Mhm, alrighty then, this is my fic for Rainbowey's (otherwise known as SunsetRainbow) Christmas Renkia, Ichihime contest. You better enjoy this Rainbowey, cause I worked my butt off to get it done in time, lol!
Also, this is virtually my first time writing about the Karakura gang, so I'm unsure about my characterisation. Just warning you, there might be OOCness, but I'm not sure. you can be the judge of that. Actually...it's my first time writing Renkia and Ichihime...and also this is something that's not Hitsuhina o.0 (which can only be said about...only one of my other fics xD)
On a side note: it's great to be posting something on FF again! Placed under Renkia cause I adore them more.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach (Tite Kubo)
It was the eve of Christmas in the town of Karakura, and of course being the procrastinators that they were – or putter-offers as Rukia liked to call them – the Kurosaki family had only just begun to trim the tree. Or rather, it was Ichigo, Orihime, Rukia and Renji trimming the tree…and, well, the one swathed in the lights wasn't the tree.
"What is all this crap?!"
"It's called a sting of lights, Renji," Rukia said matter of factly, looking up from her human-world Christmas picture book. "Humans use them to decorate their trees, houses and gardens, and they come in lots of different colours. Look!"
"I don't wanna look at some damn pictures of damn lights! Just get this thing off me! I can hardly move!" he yelled, tugging on a random chord.
"Well, you kinda deserve it if you managed to get yourself tangled up in them," she replied, arching up an amused eyebrow. "And for yelling at me when I was being so very kind to you."
"Why you little-"
Orihime quickly intervened. "Oh, um, I'll help you out, Abarai-san."
She rushed over to do as she promised. While she was pulling the cords loose, Renji gave Rukia a dirty glare, which she responded to with a childish poke of her tongue. As soon as Renji was free, Ichigo appeared in the room and pushed his head down.
"Hey, stop messing around and help me put up the decorations. The sooner it's done, the sooner we get to open the presents."
"But don't people open the presents during Christmas day?" Rukia said, very proud of her knowledge she had acquired within the last ten minutes.
Ichigo didn't face her to answer, instead walking towards the bare tree with a cardboard box between his hands. He snorted derisively. "Yeah, but by the time we finish, it will be Christmas day."
"Then stop talking and decorate!" Rukia said before resuming her book.
"Pffth, I'll have to do the decorating, won't I? A midget like you wouldn't even be able to reach the middle of the tree."
Renji started to laugh, loudly. "He got you there, Rukia! You should see your face!"
"And you should see yours! Oh wait, I forgot! You wouldn't be able to because they'd all break before you get the chance!"
"Hey, wouldn't it be cool if you could see your own face without a mirror?" Orihime said cheerfully, unaware of the conversation's hostility and consequently neutralising it. She placed a thoughtful finger on her cheek. "I mean would you see your face the way other people see it, or the way you would see it when you look in a mirror? But then you don't really know whether what you see in the mirror is the same as what other people see when they look at you. Oh wait, but then if you could see your own face without a mirror, then you'd know!"
Renji facepalmed. "I'm never looking in another mirror again."
"For once I agree with you," mumbled Ichigo.
In the midst of petty arguments, Christmas chatter and one-upping competitions (but luckily nothing about mirrors), the quartet finally finished trimming the tree – with disastrous results considering half of them were shinigamis, one had a mind with a haywire imagination and the remaining one had a mind with zero imagination. It was disastrous, but it was done – and the shinigamis seemed proud of themselves. As did Orihime…and Ichigo. So in reality, it was disastrous to everyone else but them. Trimming one's own tree must render one incapable of seeing anything wrong with it.
"Great," Ichigo said, kicking the empty cardboard box labelled 'baubles' in faded black lettersaway. "Now all we need to do is decorate the room." He looked around the room and heaved a sigh, as if saying "good grief".
Renji fell back onto the sofa, where both him and the furniture gave a loud groan. "Why bother?"
"Cause my old man's a real maniac about Christmas and I'm not going to sleep with one eye open."
"Hey, Ichigo, what's this?" Dislodging her head from a dusty box, Rukia held up a garland of prickly green leaves dotted with red berries.
"That's mistletoe. Just put th-" Ichigo stopped mid-sentence, a wonderfully devious idea popping into his head. He turned to Renji. "Oi, go help Rukia put it under the doorway."
"Huh? Why me?" he retorted.
"Cause you're staying here for the Christmas holidays, Mr. Freeloader."
Grumbling a string of choice words, Renji got up and stationed himself to the side of the door way, waiting for Rukia. She ran to the other side, mistletoe in hand, and stood in the air so that she and Renji could attach the garland.
"Great, now you two, stand underneath it."
"Why?" they both asked in unison.
"Because I have to see if it's in the right position for…the right effect."
"But Kurosaki-kun, when two people meet under mistletoe, doesn't that mean they have to kiss?" Orihime asked just as Renji and Rukia were about to comply.
"What?" Rukia said mechanically, slowly turning her head to pin him with a deadly glare.
Ichigo covered his mouth with his hand and looked away. "Dammit, and I was so close too."
"Hey, I know! Why don't we play a game?" Orihime piped up, once again ridding the room of budding hostility and leaving only three sets of bewildered faces behind.
"And…uh, what kind of game is this, Orihime?" Ichigo asked, almost afraid to.
"Since Kurosaki-kun has so much mistletoe," – she promptly pulled out an armful more from the box – "lets see how many times we can get each other to kiss! Let's see, when a person gets two people under the mistletoe, that person gets a point and the two people have to kiss, but they can kiss wherever they want. Afterwards, future pairings can't kiss in the same place! And whoever gets the most points wins!"
There was a silence.
Ichigo coughed. "So where are we going to play?"
"Um, let's make the boundary the entire block, and the time limit's midnight!"
Rukia scratched her cheek. "Well, I don't see how else to pass the time. Hm, might be fun to get Renji and Ichigo to kiss…"
"Oi, what are you scheming over there?"
"Oh nothing, Renji, nothing at all."
"Nothing my foot. Just you wait, Rukia. I'll definitely win!"
Orihime clapped her hands. "Oh good, now that everyone's agreed, let's get started! C'mon Kurosaki-kun, let's go!"
Orihime gave Ichigo a great shove. He tumbled a few paces and then lost his footing, crashing into Rukia. They skidded to a stop – right under the mistletoe. Orihime clasped her hands together in delight.
"Alright! I get a point! Now Kurosaki-kun and Kuchiki-san have to kiss!"
"I can't believe this," Ichigo mumbled, rubbing his hair in agitation. "How could I let her get me like that?"
Suddenly, he felt his arm being jerked, pulling the rest of him with it. Rukia placed a quick, indifferent kiss on the back of his hand and then tossed it back at him. She then held out her own, looking at him with bored eyes. He looked at her pale skin like it was foreign.
"C'mon, Ichigo. Are you that much of a prude?" she taunted, a devil's smile breaking out on her lips.
"Like hell I am!"
Jerking her hand much in the way she did to his, Ichigo brought it quickly to his mouth and kissed it. Her hand was thrown back a mere half-second later. Acting as if he wasn't there, Rukia wiped the back of her hand on the fabric of her skirt.
"See? Wasn't that hard, now was it? Now shove it," – she stood up, brushing past him – "you're blocking the doorway."
"I'll get you back, you little midget."
"Let's go outside now! It'll be much more fun outside!"
Orihime ran for the door and Rukia, thinking quickly, stepped past the doorway to pull Renji under it, just as Orihime came. Rukia stood beyond the arch, barring their escape and leaving Renji and Orihime looking flustered.
"Muwahaha! The point is mine! Kiss up you two."
For a moment, Renji stared angrily at Rukia, straining to keep the build-up of emotions under control. She fidgeted under his gaze, unnerved by the intensity of his smouldering glare, but then she found her ground and stood firmly on it. He was just being childish. This was all just a silly little game to pass the time.
"Hey, Renji, you need to hear the rules again? Kiss up!"
After giving her one last sullen glare, Renji lifted Orihime's hand up with a gentleness that his muscled arms did not convey and placed a brief kiss on her fingers.
"Hey, you can't do that! The hand's off limits!" Rukia protested.
"Yeah, but not the fingers."
"Oh, that Renji! I'll get him if it's the last thing I do!"
Perched atop a lamppost garbed in her shihakushou, Rukia scanned the block for the familiar head of red, fuming like a kettle. After taking an once-over and seeing nothing, she turned her head up towards the sky, looking at the kido-drawn stick figure. With the four of them scattered about the entire block, there had to be some way of telling which parts were unavailable.
So far she was leading in points, having managed to get Renji and Orihime to kiss three more times – on the elbow, shoulder and temple – and Ichigo and Orihime twice – on the back and neck, the later of which they seemed to secretly enjoy.
But her winnings came at a price, one that was the cause of her current mood. Due to her over-confidence, she became careless, allowing herself to be led under the mistletoe with Ichigo by none other than Renji. By that time the only options left were the chest, feet and face – none of which were very appealing.
"I can't believe I had to kiss his goddammed feet. Argh! I felt like some sort of slave!" Rukia wiped at her mouth as if to wipe the unpleasant experience away. "He was acting all smug about it too, the idiotic buffon!"
Her ears pricked up. She could her some rough, familiar cussing. A smile as wide as Seireitei appeared on her face as she leapt off the lamppost, heading in the direction of her revenge. She stayed a good two meters above him, biding her time.
"Whose idea was it to cover up reiatsu?" Renji kicked a pile of snow into the air. "I swear if it wasn't all covered up…" He left his sentence to disappear like the puff of breath he'd just exhaled.
Silently, Rukia shook her head in an exasperated manner. Trust Renji to complain about hidden reiatsu of all things. But she didn't have long to chastise him. She could see that Ichigo was walking down the street, heading towards the corner where Renji was standing. Ichigo turned and nearly walked straight into him.
"Hey, watch where you're going, Strawberry."
"You watch it, Monkey Boy."
Ichigo and Renji looked up, only to see a smug Rukia standing above them dangling a few leaves of mistletoe from her hand. She drifted down but still stayed afloat as she swung the green leaves between them, taunting them.
"Another point for me. Now," She looked up at the sky, seeing only parts left glowing on the figure the face. "Oh, this is interesting. Well, I'm gonna enjoy this."
"Oh, hell no!"
"Oh, hell yes! You two are not leaving here without kissing."
It was with smug satisfaction that Rukia watched with as Renji gnashed his teeth and pecked Ichigo on the cheek, who turned as stiff as a board.
"Muwahaha! My work here is done!" And she flew off elsewhere.
"Awesome! Now I don't have to kiss you!" said Ichigo, turning back around.
"Oi! That's not fair! I had to kiss your damn face, so you better do the same!" Renji shouted, obviously not using a single brain cell.
Ichigo lifted up an eyebrow, half amused and half disturbed. "You want me to kiss you?"
"Oh, it's nearly midnight," Orihime said as she checked her watch. "I better head back to the house. Too bad! It was getting to be so much fun!"
As she rounded the corner onto the street where the Kurosaki residence sat, she saw Ichigo a few paces in front of her. She called out his name, running towards him.
"Hey," he greeted.
"Hello, Kurosaki-kun." She laughed and checked her watch again. "Having something to do really passes the time. It's now midnight and…oh…" She let her words slur to an end as she stared transfixed at something above.
"Hey, you alright, Orihime? What's up?"
And indeed Ichigo did look up, seeing a natural growth of mistletoe hanging right above them. He realised that the night was quiet and let out an embarrassed cough. There was no one else around…
"A-ah, um, well it's already past midnight, so…urm, why don't we head back and open some presents now?" Orihime said, feigning a cheerfulness and trying to walk past him. He grabbed her elbow, causing her to turn slowly and face him.
"Wait. We uh…can't break tradition…and I forgot to get you something, so I was hoping that this would do."
Ichigo bent down, placing a kiss upon Orihime's lips. It was gentle, chaste and brief. He did not even allow time for her to kiss him back, or even for it to sink in. He remained where he was, eyes half closed, lips hovering bare centimetres from hers, allowing her ample time to pull back, telling him that they were "just friends".
But Orihime did not pull back. Instead she moved forward, kissing him back with equal tenderness. This time there was no pulling back from their kiss, a soft caress under the dim glow of moonlight – at least not until they needed to breathe again.
"Buwahaha! Take that, Renji! It's midnight and who has the most points? Me!"
"No one would want to kiss you anyway, Rukia."
"You wanna say that again?"
"Sure. No one would want to kiss you."
Their squabbling continued down the length of the road, the volume reaching to the point where several people undid the latches to their windows to have a good yell at them. "Shut up!" they had both yelled, already agitated from their petty arguments.
"When did you become such a bastard, Renji? Seriously, saying that no one would want to kiss me."
"Just calling them as I see 'em," he replied offhandedly.
"Well, you know what? You can just kiss my ass!"
"I don't think so."
He stepped in front of Rukia and placed both hands on her shoulders, quickly leaning down and stealing a kiss. "How about I kiss you right here instead, yeah?"
"Wh – what, I mean…what?" Rukia stuttered, rendered incapable of anything else by the sudden turn of events. Then she narrowed her eyes. "What the hell?! I thought you said that no one would want to kiss me?!"
"Yeah…cause they'd have to deal with me if they did," he replied, going in for seconds.
The morning of Christmas day came and surprisingly the quartet managed to get up bright and early after the night's events. Ichigo had laughed himself silly when he heard of Renji and Rukia's official relationship, to which earned him two glares and a handful of bruises.
"Shut up, Ichigo!" Rukia growled as she threw a cushion at his head for hiccupping the last of his laughter away.
"Oi, I'm not laughing anymore!"
"Well you were thinking about it!"
As usual, being as oblivious as she was, Orihime interrupted with "Oh, let's open some presents now!"
The need for arguments immediately cleared. Perhaps she was not so oblivious after all. Renji pulled out a badly wrapped present with his name scrawled on the chappy printed paper. The wrapping itself was crinkled all over, worn and faded in some parts, and he swore that there was more tape than paper.
"That's your gift, Renji," Rukia said, currently leaning against his side. "I picked it out this morning."
"Uh, thanks, Rukia…but why is it all," – he gave the bag another shake to confirm his thoughts – "funny sounding?"
"Just open it."
As Renji tore open the paper, a myriad of glass shards fell out and scattered on the floor. Rukia leapt up and back away a few safe feet, laughing her head off.
"I told you – hehe – that mirrors would break – hehe – when they see you, ahahahaha!"
As an infuriated Renji chased Rukia all over the house, Ichigo looked down at the pile and saw a familiar black edge. He paled and ran into the bathroom, dreading the worst.
Well, how was it? Good? Bad? Please feel free to review, voice opinions, give advice, point out typos, etc. and have a Merry Christmas all you FFners!