This is a pairing that I always wanted to write about, but never had time to. Please enjoy and review! I'll update as often as I can...

Disclaimer: Bleach is not owned by Uchizaki

Warnings: Language, mature content, yaoi (boyxboy), IchigoxShirosaki, some incorrect grammar usage

-~-Not by Chance, But by Destiny-~-

-Chapter 1-

The rain was falling in torrents. The sky was black with clouds and the drone of the traffic mixed together with the pitter-patter of the liquid rain drops. It was just another day in the city, and our focus is on just another one of the students of Central Metro High School.

"Damn it damn it damn it…" Ichigo muttered, a little ticked at the fact that it rains so much in this crappy city. It had been pouring for three days straight. Three damn days! He hurried down the streets, having forgotten his umbrella at home and using his book bag as a carry-around rain shelter. His clothes clung uncomfortably onto his skin, making him shiver with the moist coldness.

Ichigo Kurosaki was a seventeen year old young man who was currently enrolled in Central Metro High School, one of the many under-funded public schools in the city. He lived in a small apartment by himself, his two younger sisters and father living in the suburbs. The reason that he lived alone was because he wanted to see the world by himself and grow stronger and become able to live in this harsh world in which he was destined to reside in. His sisters had protested, loving their brother very much, but they reluctantly let Ichigo go when he promised to visit frequently. His normally idiotic father gave his consent without much argument, and maturely patted his son on the back, saying, "My son is all grown up now."

And sure, Ichigo was quite mature for his age. He was a very composed young man, and if you don't know him you could easily mistake him for a man in his early-twenties. He did all the housework by himself, cooked for himself, and basically did everything for himself in order to survive. He refused his dad's offer to help him pay for his rent, food, and essential everyday items, and got a job at a local restaurant as a waiter to pay for his needs. Now one would think that the teen led a very harsh life. That's not necessarily true. You see Ichigo Kurosaki was quite a genius at academics, and as a result, he only has to take six classes everyday, and so the homework load wasn't heavy. He can usually get his school work done within an hour, being very efficient to the point of madness, as his friends would say.

Ichigo's body was slim and wiry, slender yet powerful. No matter how much he worked and trained, he could never get his muscles to grow bigger, but they do grow stronger. Ichigo also have a great interest in martial arts, and had taken a lot of martial art lessons, so he was fully capable of protecting himself and also harming others. Many an unfortunate soul had thought that the orange haired young man was fresh meat and had gotten sent to the hospitals for that naivety.

As for his personality, he wasn't exactly the warmest person, but he wasn't cold and mean either. To his small circle of friends, he was very loyal and always willing to lend a helping hand, but to the general populace he was deemed a mean looking guy because of his constant scowl.

Now, let us return to the street and to what Ichigo Kurosaki is currently doing.

Out ahead a little ways down the street, Ichigo saw a huddled form with clothing in tatters. As he got closer, he perceived that the person had pristine white hair and pale skin that was close to white, but not quite. 'An albino?' Ichigo squinted. The man, he discerned, seemed to be younger than him and was hugging his legs with his head down between his knees, so Ichigo couldn't see his face. But something about that pale skin and white hair clicked in the student's mind, and before his brain registered what his body was doing, he had approached the man and had stooped down to lay his right hand on the other's shoulder.

The white haired teen lifted up his head, and black orbs with striking yellow irises met honey brown eyes. Ichigo's eyes widened.

"Go home kid, you're going to catch a cold."

When the hell did Ichigo learn to sound so considerate and nice to complete strangers? He himself would like to know.

Those strange yellow eyes stared into Ichigo's, capturing the other hopelessly in its powerful gaze; Ichigo found himself unable to turn aside and walk away. Then the albino teen spoke; his voice was deep but scratchy, and it reverberated, creating a very unique echo-ey sound.

"I don't have a home."

Ichigo blinked, freed from the spell, and prodded, against his normal nature, "Surely you can go somewhere to at least get out of this rain kiddo."

"Nah, I've been here since yesterday."

Yesterday, really? Ichigo thought, how come I didn't notice him earlier? And no wonder he looks so skinny… Was Ichigo going to believe everything this stranger says? For all he knew, this could just be another lazy young bum in a city where unemployment rates were sky-rocketing.

Again, without thinking, Ichigo said, "Ok kid, come on, let's get you somewhere where you can dry himself; my apartment's not far from here." Did he really just invite a complete stranger that had been on the streets for at least two days into his home? What's wrong with me? Ichigo questioned, but somehow he felt that it was the right thing to do.

The white-haired teen's eyes widened. "Really?" he asked with a surprised look in his eyes. His water-logged hair was all stuck onto his face, and when his eyes widened, his eyebrows shot up and were covered by the wet locks.

Ichigo hesitated for a second. What happens afterwards? Maybe he'll just give this kid a change of clothes and some food, because while he wasn't well off, the kid had nothing. Ichigo smiled and nodded, "Mhm!" He offered his hand, which was clasped by an equally cold and wet one, and yanked the kid to his feet. He must be feeling uncannily generous or stupid today.

Now he had a better look at the other. Surprisingly, he was just as tall as Ichigo, maybe even slightly taller, and his jaw was sharp and well defined. His dirty, faded shirt had the slogan of a very popular brand on it, to which Ichigo raised an eyebrow. His form was slender, and not as skinny as Ichigo thought, but definitely somewhat muscular. He couldn't tell very well because the other was wearing an oversized coat.

"Eh, shall we go? It's raining…"

Ichigo blinked. Was he staring? "Ah yes, my apartment is right down this street," Ichigo said and walked briskly onward. The sound of the other's shoes sloshing in the rain puddles told Ichigo that the albino was following him, howbeit silently.

"So why are you out here?" Ichigo asked, trying something else to fill the silence besides the sound of the rainfall. He glanced at the albino out of the corner of his eye as the albino stayed silent for a few seconds.

"Well… let's just say, me and my folks had a fight, and I …left."

Ok, so this kid and his family didn't get along, to the extreme that the kid just upped and left… Ichigo thought. "I'm sorry," he muttered.

"Don't be. I took some money with me when I left, and I've just recently ran out, since nobody would give a job to an albino with strange eyes," he said, shrugging. Ichigo really liked the other's voice. It reminded him faintly of the crash of waves by the seashore.

"…huh." Ichigo didn't really know what to say to that. Thankfully he didn't have to say anymore since they finally reached his apartment. He reached down into his pants pocket and fished out his keys. Opening the door, he waved the albino in.

"My apartment is on the seventh floor; I live by myself," Ichigo said as they climbed up the stairs.

"Oh? That's surprising…" the other replied. After a moment of silence, he asked with a hesitant tone in his voice, "Hey listen, uh, if I were a normal high-schooler, I wouldn't be letting a stranger into his apartment right now…"

The way he phrased that sentence slightly creeped Ichigo out; he really didn't know what to say to that either. "Eh, I guess I'm just a super nice guy then, haha…" Ichigo laughed awkwardly as they reached the door of the apartment.

"Heh, okay then…" the stranger said, smiling. Ichigo thought that the smile was a little off, but it must be a trick of light or something.

"By the way, I haven't asked you yet for your name," Ichigo asked, "So mind telling me?"

"…The name's Shiro."

Ichigo paused in twisting the key. Shiro? That name sounds so familiar… but he just couldn't put his finger on it.

Opening the door, he invited Shiro in. "Here, wait a second I'll get you a towel and a change of clothes. Do you want to shower?"

"That would be… nice. I haven't showered in weeks…" Shiro said as he looked around the small apartment. "Nice place," he added.

"Haha not really, you don't have to be um, nice," Ichigo replied as he emerged from the bathroom and handed Shiro his spare towel, "Go ahead, I'll cook something up while you shower, you must be hungry." Ichigo questioned himself again for who knows how many times already that day: why was he being so nice to this complete stranger with the familiar name of Shiro?

"Sure…thanks," Shiro said as he took the towel from Ichigo's hand, his cold hand contacting Ichigo's, making Ichigo's skin tingle for a second.

"Uh, not a problem," Ichigo mumbled as he stared at his hand. Then he blinked and muttered to himself, "Oh right, something warm to eat…"

As he weaved around in the kitchen, preparing a warm modest dinner, Ichigo thought hard about the name "Shiro" and the albino in his house. He got out some vegetables and started chopping them up into small pieces, shoving the chopped up pieces into a pot of boiling water. Something in his being is making him act nice to this stranger. He added some chunks of meat into the soup. But is Shiro really a stranger? Ichigo was sure that he had seen the other before.

So focused in his thoughts he didn't hear the bathroom door open and Shiro stepping out until the albino walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, causing Ichigo to jump, his hand slipping and the knife that he was holding cut him across his index finger.

"S-Shiro! What the hell don't sneak up on me like th-" Ichigo paused, his eyes widened, noticing that the other was half naked, the towel covering the lower half. Ok scratch what he thought before the albino definitely wasn't skinny! He had muscle, taut slender muscle, not the ugly ripped kind. His skin was ivory white and there wasn't an ounce of fat on him.

Ichigo then blinked, feeling a hand on his arm as his arm was lifted and his finger sucked gently into Shiro's mouth.

…Wait what?!

Ichigo instinctively pulled his finger back out and yelled, blushing furiously, "What the hell was that for?"

"What, your finger was bleeding, so I cleaned up the cut for you. If the cut get infected, it would be bad…" Shiro explained with an innocent look on his face. And before Ichigo could decided whether the shine in the other's black orbs meant Shiro asked, "Oh yeah, can I uh, borrow some clothes?"

"U-uh yeah! H-hold on…" Ichigo stammered and staggered out of the kitchen into his bedroom, his arm brushing against the albino's clumsily and accidentally.

His hand automatically went to touch his burning cheek once he was inside his room. The hell? Ichigo thought, am I blushing? Shaking his head dismissively, he calmly collected himself and withdrew a crimson tee with a golden oriental dragon design on it, a pair of plain black boxers, and a pair of dark jeans.

"Here you go! It's not much…" Ichigo said, shutting the door of his room beside him and walking up to the albino, "You can wear these around for now and uh, you can stay for dinner if you want to. I made enough for the two of us." Somehow, the 'two of us' sounded a little off to Ichigo after he said it.

Shiro took the offered clothes and grinned happily at Ichigo, "Thank you thank you! I'd love to stay for dinner." That being said, he dropped his towel on the spot and started to get dressed-

"WOAH wait a second! Don't strip right here- Aren't- the hell!" Ichigo sputtered, feeling the blood rush to his face again seeing the other in all his naked glory.

Shiro merely blinked and asked somewhat coyly but seemingly innocently, "Eh? What's wrong with this? We're both guys." He proceeded to finish dressing nonchalantly as Ichigo stood rooted to the spot with his mouth wide open and face flushed in embarrassment. Shiro smirked inwardly, but he didn't drop his innocent façade.

"B-but, eh, it's- um…" Ichigo stuttered, and then he quickly turned around and strode into the kitchen. Damnit damnit damnit! Ichigo thought blushing furiously, why'd he do that? Why do I care? Why do I have that image stuck in my head?

Ok Ichigo, the orange haired host told himself, just take a deep breath, and calm down.

"Can I help with anything?"

Ichigo nearly dropped the glass plates he was holding.

"N-n-no it's fine! Just go take a s-seat over there!" Ichigo replied hastily. The other male was so close to Ichigo that he could feel his breath on the back of his neck, and he didn't like the tingly feeling.

"Are you sure? Oh, is that soup?" Shiro exclaimed, lifting the lid of one of the metallic pots cooking on the stove, "It is! Wow chicken noodles, God I haven't had those in so long! Can I help scoop it out?"

Ichigo sighed and gave in. "Fine... the bowls are in the top right compartment and you can find a spoon in the second drawer to the left." He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the albino, and his clothes fit the other seemingly well enough for the other to look sexy- Wait no no no- where the hell did that thought come from? ...but yeah the short-sleeved crimson shirt brought out Shiro's well-defined forearms. Ichigo looked at his own arms with annoyance, why don't they get bigger? Damn it.

"Wow, you're pretty damn organized… most single guys living by themselves tend to be as messy as pigs; I would know," Shiro chuckled as he found the tableware following Ichigo's instructions. It was a deep harmonious sound to Ichigo's ears. Next Shiro divided up the hot steamy soup into two equal portions and placed the two bowls on the small dining table in the living room. Meanwhile Ichigo brought over a plate of steamed vegetables with bread and silverware.

"Go ahead, you can sit there," Ichigo said offhandedly as he went back to the kitchen to grab napkins.

"Alrighty then," Shiro said and dug in into his food like a wolf who hadn't eaten for the past week. Then again, surely the albino had a hard time on the streets of the city, he must be hungry. Ichigo just watched as his companion stuffed himself messily with food. Then he also started, because he was also quite hungry after a day's studies and activities.

After a few minutes of comfortable silence as the two enjoyed the meal Shiro spoke up,

"Why…why are you helping me? Why are you feeding me? Why are you doing all these things for me? What do you wish to achieve by helping me?"

Those were the questions that Ichigo had been constantly asking himself since he met Shiro, and he still haven't came up with an answer yet. He sighed and slowly shook his head, his hand weaving through his still wet hair.

"I don't know, Shiro."

That's the first time he used that name, and somehow, by saying it, another block in his mind was removed, but it still wasn't enough for Ichigo to remember.

"…Alright, let me tell ya something. The moment I saw you in the streets, something clicked in my mind. You seem so familiar, but I just can think of who you are, but I have a feeling that we have met before," Shiro said, staring intently at Ichigo, "There's something about ya that makes me want to trust you, and I'm not stupid enough to follow a random man back into his house, but when you offered, my brain decided yes before I could think."

"…Isn't that strange," Ichigo replied lamely, not knowing what else to say. Sure, it was strange. There seemed to be a bond between them- Wait what the heck, Ichigo thought, frustrated. He decided to change the topic, the current thoughts were starting to give him a headache.

"So Shiro," Ichigo began, casting a brief glance at the digital clock on the microwave, "Uh, it's getting late, tell you what, you can sleep on the couch tonight if you want… I'm wasted so I think I'll go to bed early tonight."

"…That's fine with me, I appreciate your lending me a place to sleep tonight Ichigo I really do," Shiro said offhandedly, "I'll do the dishes, you should probably change out of your wet clothes by now…"

"Huh? Oh yeah, I probably should," Ichigo said, still thinking about the previous issue that he didn't catch Shiro saying his name. "Thanks and uh, I'll get you a pillow after I shower and stuff 'k?"

"Yeah, that'd be great," Shiro said, turning on the tap to start rinsing the dishes. He hummed a little tune to himself as the warm water danced in between his fingers.

Ichigo went into the bathroom and started up the shower. It always felt nice to shower after a long, mentally and physically taxing day. He really hoped that he could somehow draw up more information about this 'Shiro,' but that'll have to wait until tomorrow; he was much too tired.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen Shiro smiled to himself; he had immediately recognized the other when he had stared into the orange head's honey brown eyes. Ichigo… I'm hurt that you don't remember me, Shiro thought sadly, but then again, maybe it's better that he doesn't remember who I am, since I probably hurt him greatly by moving away, even though it wasn't my fault…

But heck, his little strawberry seemed to be coming along quite well, and he's also get a damn nice body, if he could tell by his wet clothes that clung to his skin like glue. And it's cute when Ichigo got embarrassed by him. Shiro smirked, with the passing of time, the albino had caught up height-wise and strength-wise to the other, despite the other being one year older than him.

The bathroom door opened and the fragrance of strawberries wafted out along with the steam. Ichigo stepped out, fully dressed, and went over to the couch, bent over it, not aware that he was exposing his backside to the other occupant of the room, and lifted out some blankets and an old pillow from behind the sofa. Then he turned to the albino and said, "Well, it's not much but it should be good… if you don't mind."

"It's good; don't worry 'bout it," Shiro replied, staring intently at the other, making Ichigo fidget uncomfortably.

"Uh, well, I'm really tired so I'll be in my room if you need me," Ichigo stammered and with an added "Good night" he retreated into his room.

Shiro chuckled, yes, this was definitely more fun than starving to death on the streets. With a sigh, he lied down on the couch and drew the blankets up to his chin. He could smell the other's warm scent on the blankets, and it provided some comfort to the lonely albino. The pitter-patter of the rain was a calming and hypnotic sound as it dragged both of the tired young men into the depth of sleep.

That's it for the first chapter folks, Please leave a helpful review if you like it :)