt pure awe. Utter awe. Like some caveman rubbing his muzzle against the only other human being he'd ever encountered. Wait … that was some movie he'd seen…. Could anything be softer than her upper lip? So soft.
Her voice was hard, though. His jaw caught a reverberation of a moan. His face and chest went fire-hot.
She said something once about how kissing in today's society was like saying hello….
Rukia went mmm again--an unrestrained impossibly sexy sound--and the blood rush to Ichigo's head made him dizzy.
No way, kissing isn't like shaking hands.
He'd taken her hand before and even that had been a big deal. He'd only been trying to yank her out of the way of some stampeding students in the hallway. "Ichigo!" she'd snapped at him. "My reflexes are quicker than yours!"
Sure enough, she'd beaten him to the wall. Pressed there, side by side while students rushed by, he'd yelled over yip-yips and dumb hoo-hah victory noises (the stampeding students had just won a track tournament?) "Was I supposed to let you get squashed?"
"By who? A bunch of third-year humans?"
"Ouch! Rukia! Your--"
Her fingernails had bitten into his knuckles. During all the yelling, they had still been holding hands.
That had been … two weeks ago? Her touch--the soft part not the part with the sharp fingernails--had burned his hand for days. The very idea of her touch became a tingling obsession.
He'd known that when they touched again it would feel like a supernova.
This was it.
If an explosion of color and heat could happen in slow motion, that is.
Something was brushing aside the hair over his ear, and Ichigo realized that it was Rukia's hand.
If this was slow motion, how come he kept finding himself in a situation without remembering how he got there? His hands were on her shoulders now. When did THAT happen? Apparently removing his hand from the wall had not caused the building to collapse.
Oh god, oh god, oh god.
She was pressing against his chest--or some very soft part of her was. Her fingers were on his neck and her lips were no longer against his. She'd decided to take a break? Her breath was cool against his cheek.
Clearly, she was running the whole show.
Panting loudly (too loudly--was this normal?), Ichigo waited for what she would do next. It was like standing on the edge of a cliff and leaning forward against the wind.
Her breaths were coming in little hard huffs.
Please don't kill me, Rukia.
"Ichigo?" Her voice didn't sound bossy at all. She sounded a little dazed, in fact. "What just happened?"
Hell if he knew.
"Ishida isn't here," Rukia said.
Ichigo had forgotten why they were outside the handicrafts clubroom. Something about Kon needing to be mended again. Something about Wednesday being when that girly club held its officer meetings.
"There's not a trace of his spirit anywhere." Rukia's voice was guarded now, as if she actually cared where Ishida was. She was sitting on Ichigo's lap. Her fingertips had been kneading Ichigo's scalp. She still held her hands there, poised at the nape of his neck, because to take them away, of course, would mean that Ichigo's head would fall off and roll away. Ichigo didn't understand why whole body parts of his weren't falling off. His very sanity was being held together by Rukia right now.
It'd only been seconds since Ichigo had last kissed her lips, but he missed them already.
"I guess we got the day wrong for the meeting," Rukia said.
"Good," he heard himself say. Nobody would interrupt them. He caught her mouth again and felt the twinge of resistance he'd felt the first time--then the same crazy pressure against his teeth while all the muscles in his neck tightened.
He remembered now.
They'd been talking about Valentine's day. Sitting on the floor in the abandoned corridor and wondering where the handicrafters were--wasn't everyone supposed to be busy cutting out dumb flower thingies to give to teachers and relatives and the janitor for Valentine's day? A strange holiday, Rukia had observed--her books said it was supposed to be for lovers but Japan treated it like a big friendship day and a reason to give chocolates in pretty boxes to anyone and everyone….
Ichigo had gotten angry trying to explain it. The difference between social obligation and…. "There's supposed to be one guy that a girl buys an expensive present for… Bah, you can read--there were websites about this stuff--I don't have to tell you."
"One guy?" The look on her face--Ichigo had known who she was thinking about.
"One guy who--" Ichigo had wanted to say something about love, but because he didn't know anything about it, he didn't. "It's a marketing scam. You buy guys chocolate and if they accept your … feelings … then a couple months later they buy you something, and the economy thrives."
"That's a stupid tradition," Rukia had said, staring at him with unusually shiny eyes.
"It is," Ichigo had said and he'd leaned forward to kiss her.
He should've known they'd end up this way. He hadn't. She'd pierced the very center of his soul and changed his whole world, so making out in a school hallway shouldn't have been unthinkable.
She made him see things he'd never seen before. Like right now, his eyes were wide open even though that was probably a novice kisser's thing to do, and there were all these little pen marks on the class door opposite them. He couldn't make out what any of the kanji said but the hand was girlish and maybe some handicrafter had sat outside this door once and counted up his lace placemats or something….
In this place, with Rukia, here, now … it was as fantastical and strange as being in Soul Society or Hueco Mundo.
Her eyes were shut tight, and there were earnest little wrinkles at the corners of her eyes from whatever effort it was to kiss Ichigo (Was she holding back?). He knew that she'd never kissed anybody but him before; he knew that as surely as he'd known she would kiss him back that first time. She looked so sincere and enraptured that Ichigo's ego grew until it hurt--it was stretched to the breadth of comprehension and all he could think was I'm so lucky, I'm so lucky.
His own eyelids were fluttering shut, lulled by the sweetness of the moment when Rukia's eyelids popped open. Giant purple irises stared right at him.
"Why are you staring at me?" she asked.
Ichigo licked his lips. Already they felt sore. "You were staring at me too!"
"I got the feeling that you were--" Her face hadn't budged from its intimate proximity to his. Her breath had a sparkly scent--like those cola candies you always end up crunching because they take too long to dissolve--and her lips were glistening wet. "You were looking at something … trying…." She looked insecure, not accusatory. "Like you were trying to figure something out."
Oh no. He didn't want to have to explain himself or his awkward kissing or reassure her that she was immensely kissable. He gave her shoulders a squeeze to tell her that she was still the main object of his attention. "I noticed the writing over there," Ichigo said in as casual a voice he could manage. He lifted his chin in the direction of the door. "Somebody wrote something in tiny letters."
Rukia turned her neck--had he ever noticed before what a delicate, elegant body part a neck was? "Where?" She squinted. "It says Susan and Yoshi forever." She looked back at Ichigo. "I don't know these people. Do they go to school here?"
"Never heard of them." It seemed a little sacrilegious to be talking about such ordinary things at this moment, but at the same time, it was nice to know that nothing between him and Rukia had changed very drastically. They were still capable of talking to one another--for a moment there it had felt like the rest of Ichigo's life was going to be one long passionate kiss.
Rukia's shoulders in Ichigo's grasp made a little shrug. She looked … wistful? "Susan and Yoshi were probably here last year. Maybe they're graduated and married already." Why was Rukia speculating about these things? What was her agenda? A first kiss and now she was talking marriage--that was a little quick, wasn't it?
Rukia knotted her eyebrows and continued in a hushed voice. "Maybe they went to school here years ago and they're dead and in Soul Society or maybe they've been reincarnated a dozen times over." Maybe the kissing had gone to Rukia's head. She sounded a little hysterical, the way Yuzu did when she had too many gumdrops or the way Inoue did--well, all the time.
"Are you okay, Rukia?" Ichigo tightened his hold on her shoulders because something told him she wanted to bolt.
"I--" She should look happy. They'd just had their first and second--or maybe it had just been one long first kiss. She looked worried. "The point is that nothing's forever, Ichigo."
Ichigo gave her a little shake. "Yes it is." Because he didn't want to give her any opportunity to continue with her doubt, he kissed her. Her hands swept into his hair and she fervently kissed him back.
Yes, there is such a thing as forever.
Maybe Ichigo's declaration hadn't reassured her but his kiss had, because Rukia's touch felt beyond supernova now.
Ichigo didn't open his eyes this time. I've already seen the writing on the wall. And with that thought, he smiled against Rukia's lips.