Tradition

"Ichigo?"

Ichigo sighed. He was only one step in the house and Rukia was already bothering him. "Hai?"

"What's this thing?"

He glanced downward to see her pointing at the top of the doorway where a sprig of something hung. Immediately, the boy's face was devoured in red with a blush.

"I-It's a mistletoe, Rukia."

"Ah, Inoue has mentioned it before. What's a mistletoe?" Ichigo wanted nothing more than to rush inside the house and never discuss the purpose of the small plant, but he knew if he didn't, she'd still bother him until he told her or worse, ask his father about it. Or Kon.

"It's something you hang up during Christmas."

"Why?"

A tic started in Ichigo's jaw. "Why d'you wanna know so bad, midget?"

Rukia frowned and kicked him in the shin, annoyed. "Just answer the question, idiot!"

"Fine! Whenever two people walk underneath it, they're supposed to kiss!" Ichigo snapped before he could stop himself. The instant he said it, he wished he hadn't. Rukia's head tilted in curiosity and the look was really cute. Ichigo hated that. She was bossy, annoying, overly curious, and tough. He wasn't supposed to find anything about her cute, but every day that passed only caused him to find something else about her that he liked in that sort of way.

"Why?" God, did she ever stop asking questions? Ichigo shoved his hands in his pocket and pointedly did not look at her while he answered the question.

"I don't know why. Some person just decided it should be a tradition. My Dad probably hung it up because he's a damn pervert."

"Oh. Okay." What? She never shut up that quick. He turned to face her in surprise only to see her lift up on her tiptoes and kiss him on the mouth. He froze for the entire time her soft lips were on his and didn't proceed to freak until she drew back.

"W-What was that?" He sputtered, stumbling back a bit. Rukia blinked.

"What? Did you not want to kiss?"

"No, but you don't—that was—a kiss is a very personal thing, Rukia!" He finally managed to spit out. Rukia rolled her eyes and shut the door, apparently unaffected by the kiss or his reaction to it.

"You are such a child, Ichigo. A kiss is merely an exchange between two close friends."

Ichigo started to frown. "No, it isn't. It…it means more than that."

"It does not." He could hardly believe she was actually arguing with him about kissing. She would argue about the sky being blue if he brought it up.

"It does too! Maybe none of the kisses you've ever given meant anything, but they mean something to me!"

"Oh? How many girls have you kissed, Ichigo?" Rukia replied with a smug smile. Ichigo's cheeks reddened even more.

"Enough to know you're wrong."

The short shinigami threw up her hands. "You don't know what you're talking about."

Finally, Ichigo had enough. Intent on proving his point, he grabbed her shoulders and pulled her into him. She started to berate him but then he leaned over and kissed her hard on the mouth. Rukia just stood there, too shocked to push him away. She nearly jumped in surprise as his tongue grazed her bottom lip and slipped into her mouth. Her body involuntarily arched into the front of his and she shuddered as he sucked her bottom lip in between his lips for a second before finally letting her go.

"Now," he said, sounding a little out of breath. "Have you ever kissed anyone like that?"

"N-No." Rukia stammered, confused as to why her knees were weak and her face was flushed with heat. Fortunately, further conversation was interrupted as Ichigo's father came bursting into the house, diving headfirst for Rukia with his lips pursed.

"GIVE DADDY A KISS, RUKIA-CHAN!"

His face was, of course, promptly met with the sole of Ichigo's foot. The boy stomped on the top of his father's head after he hit the floor, growling at him.

"What the hell, old man? Why'd you hang that mistletoe up in the friggin' doorway?"

Isshin hopped to his feet, appearing unscathed. "You aren't a boy any more, Ichigo, you're a man. Men are supposed to give beautiful women like Rukia-chan kisses. Christmas is the perfect time of year for that!"

"You're an idiot. I'm going up to my room," the moody fifteen-year-old grumbled, slouching towards the hallway. Rukia watched him go, still feeling too stunned to move quite yet. Isshin sulked for a little bit before bounding off towards the kitchen for something to eat.

"Isshin-san?"

He poked his out from around the refrigerator door. "Yes, Rukia-chan?"

"If a boy and a girl kiss, does it mean they are…more than friends?"

For once, a naughty grin did not appear on the elder Kurosaki's bristled face. Instead, he spared her a kind smile and walked over to her with a juice box. She blinked in surprise as he patted her on the head, gave her the drink, and turned her towards the hallway.

"Go ask Ichigo. He'll tell you."

She faltered. "But—"

"And if that doesn't work—" He grabbed the mistletoe from off the nail in the doorframe and tossed it to her. She caught it on impulse.

"Use that. He'll get the picture."

"T-Thank you," she mumbled before retreating. Isshin shook his head as he watched her go, heading back towards the kitchen.

"It's going to be a good Christmas this year."

FIN

A/N: Honestly, this came out of nowhere. I was on Youtube watching an IchiRuki video and I had the urge to write a little Christmas one-shot. Hope you enjoyed it. I really appreciate reviews since this will be my second Bleach fic and I want to know if it's any good. Thanks!

Kyoko