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

-Chapter 3-

Leaving Ichigo's humble yet homely apartment, the two entered the hustling downtown atmosphere. A harsh, early winter wind howled as it traveled between the spaces of the tall skyscrapers. Murky clouds from last night's thunderstorm still hung around, blocking out the sun. The streets weren't as full as usual, as it was between early morning rush hours and lunch. Some of the people carried umbrellas with them as a precaution. Cars filled the streets, carrying busybodies around to their destinations. The rumbling of the subway from the nearby station droned in the background.

Ichigo locked the door nimbly as he and the free loading albino exited the building. He tucked his hands into the pockets of his faux leather jacket that his father had given him as a Christmas present last year. It has done a good job in keeping him warm up until now. He looked up at the cloudy sky and frowned. He never did like clouds when they blocked the warm sun.

Shiro quickly zipped up the black hoodie that Ichigo had tossed him earlier, smiling at the fact that it fit him perfectly. Last night was one of the best nights of sleep he had gotten in a long time, and it was all because of the strawberry that was currently walking in front of him. He had so much that he wanted to tell him… but he wasn't sure if the time is right. He'll wait and see.

His thoughts were disrupted by the shrill ring of a cell phone.

Ichigo stopped in his tracks, realizing after a couple seconds that it was his cell phone. Catching Shiro's stare, he blushed slightly and flipped open his phone. His left eyebrow quirked up with a questioning look at the caller I.D.

"Hello? …ah is that so… Alright, thanks boss!" Ichigo let out a sigh of relief. Though sudden, the call had been a pleasant surprise.

"Wha's that all about?"

Ichigo turned to Shiro with a grin, "I don't have work today!" Shiro blinked. Why'd the berry have to look so damn adorable all the time? The way his eyebrow popped up, the way his brown eyes glowed despite the clouds' shielding of the sun, the way his lips moved while he talked, all were extremely enticing to Shiro. He doubted the berryhead knew how adorable he looked.

"The boss said that something came up, so he won't be there today," Ichigo continued with a smile. Although he didn't hate working as a waiter at the restaurant close-by, it was definitely nice having an unexpected day off. So now he had a whole Saturday off, what should he do? His thoughts automatically drifted to the pale skinned man standing by him. He got an idea!

"Ah Shiro, since… I've got nothing to do today, wanna go buy clothes…?"

Shiro smirked, "So… ya want me to stay wit' ya?"

Ichigo was caught off-guard by that question. Why did he suddenly want to go spend his precious, hard-earned money to buy clothes for the other man, whom he had only met yesterday? When has he really cared so quickly for another person…? Not in ten years. So why now? Ichigo's mind was a jumble of questions, but he knew one thing, the snowy albino made his fear of thunderstorms away. He chased away the queasy feeling in his stomach. He provided him company, company that he enjoyed for the first time in a long time. Yes he enjoyed the albino's company, despite how he made him feel… strange.

Getting no response from the orange haired teen, Shiro sighed and started to peel off Ichigo's jacket that he was wearing. Once off, he sighed and thrust the jacket into Ichigo's hands.

"I… I should go," Shiro started and feigned a sad look, capturing warm hazelnut eyes with his own, observing said eyes widening with surprise. He grinned inside, he knew the orange head were having conflicted feelings about him, but he was curious to see what Ichigo's reaction would be. "Thank ya fer caring fer me and feeding me… I haven't had such a warm night's of rest as I did last night in a long time, and I have ya to thank."

Ichigo opened his mouth to say something, but Shiro glanced at the ground and continued, in a mournful tone, "Thank ya fer caring when no one else did, and m'sorry to have been a burden on-"

"Stop that!" Shiro looked up and saw a pink blush spread across his companion's face, his eyes indignant and slightly glossy. Shiro arched an eyebrow, surprised.

"You are not a burden!" Ichigo blurted, his hands tightening around the jacket that had previously been on the albino's shoulders. He didn't know why he was acting like this, but for some reason he didn't want the other to leave.

Shiro paused and sighed. He started to pull off his- correction, Ichigo's shirt that he was wearing, feeling the chilly air hit his uncovered back, but before he could take it off completely he felt hands on his, forcing the shirt back down, its warmth shielding his body again. He opened his eyes and found a pair of honey brown orbs inches from his face. Ichigo pulled down the shirt forcefully, his hands still fisted at the edges and resting on the albino's hips.

"Are you crazy?" Ichigo yelled, surprising even himself, "It's too cold outside-" He stopped abruptly, just noticing the distance between their faces. He felt his cheeks heat up even more, if possible.

Shiro smirked inside, but decided to keep going with his charade. He looked away from those earnest eyes to the side and muttered, "But… I'm no use to you, I annoy you, I'm eating the food that your hard-working hands are earning for yourself… It's better that I le-"

"You made my fear go away!"

Shiro's eyes widened. So his presence in Ichigo's bed chased away his fear of thunderstorms…? And Ichigo just openly admitted that?

Ichigo shivered as a cold gust blew in across the streets, stripping the trees of their last remaining leaves. He gasped when he felt himself engulfed in heat and realized that Shiro was hugging him. Warm…

"A-ack w-what you d-doing? G-get off!" Ichigo stammered, blushing furiously, trying to put power in his words but it wasn't coming off right. He hasn't felt another person's body so close to him in a long time, not including last night. He struggled, but he felt like his energy had been drained.

Shiro nuzzled the crevice between the orange head's neck and shoulder gently, earning another shudder from Ichigo, and smiled. "Aww okay, Ichi," Shiro whispered, "If that's what you want, I'll stay wit' ya." He took a big whiff and grinned to himself. The orange head smelled like strawberries, mmm.

Ichigo felt a big sense of relief and smiled. The loneliness of living by himself got to him, that's it, Ichigo reasoned to himself. His lips wouldn't curl back to his usual scowl when the snowy head resting on his shoulder looked up and Ichigo felt himself getting lost and captivated once again in those playful and lively golden eyes. Their noses were mere centimeters apart, until the albino leaned up and rubbed his nose with Ichigo's in a playful manner. Ichigo's eyes widened.


Ichigo grinned and looked at his companion, who was also wearing a huge grin on his face. The six-year-old was sitting on the bench with his playmate who was one year younger than him. He gently placed his tan hand on a smaller, paler hand and turned to the side, finding golden eyes looking into his with mirth. Slowly the other leaned forward and rubbed his nose against Ichigo's, causing the two to burst out into laughter.

[End Flashback]

Ichigo blinked. Parts of that memory were muddled. He couldn't recall his companion's facial features; he could only remember those pale hands. Anyone could have pale hands, he thought, and sighed mentally. Back to reality though, he found Shiro looking up questionably, the albino's arms still around him. He blushed and struggled again, in vain.

Shiro smirked and whispered in a low voice, his arms tightening against his prey, "Nuh-uh, you're not escaping." Feeling the other shudder slightly, he realized how much he missed this. It's been ten long years since he last had a chance to hold the orange head, and he was going to cherish the moment.

A low-key whistle filled with merriment broke the moment, causing gold eyes to stare at the intruder in blatant annoyance while brown eyes perceived the intruder with surprise.

"R-Renji!" Ichigo exclaimed, quickly worming out of the albino's hold, face still flush. Shiro glared. "What are you doing here?"

Shiro sized up the intruder, whose long, thick red hair was tied up in a pony tail, a slight bit taller than himself, and currently grinning with an eyebrow cocked up. He narrowed his eyes. He didn't like the pineapple head.

"Well ya know, we have no work today," Renji said, glancing at the albino whom he didn't recognize that was standing by his friend. "But I see you're busy," he stated with a wink and laughed.

Ichigo quickly blurted, "It's not what it looks like!" But Renji had already walked past him, delivering a playful punch to the orange head's shoulder, he grinned, "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me!" With a wave, the red head left in the direction of the subway station.

Shiro frowned. "Who's that?" He didn't like the way the pineapple head looked at his Ichigo. But Ichigo being oblivious like usual didn't notice anything.

"Oh, that's Renji, my classmate and co-worker at Sereitei. He lives closeby I think…" Ichigo said with a glance at the vanishing figure in the distance. He suddenly felt a pair of strong hands on his shoulder, snapping his attention back to the albino in front of him.

"So, are we still gonna go buy some clothes?"

Three hours later, Ichigo was unlocking the door to his apartment, followed by Shiro, who were holding several bags of clothing in his hands. They went to a couple of the cheap clothing stores downtown and found some decent deals. Somehow Ichigo didn't feel stingy or reluctant in spending money on Shiro, but rather it felt like buying gifts for a close friend. It was a nice feeling, he concluded with a smile. Shiro made his usually dull Saturday morning fun and interesting.

Shiro had a small smile on his face also as he set the bags down on the couch. He hasn't found so much fun in a small mundane task like clothes shopping in a while. He looked over at the orange head who was taking off his jacket and hanging it in the mini closet by the door. He has changed so much, Shiro thought, and yet he hasn't changed at all. To him Ichigo was still the same Ichigo he had known, except now ten times sexier.

"Hey Shiro," The calm baritone voice snapped him out of his thoughts, and he looked up to see Ichigo staring at him. "Are tuna sandwiches okay for lunch…?" Shiro nodded, Ichigo nodded back with a smile and headed into the kitchen, quietly whistling a happy tone.

The albino also took off his borrowed jacket and hung it on top of Ichigo's. Then he quietly crept into the kitchen where he saw Ichigo opening cans of "Chicken of the Sea" on the counter.

Ichigo gave out a small "Eek" as he felt hands creep up his torso, pressing him into a toned, muscled chest, engulfing him with warmth. He felt a cold nose nuzzling his neck and shuddered.

"A-ah, S-Shiro, what a-are you doing?" Ichigo bit his lip hard, feeling his face heat up. Why was he reacting like this and why was the albino hugging him from behind? But while his body didn't want to break free, a part of his mind screamed at him to do something.

"Just watchin' ya cook." Ichigo shuddered at the husky, low-tone voice as he felt warm breath ghost over his sensitive skin and he felt his legs starting to melt. He never felt this way before, even though he has long come to terms with the fact that he was bi, if not outright gay.

He was positive that he would've just collapsed there on the kitchen floor had the albino not let go at that moment and backed off. He was able to gather his composure, but his cheeks blushed a furious red.

It had taken every good thought in Shiro to have forced him to let go of the most enticing man whom he has been re-familiarize himself with. He groaned quietly, quickly hiding away his arousal. He looked up and smirked, the orange head was still shuddering slightly, standing in front of him. His eyes softened as he thought about how cute his little Ichi was. So, so cute.

Ichigo's brain felt as sore as one who has been hit head-on with a pick-up truck. He had concluded that there was definitely something special about the albino, something more than he had been letting on. If he would declare that he was a succubus equipped with magic that was potent enough to bend the strongest will to his wishes, or to melt the toughest resolves, Ichigo would've believed him. He shook his head and tried focusing on the tuna he was scooping out of the can and flattening on the sandwiches.

"'Nything I can help ya with?"

A lot of things, Ichigo thought with a mental groan. He widened his eyes in disbelief about what he just said to himself. God his brain was not working properly today…

"U-Uh, nothing, y-you can go watch TV in the living room or something if you're bored," Ichigo offered, trying his best not to stutter like a love-stricken school girl.

"But why would I wanna do that when I can watch ya make lunch?" Shiro said teasingly, taking a seat on the kitchen counter across from where Ichigo was piling stuffs in between bread.

Ichigo blushed again when he heard those words and let out a small sigh of relief when he heard the albino sit. Despite the other's bothering, he had finished making three sandwiches, two for Shiro and one for himself, since he had figured out last night that the white haired man ate about twice as much as him. Although he wasn't used to another person teasing and messing with him, he couldn't help but admit that he enjoyed Shiro's company immensely. He would never say that out loud of course.

Ichigo turned around after placing two sandwiches on one plate, which he handed to Shiro, and he picked up his one sandwich and sat down on the opposite side of the counter, facing the albino.

Shiro stared at the other for a bit before picking up his own sandwich. Tuna… his favorite; coincidence. With a polite thank you, he brought it to his mouth and bit into it. Delicious. But of course, anything his tan angel made would be delicious.

Ichigo watched with a smile as the other picked up his pace and started to consume his food voluptuously. He was glad that Shiro enjoyed the food that he made.

Bread crumbs started to gather at the corners of his pale lips, and without thinking Ichigo reached his hand across the counter and wiped the crumbs off of Shiro's face with his thumb, but before he could withdraw it, it was suddenly pulled and surrounded by wet heat.

Ichigo blinked, his eyes widening as he noticed that his thumb was in Shiro's mouth.


"Hey, you have icing on your face!" Ichigo said between giggles, almost choking on the chocolate cake he had been stuffing in his mouth. He reached out to wipe the dark chocolate icing off from his playmate's face, only for his fingers to get caught in his pale skinned companion's mouth.

"E-Eh, what are you doing?" Ichigo said curiously, "It feels funny when you suck on my fingers!" He protested.

With a pop, his fingers were released, laced with saliva.

A scratchy, distorted, but gentle voice replied, "I was cleanin' the icing off ya fingers." His glowing golden eyes against obsidian meeting Ichigo's honey brown orbs.

They both laughed and went back to digging into the delicious cake that Ichigo's mom had got him to celebrate his sixth birthday.

[End Flashback]

"N-No way…" Ichigo muttered in disbelief. He pointed a shaky finger at the albino, "You're… Shiro… Shirosaki Tensho."

Shiro smiled in surprise and swiped his tongue out along his lips. "Yes… yes I am. You finally remember, Berry-chan."

AN: Hey I've been recovered from my kidnappers, who are also known as responsibilities. I'm currently addicted to Ichigo/Shiro thanks to reading Hollow Ichigo Ichigo's work, and when I saw that she had reviewed this story it inspired me to work more on this. Check out her stories! They're so goooood.

Reviews are always welcome and they make me want to write more! Anything for my reviewers.
No beta, and... yeah I know, terrible grammar ._.