So I am supposed to be studying for the exams that determine whether or not I get my Master's degree... But I did this instead today. I got curious about whether I could write Orihime or not, she is a very complex character in many respects, and I have a lot of respect for authors who write her well. What do you think? I think it's highly ironic that this is my first Bleach fanfic though, since I'm more of a Ichiruki girl myself. By the way, if I owned Bleach I wouldn't need to study for my Master's degree right now...

Formalities

When Orihime first heard Kurosaki-kun refer to Matsumoto as "Rangiku-san", something inside of her twitched. Or maybe just sighed. Immediately, the part of her that sounded distinctly like Tatsuki, but looked like her brother, reminded her to calm down, it was nothing, he just saw her as a comrade from their battles in Soul Society. He called Abarai-kun, Toushiro-kun, and Madarame-kun by their first names too. It wasn't intimacy; Matsumoto-san hadn't crossed that wall Orihime had been staring at for over a year now. The walls that guarded his heart, his thoughts, his feelings, and possibly his liver, and if she was lucky a particularly yummy recipe involving red bean paste.

But then a part of her, the part of her that was still small, afraid, and alone after her brother had gone pale and his eyes had closed, responded 'But I'm nakama, I fought for him way more times, and even Kuchiki-Taicho gets to be Byakuya. And here I am, having cried for him, bled for him, healed for him, and I'm still Inoue.'

The Tatsuki/Sora patiently reminded her that Sado-kun and Ishida-kun were always referred to by their family names as well, and they were close to him. But he referred to Sado-kun as "Chad". It was a nickname, a private joke, a signal that he had gotten through the wall. Or maybe Sado-kun was just scaling the wall, like Rapunzel's Prince, climbing Kurosaki-kun's lovely fiery hair- WAIT!! NOT THE THORN BUSHES!! Oh, thank goodness, his bangs protected his eyes; maybe that was why he grew them so long...

When Kurosaki-kun referred to Ishida as such it was a sign of respect, and a weak attempt to hide the bond the he felt with the Quincy. Despite Ishida's love for sewing, capes, and movie renditions of Jane Austen novels, Kurosaki and he were really the same in many ways. Both were still reeling from the deaths of the people that defined their worlds, and both strove relentlessly to become strong enough to ensure that it would never, ever happen again. Both were proud outsiders, stubbornly independent, and most importantly, flashy dressers. Very flashy dressers. Orihime was convinced that she saw Kurosaki-kun's bankai uniform on a runway once; but it was on a woman. Kurosaki-kun had not been as pleased as he she thought he would be when she told him about it.

That's it! Kurosaki-kun and Ishida-kun could open a fashion store together! Kurosaki-kun could design, and Ishida-kun could sow, and then they would have all the costumes for the final number where Sado-kun finally reaches Kurosaki-kun behind his walls and pulls him out, into Orihime's waiting arms. But it would most likely be Kuchiki-san' waiting arms. Kuchiki-san always had such excellent timing, she showed up just in time to save get Kurosaki-kun out of his funk after being defeated by the Arrancar, managed not to get killed before Kurosaki-kun got there to save her...

He called her Rukia. He had tried to hide the habit back before he rescued her in Soul Society, but every once and awhile he would slip up. And Kurosaki-kun had never once failed to call her Inoue. She supposed that after a person shoves a zanpaktou into you, giving you shinigami powers and forever changes your life you should call them by their first name; that would make sense. It was the polite thing to do. And they had been partners, defeating hollows together for the few months she lost her shinigami powers. Like Bonnie and Clyde, Kurosaki-kun robbing the banks and Kuchiki-san driving the get-away car, only her legs were so short that she couldn't pump the gas hard enough, so Kurosaki-kun keeps yelling at her to "HURRY THE FUCK UP BITCH!!" And Kuchiki would some how manage to slap him upside the head with one arm and drive with the other, because she was just so extraordinarily talented.

They yelled at each other a lot. But he seemed to enjoy it. That was when he was freeist with his words, when he spoke the most. Orihime didn't like yelling. It reminded her too much of a dirty place she had left long ago, where a drunken man was always yelling. He was always just so angry that he would literally shake as the veins popped in his fist, a fist that would come flying towards her. But her brother had taken her away from that. And she had repaid all of the love he had showered her with day after day by yelling at him in his final hours. She did not like yelling.

Kurosaki-kun never yelled at her, hardly ever raised his voice to her at all. His voice was usually gentle, soft on her senses like butter melting on sweet potato- what she wouldn't give for a sweet potato; it had the same color as Kurosaki-kun's hair. There was a winning endorsement for a vegetable if she'd ever heard one. But he called her Inoue, so maybe she should start kicking him in the head and calling him a fool, because if he was calling Matsumoto-san 'Rangiku-san' then something had to change!

Maybe she had to change. Even in her head, he was Kurosaki-kun, always Kurosaki-kun. Even though he had changed her life in almost the same way Kuchiki-san had changed his. Maybe she wasn't getting close enough to get through the wall. But she wanted to be invited in, she didn't want to intrude. She wanted him to stand there at the gate and take her by the hand and show her inside the. walls himself. She didn't want his red bean paste recipe unless he wanted to give it to her, otherwise it wouldn't be special. The taste would be all wrong.

So she'd wait, close by, but a remaining a respectful distance from his walls. She could be patient. But if he started referring to Aizen as Sousuke, so help her God...