Summary: Rukia helps Ichigo repaint the clinic…and teases him about the color of his hair. Ichirukia oneshot on a hot summer day. R&R please.

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. A special thank you to my beta reader. R&R please.

Honey-Lemon Glaze

The paint that Isshin had bought had a corny name: honey-lemon glaze. It was thick and fair and the glossy surface shone brightly in the sunlight. Ichigo thought the color was too happy-clappy for his taste.

"Honey-lemon glaze," Rukia read out loud. She was lying in the grass behind the clinic while Ichigo laid out the supplies— two brushes, two rollers (with double extensions), two pans, and a tarnished butter knife. "Is it a color that's both honey and lemon, or one that's somewhere in between the two?"

Taking the dull butter knife, Ichigo pried the lid off, set it aside and stirred the thick yellow liquid; the butter knife was dull and useless anyways. "Who cares? It's just paint," he said. Paint, said a voice at the back of his mind, that was going to coat the entire clinic.

Ichigo looked down and saw Rukia's thoughtful stare. Her cotton- white dress was sprawled on the grass around her. She propped herself up on her elbows, the slender round of her bare shoulders gilded in the glare of a high, afternoon sun.
"What're you staring at?"

Rukia grinned and Ichigo noticed how the angle of light made her lurid blue eyes shine with a pertly twinkle. "I know what color it is," she declared suddenly, reaching out to pluck at a strand of Ichigo's hair. "It's three shades lighter than your hair!"

"Hey!" He shoved her hand away, scowling. She was being extra annoying today, but if it was to get on his nerves, or to exercise her flirting abilities, he wasn't sure. In recent weeks, he had discovered just how capable she was of light hearted teasing, and she was good at it!

"That's not funny, Rukia," he said to her laughter.

She scoffed, sitting upright. "Says you."

"Says me," he agreed.

A thin layer of paint was poured into each tray. "You've never painted a house before, have you?" Ichigo asked, handing her a roller.

Rukia shook her head.

"It's easy." He applied a thin coat of paint to the roller and showed her how to correctly paint a house— in even, up and down strokes. "You work at the bottom, and I'll work at the top." Ichigo paused and then added, "Midget."

"Honey-lemon glaze." Rukia's thin, rose petal lips curled into a smirk. She crouched to her knees. "Three shades lighter."

"Whatever."

She rolled the brush up and down, smearing a wide streak of yellow over the old, chipped paint. She titled her head to one side. The smile was still present. "An essence of sunshine."

Maybe if he ignored her, then she would quit using bad imagery to describe his hair.

"Locks of iridescent gold."

"That's not funny."

She threw her arms in the air. "Peachy apricot threads—"

"Rukia!" He whirled around, splattering yellow paint everywhere and all over Rukia. "My hair is orange If you have to call it something, call it God damn orange!"

Startled, Rukia blinked. She reached up, touched the milky yellow paint dribbling down her cheek, and looked at the wet substance coating her fingertips. Then she looked down at the paint dotting her cotton white dress. She frowned. "You got it all over my dress, you jerk."

It seemed that she was going to hit him, but much to Ichigo's surprise, she didn't.

"I don't care about your dress or your lousy descriptions," he said.

But he did care. At least, he did care about the dress, plain as it was. He cared because he thought it suited her perfectly. It was sleeveless, with a square neck, and the hem was cut below her knees in a flattering angle. The seams curved perfectly with the smooth arc and bend of her small hips.

He liked the dress, especially the simplicity of it. The only reason she had worn it painting was because the fabric was old and the threads were starting to come out of the carefully stitched hem.

"For your information," Rukia said, "I'm writing a novel."

Ichigo scoffed. "Is that so?"

Rukia returned to the wall and continued painting. "Oh, yes," she said as it were the most serious thing in the world. "It's a romance novel."

"A romance novel!" His enthusiasm was of course a fake and sarcastic snort.

Rukia continued rolling the paint onto the wall. "It's about an orange haired jerk," she said seriously. "He's very tall and has eyes the color of crushed cinnamon. He doesn't like Chappy, and he has a very bad habit of recklessly throwing himself into dangerous situations, such as fights. But one day the jerk falls in love with a beautiful raven haired woman."

Ichigo scowled. He knew what she was getting at.

"The jerk and the beautiful woman go on many adventures tog ether, until finally on a lazy Sunday afternoon, in the middle of a hot August, they decide to take advantage of peace and repaint their beautiful house. But the woman describes the jerk's hair as three shades less than honey-lemon glaze, and even though she uses other silly descriptions, you know what he does?"

"Tells her to get lost?"

Rukia smiled. "No, no," she sighed, taking a few steps closer so that they within more than an arms reach of each other. "He drops the paint brush and scoops her up in his arms" She lifted Ichigo's free arm, placed it around her shoulders, and scooted closer— "and says, 'Rukia, I love you more than the stars and moon combined!'"

Ichigo closed his eyes. Of all the ridiculous, run-on-sentence schemes! "That is so cliché," he said.

"Oh, but it means so much to Rukia-chan!"

There was only one thing that would put an end to her nonsense. If he gave her what she wanted, what she had been hinting at for the twenty minuets, only then would she stop. Not that he was unwilling to lean down and kiss her; Rukia's kisses were always the best.

Slow, deep, and gentle.

It was the sort of kiss that made the toes curl and the hair raise in a delightful manner. The kind that makes fireworks go off in the middle of broad daylight. Caressing her cheek, he tasted the tang of sweet lip gloss, and cherished the moment.

When at last they parted, Rukia smiled and whispered, "I think it'll be a best seller."