Title: Just a Dream

Summary: She stretched, reaching for someone who was not there but should have been.

Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.

- Otomo No Yakamochi

He would walk the universe for her, leave his family behind and stay awake all night just to watch her as she slept.

Smiling softly to himself, moonlight shining onto her, he ran a hand ever so gently over the contours of her face. Tracing the shape of her lips, he barely grazed the bottom of hers with his.

She stirred slightly at his caresses, nestling deeply on the palm pressed to her cheek. A nearly inaudible sigh escaped her and he chuckled quietly at her unconscious response.

If only she knew he was watching over her as she slept, comforting every nightmare with butterfly kisses, holding her when she tossed and turned on each restless night.

But she could never know. It was not to be.

He found her light snoring, so soft it was barely a snore, sweet and the calmness that swept over her face as she rest was breathtaking.

So undisturbed, so still, so gorgeous.

In those moments, he felt that this was the reason he was alive: to hold her tenderly and guard her as she slept peacefully.

He wrapped an ashen arm around her wait, pulling her closer to him. She melted into his warmth, breathing steadily and heart thumping.

He placed a hand over her heart, counting the beats to mark the passing time. He sighed. He did not want the night to end. He never did.

She took a deep breathe, turning to face him. Her forehead rested against his and he smiled. She was so kissable, and so close to kiss, and...

Her eyes opened and fluttered.

He froze. "Go back to sleep."

Her eyes remained open for a moment or so and suddenly she closed them again, falling off to sleep.

His heart pumped erratically, tension sweeping over his features.

Would she remember him?

He did not know and gulped, one hand stroking her hair.

So free, so pure, so perfect.

"Ichigo..." He breathed.

She made a noise and snuggled closer, arms pressing tighter against him. "Mm."

"I love you," he whispered. "I will always love you."

Another promise she would never know, never hear.

She was cold, so very cold. Her feet, linked around his ankles, lacked warmth and heat.

He cupped her smooth face in his hands, moving his arms up and down hers.

She made another sound of content and he knew that these moments truly were the reason for his existence.

So innocent, so peaceful, so fragile.

Night was the time that he could see her and allow his eyes to gaze at her without interference.

His presence never seemed welcome during the day, but as she slept she would unknowingly reach for him and move closer.

It only made him love her more.

"Oh, Ichigo," he sighed, "why is it so hard for you to realize?"

She turned away from him, in the other direction.

He sighed again, pulling her closer. "I don't think I'll ever know the answer to that question."

So soft, so gentle, so far off.

"You're never like this around me when you're awake," he continued, "but what do I expect?"

He paused.

"I can't keep waiting for you to love me."

A faint glow entered the room. He looked up, dawn hitting him in the eyes. He squinted.

"Daytime," he remarked softly, "I need to leave."

"Don't go," Ichigo sighed.

He gazed at her.

Was she awake? Did she direct that question toward him?

His heart skipped a beat.

Or was she sleep talking?

He smoothed her hair, answering the question himself. "No, of course not, you're just asleep. Even if it was true, you wouldn't mean it."

Ichigo frowned.

"Don't frown," he instructed her, "I'll be back tomorrow night."

Lightly, he kissed her a few times as gently as he could.

A slight smile laid on Ichigo's face.

"Goodnight and goodbye," he whispered, "until tomorrow, Kitten."

Ichigo awoke with a yawn. She had had such a good night's sleep because of...

He her arms stretched out next to her, reaching for someone who was not there but should have been.

She blinked, half expecting his form to be next to her. "But I thought..."

She sighed. "Oh, Kish..."

Ichigo glanced to her other side, hoping he was lying next to her, but no one was present.

"Just a dream," she sighed, "it's always just a dream. Always just a very good dream..."

A/N: Hi everyone! :)

I think my writer's block is gone now, so hopefully I'll be posting more stuff ASAP!

With this one-shot, it's an interesting story how it came to be. I had written part of the last snippet (the last lines) somewhere in a notebook, and the idea just came to me! So, believe it or not, it's not based on the quote at all. I found it while looking for some quotes and figured it fit the idea well.

I'm pretty fond of how this turned out. I don't think it's sad because they both look forward to the night. Kish spends time with Ichigo during the night and Ichigo enjoys her nightly "dream." What I was trying to convey at this end was that this (Kish visiting during the night) has been going on for some time and Ichigo's known, but thought it's always been a dream. So, they really are both happily with each other every night! :)

Thanks for reading-- I hope you liked this!

~ Bunny,

Fireflies Glow