Ichigo refuses to marry Rukia Kuchiki and will scream it at the top of his lungs. The woman in question can only agree that she doesn't want to marry him as well, but Ichigo can't figure out why that's bothering him.
Disclaimer: Consider this disclaimed
Rating T for language.
Let's Not Get Married
He wasn't sure how this all started. But like so many other things in his life, it was the Dead's fault.
"Well," Ichigo said heavily, dodging one of Ikkaku's attacks. "I don't see many women going out of their way to get to you."
They were practicing in the dirt-floor arena in the Eleventh Division Headquarters for reasons Ichigo couldn't recall. Although, he was certain that this "practice" fight was the natural result of an argument the two were having over the semantics over the word "convalescence."
Ikkaku glared as he jumped into the air. "It's funny because I was just thinking how fortunate it was that you found one girl who can stand your ugly ass face." He swooped down, the wooden staff in his hands aimed at Ichigo.
Naturally, what started out as a verbal spar resulted into a more physical challenge, which resulted in name calling, which resulted in the present state of affairs—
Ichigo glared, flash stepping to the right. The ground exploded and Ikkaku looked around for his opponent.
"At least I have one who can stand my face," Ichigo laughed, running circles around the confused Cue-Ball. The wind picked up as he increased his spiritual pressure. "When women look at you, all they can see is that amazing shine reflecting off your bald head!"
"Why you little fuck!" Ikkaku slammed the staff down, breaking the circle temporarily.
He could hear Ichigo laugh mercilessly, and he turned around frantically, trying to find him. The sound still circling him. "You probably haven't had one of those in a while have you Ikkaku?"
Ikkaku's face hardened, if that was even possible. He jumped into the air again, following Ichigo's movement, until he shunpo-ed right in front of the living shinigami.
"Umph!" Ichigo slammed right into the waiting shinigami's chest and landed on his ass.
"Not so high and mighty now are you Kurosaki?" Ikkaku asked, hands on hips and head held high.
"Bastard," Ichigo muttered, rubbing his sore bum.
Ikkaku smiled evily, lifting the staff high above his head with both of his hands. "Say good-bye Kurosaki."
Ichigo looked up just in time to shunpo his way behind his opponent.
"Used to hearing that from the girls aren't you 'Ku?" Ichigo asked sweetly. He took the staff in both hands like a bat and whacked the shinigami on top of his head.
"GAAR!" Ikkaku turned around furiously. His head began to throb.
"Right. I forgot that they don't say anything to you in general," Ichigo baited. He playfully hit the cue ball on the head again. THWAK!
Ikkaku turned around and blocked the next attack. "Big talk for someone who blushes at the sight of a naked woman." He smirked as he dodged the next angry attack from Ichigo.
Damn, Yoruichi, Ichigo thought. She retold that story to a whole bar with broad gestures and acute details. He didn't hear the end of it from Renji and Urahara, let alone the feline herself.
Ichigo's reiatsu grew as he swung the wooden staff above his head not unlike a helicopter. "Maybe one day you'll actually get that far 'Ku," Ichigo said laughingly.
Ikkaku swung his weapon as hard as he could into Ichigo's gut, but Ichigo remained undeterred. "What's the farthest you've ever gone with a woman again? Passing them on the street?"
Ikkaku took another swing, but Ichigo was too fast for him. He jumped into the air, taking a step over Ikkaku's head, and landing in a perfect arc behind him.
Ikkaku turned around as fast as he could, readying his stance in time to block Ichigo's next attack.
"It's really sad," Ichigo went on as if he wasn't fighting and dodging attacks. "Because you're how old? I'm only twenty-one and have gotten farther than you ever will."
"Shut up you little punk," Ikkaku seethed through gritted teeth. He stood crouched over, preparing himself for another attack from Ichigo.
"Very strong comeback Ikkaku," Ichigo replied as he launched himself into the air again. "Very original."
Ikkaku swung the staff over his head and thwacked Ichigo out of the air in fly-swatter fashion. He fell onto the ground with a thud. Hovering over him, Ikkaku held the end of the staff over the living shinigami's head. "How far would that be Kurosaki? It took you years to actually work up the courage to ask Rukia out. If I worked at your pace I'd probably be living by now."
Ichigo, cross eyed from looking at the bottom of the stick, glared at him, which would have been more effective had he not been cross eyed. "Shut-up."
"Oh very strong comeback Ichigo. Very original." Ikkaku parroted. He smirked as he stepped on the boy's stomach.
"Face it Ichigo. You're such a novice. It's funny."
Ichigo gripped the bottom of the staff that was hovering above his face and pushed himself up. Ikkaku, not prepared for this, was hit on the chin with his own weapon. "Fucking--!"
Ichigo stood up, weapon somewhere on the dirt ground. He searched around him for it before he heard Ikkaku running toward him at massive speed. He felt the wind kick up and his opponent's spiritual pressure grow. Shit.
He flash stepped behind him, searching the ground quickly.
The ground Ichigo just vacated exploded as Ikkaku slammed the stick down, and he turned around immediately. "You're so full of talk Ichigo. Why don't you just admit that's all you can do?"
"Sure I'll admit it," Ichigo yelled back, biding time. He still had no weapon. "I'll admit it when you win. Oh wait! That's never gonna happen!"
Ikkaku turned red.
"But I bet that's what all the girls say to you!" Ichigo shun-poed into another area, still searching for his staff. There? No. Maybe here? Nope.
Ikkaku flash stepped as well, catching up with Ichigo in split second intervals before the strawberry would flash step away.
Not being able to catch up and beat the damn human's ass physically, Ikkaku turned to more psychological standards. "I can see why it took you so long now."
"What are you talking about?" Ichigo asked from the other side of the stadium. The stupid staff must've burnt to a crisp or something.
"Why it took you and Rukia so long to actually get together," Ikkaku went on conversationally. "You're scared of women,"
Ichigo stopped mid flash-step to turn toward Ikkaku. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"It's alright," Ikkaku reassured, swinging his weapon idly. "Some men aren't able to handle women until a more mature age. I'm just not sure that you're there yet."
Ichigo scowled. "This from the guy who doesn't have a girlfriend."
"I'm way older than you are Kurosaki. I mean look at you!" he trilled his voice to a higher pitch. "You still call it being boyfriend and girlfriend."
Ichigo flash stepped into another area of the arena, choosing not to respond.
Ikkaku took this for a good sign and continued. "When are you and that little thing going to get married anyway?"
Ichigo's sweat dropped. "What's it to you?" He asked angrily. All thoughts of trying to find his missing weapon vanished.
"There's nothing to me. I'm just saying that you two have been together for a while now."
Ichigo laughed. "Compared to how long you guys live, I'm surprised a couple of years is a while."
Ikkaku pursed his lips in thought. "In relationships, everything is a while."
"Well sorry to disappoint," Ichigo responded loudly. He was across the arena after all. "We're not going to."
Ikkaku's strained his eyes, attempting to see in the distance. He swore that he saw—He smiled viciously. "Sorry Ichigo," he continued, "but I bet other people might have a say in that."
Ichigo glared at his opponent, who was only a couple of hundred yards away. He was a speck in the distance really. "That doesn't matter though does it? I'd have to want to first, and I don't want to."
Ikkaku smiled maliciously. "It doesn't all matter on whether you want to Ichigo," he went on wisely. "It's a matter of principle."
"What the hell does that mean? That doesn't mean anything! You're just talking shit now!" He was on to Ikkaku's game.
"I'm just saying," Ikkaku said louder than before. The acoustics of the arena were pretty good too. "That marriage is a possibility between the two of you!"
Ichigo looked at him confused. Confused, but annoyed. And angry. Anger was a given with him. "It might be possible, but I don't want to get married!"
"I bet you secretly do!" Ikkaku prodded. "I bet you secretly want to get married to Rukia Kuchiki!"
Ichigo glared, lost weapon, and their fight completely forgotten. "Will you shut-up? I don't want to get married to Rukia Kuchiki so why don't you just shut the fuck up!"
The entire arena echoed his sentence back to him, and Ichigo was surprised by the force of how he said that. He could hear the distinct laughter from Ikkaku. He watched as his friend/opponent fell onto his knees, waves of laughter shaking his body. He flash stepped toward him, confused, and saw the source of Ikkaku's mirth.
Only a few yards in front of him stood one Rukia Kuchiki, the girl he had been dating for a few years now, and, coincidentally, the girl he just professed to not want to marry.
He kicked Ikkaku in the gut, hard, and ventured a look at Rukia.
She was holding two bento boxes from a string, and she wasn't smiling.
Before Ichigo could appreciate her thoughtfulness, Ikkaku rolled and smacked himself into his legs, still doubled over in laughter. He gave a good kick to the man's stomach again before making his way over to the girl he loved but didn't want to marry.
"You have to understand Rukia," Ichigo went on immediately. That is, after he followed her to the stone steps that led down to the arena floor; and after she placed the open bento box into his lap; and after he kicked the crap out of Ikkaku, who greeted Rukia warmly before flash stepping out of there. Immediately after that, he started to explain.
"I'm not ready for marriage. I'm only twenty-one and compared to how old you—" she shot him a dirty look, which he ignored as he continued. "—are I'm sure that you'd see it as robbing the cradle or something, but I've never really thought about actually doing the big—"
"It's alright Ichigo," she replied calmly. She was perched on her knees beside him. Bento box open on her lap. "Because I don't want to get married to you either." With that said, she began to eat.
Ichigo's brain couldn't properly digest that statement.
First, Rukia wasn't mad.
Second, she wasn't kicking, hitting, slapping, or in anyway hurting him.
Third, she wasn't calling him names like "Idiot".
Which made no sense to him whatsoever. He stopped short. "Oh," he said finally. Ichigo turned to his girlfriend, a little more wary than before he started the conversation.
She smiled reassuringly. "Yeah, so you can shut your mouth already."
She continued to eat and he continued to stare at his box before he voiced what was really bothering him. "Are you going to hit me?"
Rukia ignored this and kept chewing.
"Because I warn you Rukia! I've been training and can probably dodge your attacks."
"I bet you could," she replied almost as if she were an adult and Ichigo was a child. He also noted that she admitted that he could.
"That's fine," Ichigo went on. He toyed with his food with his chop sticks. "Because I didn't expect you to tell me if you were going to hit me. You're probably waiting until I don't expect it. But I have news for you Rukia Kuchiki: I'm always expecting it."
She smirked at that. "Then I have trained you well Kurosaki."
He was stumped. Rukia wasn't mad at him, didn't plan on marrying him, and wasn't going to hit him. So what the hell was wrong with her? She usually was angry at him, she liked to beat him up, and, he was pretty sure, that she loved him. This is why, Ichigo Kurosaki, cleared from any anger or violence from his girlfriend, turned toward said female, the vein in his head throbbing, and demanded angrily, "Why the hell wouldn't you want to get married to me?"
"Ichigo…" she rolled her eyes, already half expecting an explanation to be necessary.
"No really Rukia! I want to hear the big reason why you wouldn't want to get married to me? Would it be that bad?"
"You were just saying that you didn't want to get married to me! It's only fair that I can share the sentiment!"
"Ah ha!" he pointed an accusatory finger at her. "So you're only saying it because I said it?" He sagged a little. "I thought that you were your own person Rukia."
"I am my own person, and unlike people who believe that they are their own person by acting all macho and declaring their abhorrence toward monogamy, I actually meant what I said when I said that I wouldn't want to get married with you."
Ichigo scratched his head. "Whatever that means." He dismissed, finally picking up some food and bringing it to his mouth. She glared. "Something is seriously weird about you Rukia. You first don't act mad and now you're mad?"
She made a strange frantic noise. "Ichigo Kurosaki!" her voice was deadly low. "I just might kill you."
"What now? First this and then that. Is it really that time of the month fo—OW! DAMMIT RUKIA THAT WAS COMPLETELY UNCALLED FOR!" His face was red from where she slapped him.
"From the way you're acting I'm surprised you haven't answered your own question," Rukia said noncommittally, hand tucked back into her lap as if nothing had happened. "Who wouldn't want to marry you when you voice things so well?"
Ichigo rubbed his face. "Who would want to marry you when you slap people every chance you get?" He rubbed his cheek tenderly. "Really Rukia, it was offline."
She finally turned to him. "I'm sorry," she said quietly, leaning in to kiss the red hand mark on his cheek.
"That's much better," Ichigo affirmed, finally taking a bite out of his meal.
"You said you were always expecting it, though," Rukia pointed out a little defensively.
"And you said that you didn't want to marry me," Ichigo said. "I guess we say things we don't mean."
"But I still don't want to marry you."
He spit out whatever food he had just placed in his mouth. "What?"
"I still don't want to marry you." She repeated calmly.
"Why the hell not?"
"Gosh Ichigo. Could it be the way you announced to the entire Eleventh Squad's headquarters how unlikely it will happen or the way you panicked as you learned that I was behind you?"
The sarcasm of this statement was lost on Ichigo. "So you're just mad about that? It's pretty petty if you ask me Rukia."
"No. I was just making fun of you, but you can think that if it makes things simpler for you."
"That's why isn't it? Because you think I'm an idiot?"
She laughed. "I've always thought that you were an idiot, but I'd hardly merit that as the reason why I don't want to marry you."
"It's because of your family," he convinced himself. "You don't think that Byakuya would approve of me."
"No," she shook her head while chewing her food, "I'm fairly certain that Byakuya respects you. Although, don't let him know that I told you."
"So you think he respects me enough to let us get married?"
"I guess." She exhaled. "I've never asked him."
"Did you never ask him because I'm still living? You want to wait until I'm officially dead. That's it isn't it? You're worried how we'll bridge the gap between the worlds when my life is based in the World of the Living and you're based here."
"As romantic as that notion is Ichigo, it has nothing to do with this. I'm sure we'd be able to work it out if that circumstance ever comes up."
"'If?'" Ichigo repeated deadpanned. He turned to face her, "You mean when." He corrected.
"No," she countered. "If. As in 'if you propose to me' or 'if I say yes' or 'if we stay together that long.'"
Ichigo shook his head glumly. "You really have no faith in us then do you?"
"I'm just practical Ichigo. Feelings have never really been a part of being a shinigami."
"But there are plenty of shinigami who have gotten married or fell in love," he reasoned.
"Yes, but for every handful of those, there's another handful of happy, single shinigami out there as well," she countered.
"So you're putting your career first, is that it?"
Rukia thought for a moment before shaking her head. "No. I think I can balance a married life with my duties. There are, as you pointed out, plenty of shinigami who have gotten married."
Ichigo scowled as he heard his own words backfire on him. Damn woman. "Then why the hell are you fighting the inevitable?"
She looked at him deadpanned. "Ichigo? Didn't you just say that you didn't want to get married to me?"
He didn't answer.
"Why wouldn't you want to get married to me then?" she asked patiently.
Ichigo shrugged childishly. "I don't know." He mumbled, looking at his feet.
"Exactly! So quit it with this stupid, childish, double standard mindset you have."
Ichigo sat there, clearly stumped and clearly beaten, but he clung onto only one word from Rukia's statement. "So I'm a child? That's it? Because if it's the difference in our ages that's bothering you, I'm sure everyone else will understand."
Rukia huffed, already tired with the conversation.
The two sat in silence, not bothering to even pretend to eat when Renji, who, by suggestion byway of Ikkaku, came striding into the arena. Upon entering, he could feel Ichigo's reiatsu spilling from him, hitting him in waves. At the moment, he could tell that Ichigo was annoyed. Then again he was annoyed all the time, but right now he seemed more annoyed than usual. Sadly, Renji's powers of perception only went as far as to detect that, and he continued toward the unhappy couple.
"So what are the two of you up to?" he asked cheerily, taking the seat next to Rukia. He made a grab for some of her food, but Rukia flicked him with her chop sticks.
Ichigo scowled while Rukia decided to take advantage of the opportunity. "Oh nothing really," she said airily as she turned to face her childhood friend. "Just discussing the roadblocks on our way to possible matrimony."
Renji eyed Ichigo, who continued scowling then turned back to Rukia tactfully. "Well, if he doesn't want to Rukia you shouldn't pressure him into it."
Rukia pouted angrily. "And why," she began shrilly, "is it that men always think women are the ones racing to the altar? That's a stereotype that I think needs to be rectified. Besides Renji, I'll have you know that I don't want to marry Ichigo at the moment."
Ichigo scowled more. "Geez Rukia you don't need to tell everyone about it."
Wasn't he the one who just—he was the one who screamed it to the entire— She turned to him, mouth pinched into a clean line. She was visibly shaking.
"Besides," he continued. "I don't see why I should suffer if you're just refusing me out of a moral duty to your own gender."
She smiled sweetly. "Is it that beyond your comprehension that a girl will decide not to marry you purely based on her own mind? Does there really have to be a reason?" She asked.
"There's a reason for everything," Renji replied philosophically. He still wasn't aware of what they were arguing about but felt the need to insert himself into the conversation.
"Yeah," Ichigo agreed.
"This is really unfair," Rukia sighed. "Arguing with Ichigo is bad enough, but with you and Renji? It's almost like I'm arguing with a child instead of a toddler!"
"Are you implying that Renji's smarter than me?" Ichigo asked. His tone was low. A good sign that he was thinking about going bankai on someone's ass.
Renji smiled gleefully. "Obviously it does."
Rukia shook her head, turning from her friend to her boyfriend. "I take that back."
Ichigo looked across her over to Renji who shrugged.
"So did we come to a conclusion?" Ichigo asked, braving himself to take a peak at her.
He could've sworn he saw the puff of steam escape her ears. "Yes. Let's not get married."
"But you still didn't tell him why," Renji pointed out, and Rukia made a mental note to beat the shit out of her childhood friend later.
She turned toward Ichigo, and as calmly as a girl who had just underwent this conversation could, she replied, "Ichigo, I don't want to."
"You don't want to," Ichigo parroted, tasting the excuse on his own tongue. "Is that really all? What about all that women's rights, family obligations, and other crap you've been giving me?"
"Ichigo that was all you, and I'm pretty certain that we've concluded that none of that would be in our way."
"Exactly. Your brother secretly respects me—"
"You don't mind the difference in our ages—"
"Or the fact that he's human," Renji added.
"And your morals are unharmed."
"High as they maybe" Renji muttered.
"So we might as well say the inevitable," Ichigo concluded.
"Which is?" Renji asked.
"Which is," Ichigo bit back. "That we should get married, Rukia and I," he clarified because he just noticed that a certain red-haird Shinigami was taking part in this intimate conversation.
"No! No we shouldn't! We shouldn't because of how long this damn conversation is going—went," she corrected, standing up. "Ichigo Kurosaki I don't think I'll marry you even if you were the last Shinigami alive." She stomped away angrily without looking back at her.
The two men looked after her in confusion and Renji picked up her unfinished bento box, taking a few bites before finally turned to Ichigo.
"Aren't you the last Shinigami alive?" He asked.
"Yeah," Ichigo scratched his head. "I'm pretty sure. At least Ukitake said I was the most recent."
Renji nodded, still chewing. "Thought so."
I'm not sure if this is where it'll end, but this is really all I had in mind. I've had this for a while but never posted it and in just re-reading it I feel as if one more chapter should just be added. Maybe? Maybe not?
Leave a review! I'd love to hear your thoughts, critiques, whatevers.
Thanks for reading,