Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. Kubo Tite does.

Daidai: Bitter Orange


Marie Darkholme

He crept into the shadows of the room. Her frame was barely visible. He allowed himself a smile as he watched her sleeping form. Her head was resting not on the pillow but a few centimetres away nearly the wall, both her feet off the bed and with her right arm resting over her chest and her left twisted in a strange position between her body and the wall.

Sitting silently by her side, he sighed heavily. His nightly visits weren't very ethical and if she ever found out, she was sure to have his head for it. But even if that was to happen, it would still be worth it. He removed a thread of her black hair from her face, making her tremble at his touch. He quickly removed his hand. Had she felt it? It wasn't supposed for humans to feel a shinigami's touch. He dismissed it as being just a coincidence.

She looked utterly cute and feminine in her pyjamas. It consisted on a blue shirt and white shorts. Her tanned legs were showing between the sheets.

Suddenly, she moved. Ichigo froze in his spot when her head hit against his back and her hand dropped over his lap. A deep blush crept to his cheeks as he slowly removed her hand from the awkward place it had ended on, the tips of her fingers brushing slightly between his legs.

As he picked her hand, he couldn't help stroking it. Her hand was strong and callused, but at the same time, it was also smooth as the skin of a woman was supposed to be. Not that he cared about that. Putting her hand back in the mattress, he decided that perhaps he was pushing his luck too far and stood up to leave. That was until a hand grasped the fabric of his hakama.

"Don't leave me alone…" her voice pleaded.

Ichigo almost jumped right then, but when he turned around he was surprised to see that she was still asleep. Her eyes peacefully closed. Smiling, he sat back on the bed and picked up her head, resting it over his lap as he leaned against the wall.

"I never meant to leave you alone." He whispered as he stroked her face gently with his right hand while in his left he held her hand.

"But you did." Her head tilted up and the shinigami was shocked to see her eyes open up slowly and mirror his own.

"Ta..tsu..ki…" he whispered.

A hand over his lips shushed him. "I've known for a while." She replied in anticipation to his question. He gulped, without knowing what to say. She didn't move, which by itself was something amazing. Tatsuki, the toughest girl he had ever met, was laying her head on his lap as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"You said you didn't mean to leave. Then why did you?" she asked quietly as he stared into an unknown point in her wall.

"You know why." He sighed.

Tatsuki sat up, her back to him. "Not that you were the one saying it." she accused. Though he couldn't see it, there were tears welling up in her eyes.

The shinigami searched in vain for an excuse. There was none and he knew it. When she had asked him, he had lied. There was no escaping that. Unsure, he rested his hands over her shoulders.

"I didn't want you to get involved."

She chuckled. "I was already involved. I have been for quite some time." She pointed out turning her face around so she could look into his face as she said it.

Ichigo sighed. "I just wanted to protect you." He was now looking at the mattress, his hands having fallen from her shoulders.

Tatsuki bit her bottom lip trying to keep the tears from falling. "Why are you here?" she inquired looking away from him.

His hand cupped her face and forced it to stare back at him. There was a sad smile in his lips. His hand moved back, his thumb resting in front of her ear and the others over the base of her neck. Clutching one of her hands in his, he hesitated. Forming some resolve, he pulled her head and captured her lips in his. They were sweet, tasting to something he couldn't quite pinpoint; perhaps a mix between the sweetness of a chocolate and the bitterness of a lemon. They tasted to Tatsuki.

He was surprised that she didn't push him away or even tried to break the kiss. Instead, she responded to him. Ichigo felt somehow in a different state of peace. Pushing her closer, he found his way down her neck and kissed the angle between her jaw and her ear, causing Tatsuki to tremble, only to take her lips once more in a fiery kiss.

Suddenly, Tatsuki jumped off the bed. He could see her flustered cheeks against the moonlight that entered through the opened window. She was slightly out of breath when she turned her back to him.

With a determination he had never thought he had, Ichigo stood up and involved her in a sweet embrace, resting his chin over her shoulder. "What is it, Tatsuki?" he whispered. Again, he could feel her body trembling. He released her immediately. Turning around, his palm flew to his face and he ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm sorry. I…I…shouldn't have…"

His apology was interrupted by a thud. When he turned around, Tatsuki had collapsed to the floor. He quickly kneeled beside her, worried. "Tatsuki?" he called out, checking her pulse. There was none and he started panicking only to hear a muffed laugh behind him.

He turned around and was utterly surprised to see Tatsuki standing there. But not only was she standing beside him, she was wearing black hakama and gi and in her back, she had tied up a long thin zanpakutou. She laughed, amused by his face.

"When did that…just how did you…?" he stuttered.

"While you were gone." She replied with a grin.

Ichigo smirked. He hadn't been expecting that in the least. Taking a flash-step forward, he wrapped her in his arms before she could protest.

"Were you planning to tell me?" he inquired with the goofy grin she had missed so much.

"I'm doing it now." She complained. "Besides, I'm entitled to have my own secrets." She turned her head to the side.

The vizard smiled sadly. "Yes, you are indeed." He replied as he moved her chin and placed another kiss over her lips. He felt her tremble again and eyed her confused. Her eyes slowly opened; the red on her cheeks more than visible.

"You give me weak knees." She replied as her hands clutched the back of his gi, making it slide slightly back. Ichigo smirked.

"Then I guess you shouldn't be standing." He whispered in her ear, having realized that had the same effect. He reached to the zanpakutou on her back and untied it. "This is in the way." He stated as he kissed the crook in the angle between her neck and clavicle. Her hands tightened the grip on his gi and Ichigo pulled her closer with his arm around her waist. Putting her zanpakutou down on the floor, Zangetsu already resting against the wall of her bedroom, he picked her up and rested her on her bed.

When he did, her grip over his gi forced him down with her and he found himself in a compromising position over her. He watched her features. The blush on her cheeks and that fragile look were the cutest thing he had ever seen. She bit her bottom lip like she always did when she was nervous and then, she pushed his lips over hers.

Untroubled but surprised, it took a split second for Ichigo to start kissing her back.

Slowly, they found themselves lost somewhere beyond that room, as if their souls had been transported somewhere else.

And that's about it. What do you do when you want a break from your actual chapter? You write a short-story. In my case, a really short short story. Anyways, hope the fans of IchiTatsu have enjoyed it. I sure did enjoy writing it.

(Tatsuki: actually, this story continues, but because it had too much hentai scenes, she decided to cut it short, as not to upset sensibilities.

Me: hey, you weren't supposed to rat me out. I'm gonna kill you in my next story.)