Some forenotes: Sakura trees are cheery blossoms, 'k? Ichigo is a photographer, Rukia's a model. Now if we've cleared that up... this plunny visited my muses and my muses wouldn't let go of the idea... read at your own risks... it may not make sense!!!!
Warning: Mature scenes, not too graphic, but you've been warned.
Disclaimer: I really... really... really... DON'T OWN BLEACH. (Wishful thinkings, dears. =D)
The Days... (Fly... fly... fly, by...)
Spring rolled around the corner and gathered speed downhill to meet Summer. Puffy clouds danced on a tapestry of blue. Melting, singing.
"New assignment, Ichigooooo!" Keigo, Ichigo's assistant bounced up and down. "She's a hottie, too! Do I get to touch he-?"
Keigo's perverted suggestion was met with a shove in the back of his head by none other than Yoruichi, Ichigo's manager.
"Oh, hi, Yoruichi. What brings you here?" Ichigo was pacified by the hollers of scream coming from Keigo on the ground.
"Your new model. Do you know of your new assignment?"
"No, not yet, what's wrong with her?"
"She's… a bit of a special situation. You see, her brother is a corporate sponsorship for this business. His sister –the model- had suffered a tremendous deal. Near rape- they say. But she still wants to model. We're just sayin-"
"How come I have to take her and be careful with the little doll?"
"Please, Kurosaki. You want someone insensitive to get a hold on her? She's quite the eye-catcher. Besides, the brother is one of the boulders that hold this business up. He particularly asked for this favour. I know him. He doesn't let anyone get his better side."
Ichigo scoffed. "Oh sure, a stuck up ass brother with his fragile sister, what's this assignment, again?"
"Sakura season. You know that fashion street downtown filled with sakura petals? They're to bloom soon, and we want our new line of business on that street to bloom too."
"Okay, so it's just an afternoon shoot, isn't? That's not too hard; I'll get it for you."
"No. Like I said before, this is a special case. We want you to work with her and take care of her until the Sakura trees wilt."
Day 0 ('Cause the days start when I meet you…)
What's her name?
What's his name?
They meet by the offices and glare at each other before anything and everything crashes down like tumbling white buildings. In fact, the world is not in its axel, it's twisted, and they're standing sideways.
They don't notice.
They start taking photos right away in an area prepared for the shoot filled with pregnant sakura buds, some taking an early bloom. Ichigo has his hands on the camera, and Rukia is dressed in a flowing white skirt enough to rival the clouds in the sky.
They make no contact. When Ichigo accidentally touch her, she flinches away.
They don't get along very well. They argue about the lighting of the sun, the backgrounds, the postures, and when Rukia gets really irritated, she smacks Ichigo across the head.
But they take the pictures anyways, and the results are satisfactory.
But even when Rukia interacts, she's not in touch with reality. It's like everyone else is on the other side of the river, and yet she stills stands by the bridge and her swirling memories stop her from taking a step forward. Ichigo feels it. He feels that whatever she does, she does it half-heartedly.
Her detachment is what makes Ichigo so very frustrated.
They did a shoot with Rukia's face aligned with a lone sakura flower. A five petal one. It was really pretty. The blue sky was in the background, still swaying, and Rukia's long eyelashes flutter in the breeze.
It was then Ichigo noticed how beautiful Rukia's face was.
As the two are walking along the grass, Rukia slips. Ichigo catches her. Ichigo expects her to flinch away, but she didn't. They look at each other, truly look at each other. Violet meets amber.
Ichigo sees hidden pain in her eyes.
Rukianotices the way Ichigo's hair dance in synch with the flowing liquid in his eyes. His eyes are so striking her heart skips a beat.
Time freezes, even for a short while. It freezes.
Lunch that day was filled with a little less tension. And Rukia shares her love of rabbits when one suddenly hops across the secluded field. Ichigo wants to smile.
Most of the sakura trees are in full bloom now. The translucent petals cast bits and pieces of shade on the dew of the fresh, green grass.
Rukia wears a dress. It was white. Whatever she wore was white. Ichigo asks her why. Rukia looks at him, surprised that he even asks at all.
She suddenly smiles.
"Because it makes me feel pure."
Ichigo is amazed by the way Rukia's face lights up when the corner of her mouth lifts into an arc. He likes the way she smiles. He smiles back, just because.
The camera clicks photo after photo after photo.
It rains and rains and rains. There is no photo shoot today. Instead, Ichigo makes some cuts. Ishida, Ichigo's almost partner, stands behind him, observing the flawless photos.
"You have to admit that those photos are pretty hard to come by even with an exceptional model," He tells Ichigo. Ichigo makes no reply, but the cursor keeps on clicking. Ishida shakes his head and walks away.
His cursor stops moving.
Rukia is glancing sideways in this photograph. Her liquid sapphire eyes shine like jewels because of the elongated sunlight. Her pink lips are puckered slightly. The single tress of hair that hangs down on her face curves with the way her mouth smiles. There are no sakura flowers.
Ichigo saves the photograph anyways.
It isn't raining. But it looks like it can. Ichigo and Rukia decide to try anyways, the sakura flowers will dispel in a week or so. It is slightly chilly and Rukia wore a long sleeve white blouse.
Rukia slips on the wet grass again. Ichigo catches her, but he was not so lucky, and the two tumbled downhill. Ichigo safely pins Rukia down when they reach the bottom.
Scenes play before Rukia's eyes. Frightening scenes. Scenes of blackness and despair and pain.
Ichigo sees the fright in Rukia's eyes and releases her quickly. He offers her a hand before mentally smacking himself. To his surprise, she takes it and says 'thank you'.
Ichigo doesn't know that Rukia feels safe in his arms and that his eyes make her warm.
They are in the middle of a photo shoot when it starts to pour down rain. Unfortunately for Rukia, they are taking long distance shots and Ichigo is standing under some semblance to a shelter when Rukia is out 50 meters away.
She runs for it.
Splashing mud ruins her outfit. But she's soaked anyway. She feels happy, somehow, free. So she laughs. Instead of returning under the protection of a roof, she's outside on the field and she spins and spins until Ichigo grabs her and takes her under.
Rukia doesn't know Ichigo clicked pictures of her spinning in the rain, of her laughing face. She didn't know that Ichigo looks at her and his insides warm and quiver.
But it's the same for her.
It's still raining. Ichigo and Rukia decide to go out anyways, dressed in waterproof layers and going out to dine on the company's money that is provided for them. They laugh like old friends for some reason, and tease each other, and tell each other about their own lives. They don't want to know why they're acting like this.
"You hate the rain?"
Ichigo looks up at Rukia, and somehow, he doesn't hide the pain in his eyes. Rukia recognizes it. It's the same pain in her eyes.
"It's alright. It's the same for you anyways."
"So… who?" Surprise catches her, but it doesn't quite extinguish her curiosity.
"Oh… Well, for me, it was my sister." Pain breaks through the dam, but he deserved to know, somehow. Her voice cracks. His sorrow is somewhat forgotten, lessened by time. Hers is still fresh. "She was there you know, when- that happened, she tried to stop them, instead they beat her and did that to her, but I escaped, thankfully."
Ichigo is silent. He says nothing, instead, he pushes forward her hot chocolate. "Drink…"
The laughing continues, the conversation flows on, and there is no blocking wall between them now.
Ichigo looks at the rain and for the first time since his mother died, there is no bitterness to be felt.
Thankfully for them, the sakura flowers endure through the storm. The air was crisp and cheery. Rukia climbs on a tree like a five year old and she laughs when Ichigo tries to scold her.
Later that day Ichigo's co-workers and some friends are all going out to a bar to loosen up a little. Rukia agrees to go and drags Ichigo along. She forgets all about it. She doesn't mind being near people anymore. She's thinks she's crossed that bridge.
Five more tequila shots later, Rukia and Ichigo were at a corner and not comprehending the music at all. Their mouths were battling with the other, limb against limb. So warm…
It wasn't until Ichigo grabbed Rukia's hair to get her closer did Rukia jerk out of the haze the five tequila shots induced. The other guy had grabbed her hair too. Memories she thought she buried underneath the recesses of her heart burst forward again. Now no longer pleasantly warm, she was burning hot.
It was like living through pure hell, and Rukia just needed to get away.
Ichigo tries to run after her, but cursed when he couldn't find her in the dancing crowd.
Rukia called in sick.
Ichigo is ready to go and break into Rukia's house and apologize, apologize, apologize when she arrives. There were dark circles under her eyes. Ichigo immediately wants to place Rukia in his arms and tell her she was safe, and that he will never, ever hurt her.
And maybe even whisper against her ear that he thinks he's falling in love with her. And he didn't just think... he knows.
But one look at her gaunt eyes that were avoiding him stops him in his tracks. And he just swallows and admits his defeat and that maybe, maybe he was never going to get her. He picks up his camera and they head out.
The photos after were all delete-worthy, but Ichigo saves them up anyways.
Rukia, later at night, cries into her pillow. Her tears flows out because it hurt so much. It hurt worse than seeing her sister get raped (it was a different kind of pain then, more desperate, but this one took ahold of her own heart and squeezed tightly until she feels herself choke). It hurt worse than when then watching her sister get killed (that was a numbing, horrifying pain, this one burned against her soul). Ichigo hadn't touched her. Ichigo hadn't said a thing to her. Her heart was in so much pain, much more than after that. She cries and cries and cries and resolves not to love the carrot head. But when she thinks of his hair, she cries again. She loves the way his hair felt, soft, like slippery air.
She denies that she's in love with him. She denies that she loves him.
She knows she's lying.
Sakura petals are already falling. In a few days, the assignment would be finished, and they wouldn't see each other again.
Even with Rukia's heart breaking every time she sees Ichigo, she knows how to act towards the camera.
Ichigo marvels at one particular photo. Rukia climbed on top of a tree again, though with less enthusiasm than before. She sits on the branches and dangles her legs. Her head is tilted towards the sky, and the make up she put on her face covered the tear tracks. But she looked like a child, merely gazing up at the flowers, and the petals were falling all around her because of a swift breeze that also made her hair and dress dance. The alabaster glow of her white skin was an immediate contrast against the dark, deep, rich brown texture of the tree.
Looking at the photos made Ichigo's injured heart flutter.
It made a surprising downpour in the middle of the afternoon. As both of them rushed to the car, Ichigo offered to drive Rukia home. He didn't look at her for fear of seeing the rejection in her eyes. To his surprise, yet again, the girl was always surprising him, she says yes.
The car ride there is unbelievably silent as the rain spatters down.
They arrive there, soaked to the core at Rukia's apartment building. Ichigo hurries to get out in order to open the passenger's door. He doesn't want Rukia to get wet. He doesn't want Rukia to get sick. Rukia steps out, and Ichigo tries to stand out of her way. But he can't. Ichigo's frozen there on the empty street in the rain, and Rukia looks up at him –beautiful, inquiring eyes- and Ichigo can't help himself.
He launches forward and catches Rukia's pink, delectable lips between his own, and even though he was hungry for her taste, he kisses her like he has all the time in the world.
Rukia melts against him, and the rain glues them together. She tangles her hands in Ichigo's soft, wet orange hair. She tastes his hunger, his lust, and above all, his love.
They break apart for air. Both of them are gasping and shuddering and the rain still pours down.
Ichigo feels the hard tips of Rukia's nipples on his chest and he swallows. Too tempting, far too tempting.
Rukia decides for herself her fate, and she tugs Ichigo downwards for another passionate kiss. Another shudder runs down her spine. Ichigo perceived it as coldness, and he breaks off the kiss and tenderly, tenderlybrush his forehead against hers, applying soft pressure that makes Rukia's legs turn to Jello-O.
Compressed desire shone through his eyes like cutting gold.
There it was again, love, that unmistakable emotion.
"I'll never hurt you… not even for the world."
Rukia look deep in his eyes and sees the truth in it. She nods feebly and hugs herself to Ichigo. She presses wet kisses to his collarbone. He shudders. Rukia pecks Ichigo's lips and slowly, reluctantly detach herself from him.
She tugs on his strong hands inside her apartment and into her door.
They tumble themselves into Rukia's bathroom, kissing and touching and feeling all the while. They remove the wet clothes in the bathroom, and they stand and observe the other. Rukia's cheeks heat up as she shyly peels away her underwear. They are in the shower before they know it, and the hot water, so contrary to the cold rain washes over them.
They make delightful discoveries on the other person, like when Rukia runs her hands down the side of Ichigo's chest, he would groan and when Ichigo softly kisses Rukia's eyelids, a fresh wave of warmth tingles in her nether-regions. And when they both say "I love you" to the other, both of them feel the slight electric shock.
When they couldn't hold it all -the overwhleming desire, the heart-stopping emotions- bottled up anymore, Ichigo presses Rukia against the cold tiles and enters her. He was surprised to find she was a virgin, but hey, so was he, and they moved together in perfect harmony. At first it was slow, wondrous, with Rukia moaning in Ichigo's ears at each push –that had nearly made him pass out-. But it ended in hurried, random thrusts, when both of them cried out the other's name. Their screams were muffled against the other's lips.
Then it was over, and both of them slumped against the small shower space and they washed each other before stumbling into Rukia's bed and doing it all over again.
They fell asleep in the other's arm, still whispering and thinking and feeling: ''.
The sunlight wakes them both up. It is late in the morning. They get to work; it is probably the last day since the flowers are all falling out with earnest. Ichigo captures Rukia spinning with the sakura flowers; he had Rukia lie down on the grass and the petals and took picture after picture, engrossed in her gaze.
They headed for Ichigo's apartment later in the day, after watching the sunset nestled in a soft, warm blanket.
Yoruichi wants the final products by the next day, and so Ichigo went to work and dragged Rukia along to see her pictures.
The first group of photos were editorial photos highlighting lone sakura flowers and Rukia. There was one with Rukia's palms filled with sakura flowers displayed in a stylish manner. On Rukia's face was an aloof expression, highly fashionable, giving her an icy feel. These were the ones Yoruichi wanted.
The next group was much warmer, with blue skies and lots of sakura flowers flowing on the trees. Rukia's face was also warmer, and there were photos of her smiling, and some laughing. There is one picture Ichigo was particularly partial to, the picture showed Rukia laughing and her eyes twinkling like stars with a background full of sakura trees. This group might be of some use to Yoruichi, but these photos were the ones Ichigo treasured.
The last group were the ones taken with falling sakura petals. Only Rukia and Ichigo recongnized the aloof expression on Rukia's face as hidden pain. Again, Yoruichi might like those, but Ichigo can't bear to look at them.
Then yesterday's. Ichigo didn't even bother considering giving them to Yoruichi, the pictures are his to have and take... even if some of them might be 'the one'.
Ichigo didn't show Rukia his hidden file of photos, ones of Rukia without sakura petals, the ones of her spinning in the rain, and the ones of her that no one could find valuable, but to Ichigo, the pictures meant everything to him.
Any picture with Rukia in it was 'the one'.
Day 1783 (Time passes, and days flip away like wind, yet when I still look upon your face, there's never an end)
A boy and a girl run past a garden flowing with sakura petals. The boy and girl both have raven hair and amber eyes. They are laughing and playing with a man that towers over the two kids which can only be the father. He was laughing slightly and taking pictures of his two perfect models.
The mother was sitting on a chair not too far away; in her arms was a little baby girl with orange hair and deep, dark eyes that anyone can say were amethyst. She gurgles and tries to grab at her mother's hair.
The man walks over to the woman and presses a soft, tender kiss to her brow. She smiles at him lovingly. The baby gurgles in greeting.
And all around them the sakura petals still fall.
And now I shall have my say... before you people go WT*, (cuz that's what I said when I wrote it... man, muses kill ya) think of this fic as an everlasting symbol between Rukia and Ichigo and that they're meant for each other. (Always, always, always...) Like I said (or thought), this is meant to be a loving, beautiful and peaceful piece of writing that may not even be sane. And before y'all disperse and flee, click review, PLEASE...
More of a side-note than anything else, I just ran 10 Km, I'm tired, and reviews would be GREAT. They would keep me going (Coffee.?) and I could write another chapter of FOI...
Yes... this was a first try on a smex scene. Put the pitchforks away. xD