Rukia stood at the threshold of the open door of the Kurosaki household, tightly hugging the thick jacket around herself.

Ichigo didn't have to look at her face to know the longing expression that was sure to be there.

"It's no use Rukia, come on." He said, trying to get her to close the door for good and get back into the warm, dry living room.

But of course, she didn't bulge. She just stood there looking at the rain with such fierce intensity that Ichigo almost believed it would stop falling.

"We can watch a movie or something." he changed tactics and tried to compromise. "I'll make popcorn." Okay, so 'bribe' was a more accurate term, but hell! She was one stubborn midget and it's not like he could just let her stand there like a kid who just got his ice cream knocked to the floor all day.

"…Rukia…" she still didn't even turn around. A lightning bolt illuminated the dark gray sky for a moment followed by the sound of thunder. The weather was just getting worse. Ichigo sighed. "Come on, we can go the Fair next week."

A long moment later, Rukia finally turned around with her eyes on the floor. Disappointment was more than evident in her features. Ichigo couldn't help but feel the urge to cheer her up- not that he'd ever say so, of course-. He knew how excited she'd been to go to this thing.

-Flashback-

Ichigo's room

Day before

"So, Ichigo," The raven-haired girl started conversationally as she sat at the edge of his bed, swinging her legs casually. "What are we gonna do tomorrow?"

"Eh?" he asked, lifting his head from his Geometry homework which he was working on at his desk. "What do you mean? I've gotta get ahead in the load of homework the teacher gave us for the weekend. Come to think of it, so should you." He added pointedly.

Completely ignoring his last remark, Rukia said, "Oh don't be such a bore. Even your dad finds time to have fun despite the fact that he has a job and a family to raise."

Ichigo felt a vein pop. "That old man doesn't do anything around here! Yuzu is more of a parental figure than he is!" To prove his point, the old goat-face wasn't even here this weekend. That's right, he left on some 'business trip' (yeah right) while Yuzu and Karin stayed with some relative. Leaving Ichigo and Rukia with the house to themselves. Not that either of them really minded, Ichigo actually even appreciated having a weekend without having to listen to his dad's constant shouting about his 'third daughter', and he especially enjoyed not having to worry about finding him and Yuzu eavesdropping on his conversations with Rukia. But that's not the point, the point is that, what kind of irresponsible parent leaves his teenage son alone with a girl for an entire weekend?!

Rukia shrugged. "I want to go to the Fair."

Well that was completely out of the blue. "Where the hell did that come from?"

"Inoue and the girls were talking about going this weekend. I want to go." Her eyes were now huge and sparkly, the way they always got when she was excited about trying some new 'human world' experience, which Ichigo, invariably, had to suffer through as well.

"No." he said flatly.

Rukia's face fell. "Why not?" she whined.

"Because I said so." I answered imposing all of my rightful Man authority- WHACK! "WHAT THE HELL?" I grabbed the back of my head in pain after receiving a Geometry book straight to it.

"That's not an answer!" Rukia complained, glaring at him.

"Okay, how about this, we both have boat-loads of homework to finish by Monday, and you haven't even started." Ichigo said logically, tossing the book back at her.

She caught it and tossed it aside carelessly, further annoying him. Here he was busting his butt! "Geometry is too hard." she complained. "And I'm a Shinigami. It's not like even need that. I'm never gonna use it"

"That's what everyone says. And, if you don't need Geometry, you certainly don't need the Fair." he deadpanned.

His answer was obviously not satisfactory to her, but instead of more violence, Rukia stood up and went to his side unexpectedly.

"Now wha-" Ichigo said irritably, turning to her once more, since he had already gone back to his homework. However, the words died on his lips as he was met by her pouting face, only inches from his, her violet eyes huge and pleading.

"Please…" she begged him with those eyes, with a voice that was much sweeter than her usual, but not the sickening tone she used at school either. This was totally new to Ichigo.

All he could do was gulp and lean as far back as his chair could allow. She was so close! Too close! He suddenly felt himself tempted to-

NO!

He would not let that thought complete itself!

"GAH! Okay, okay! We can go tomorrow, alright?!" he caved desperately with an uneven voice.

Just as suddenly as she'd appeared at his side with the puppy-dog eyes, she was back at her spot on the bed, a triumphant smug look on her face. Ichigo was still too flabbergasted to make any comment.

What had that been?

More importantly, why had he suddenly felt… No! NO! Ichigo Kurosaki did NOT get any tingly type feelings! Especially not about a certain midget-shinigami, namely, Rukia Kuchiki. Did NOT.

Rukia seemed blissfully unaware of his inner turmoil as she suddenly asked as casually as if she were talking about the weather. "So, Ichigo, what's the Fair, anyway?"

Oh Kami-sama please help him to keep from strangling her.

-End flashback-

Ichigo scratched the back of his head awkwardly and looked up at the ceiling. "We can do something else. You've never been to a movie theater, right?" He thought off the top of his head.

"Huh? Well, no." She looked up at him suddenly, there was just a tiny hint of a spark back in her violet orbs.

Ichigo was secretly glad to see this, so even though he detested the whole movie-going experience, he said, "Well let me just get an umbrella, then."

Five minutes and an umbrella later they were off.

"Oi, Midget, try to keep up and stay under the umbrella. It's not magical. It can't keep the rain off if you're five feet behind me." Ichigo said pausing in his tracks and looking back at her, half-teasing half-serious. In case anyone was wondering, yes, they were sharing an umbrella. But only because apparently his dad had taken it upon himself to clean out the house of every other umbrella or rain coat available. Figures. Of course, if Ichigo was being honest with himself, he honestly didn't mind sharing it with Rukia. They had already shared a bedroom for God's sakes. Well, she was in the closet at night, but whatever.

"Shut up, Idiot! You're just walking too fast." Rukia countered, but hurried to his side and the safety of the umbrella nonetheless.

"Pfft. No I'm not." he said as they resumed their walk towards the movie theater in the nearly empty sidewalks. No one else was stupid enough to brave this weather. And here he was for her. And here she was criticizing his walking-speed. "This is a normal pace that normal people use."

Rukia glared, recognizing the sudden mischievous glint in his eyes and his newly-formed smirk, but not knowing the reason yet.

"Of course with your vertically challenged legs, I guess it's understandable that you'd have trouble- OWW!" he cried out in sudden pain after receiving a not-so-unexpected kick in the shin.

The rest of the way was mostly in silence, though Ichigo was tempted to tease her now and then, but he stopped himself to spare his shin, at least for a little while.

When they arrived, they stopped to look at the movies that were showing. Since he wasn't really interested in anything, he asked Rukia what she wanted to see. "Pick a movie, midget."

After a quick glare for the 'midget' comment, she mumbled, "Umm…" she looked very deep in thought as she surveyed all the movie posters around her. "How about that one?" she pointed at a poster showing some cute cartoon characters that consisted mostly of furry animals.

Ichigo winced internally. "Ugh. Pick a better movie."

Rukia crossed her arms stubbornly. "No. I want to see that one."

Ichigo scowled just as stubbornly. Hey he was already willingly suffering through this, he'd be damned if he was going to be subjected to some little kid movie! "I'm not going to sit through an hour and a half of furry animals running around after carrots!"

She seemed offended by this comment, but only glared at him defiantly. "Then what do you suggest?"

Ichigo paused for a moment, maintaining his stubborn scowl. "That one." he declared, pointing at some action flick he really had no interest in.

Rukia wrinkled her nose cutely-err, annoyingly, and retook her crossed arms-I'm-not-caving stance. "I am not seeing that."

Both continued glaring at each other in a silent stand-off for a full minute. When neither one seemed ready to bulge, Ichigo prepared to compromise. He raised the hand that wasn't holding their umbrella palm-open, in a sign of peace. "Fine. Let's just watch whatever movie starts first."

"Fine." she agreed with a look that obviously said that she didn't agree and that he was an Idiot.

Walking up to the ticket booth, he asked for two tickets for whichever movie was about to start. He dug into his pants-pocket for money, but came up with nothing. He tried the back pocket of the same side with no luck. The umbrella in hand really wasn't helping. "Mind giving me a hand here?"

Rukia saw his predicament and took the umbrella in her own tiny hands while Ichigo finally found the pocket which contained his limited amount of cash. After paying for both their tickets, he turned and he had to crack a smile. In an attempt to keep both Ichigo and herself under the protection of the umbrella despite the height difference, Rukia was standing on her tip-toes and had her arms stretched upwards as she held on to it, her eyebrows were furrowed and her pink tongue poked out a little to the side with the effort.

"Sir, you and your girlfriend need to move for the line to keep moving." The girl at the ticket booth said motioning to the already irritated line of people that had formed behind Ichigo and Rukia while he was staring with a stupid grin on his face.

Ichigo blushed like a tomato and mumbled an apology, along with a "she's not my girlfriend." and took the umbrella from Rukia's hands before moving away.

"So, what movie are we gonna see?" she asked, not paying any mind to the events just now.

Ichigo gave an inwards sigh of relief that she obviously hadn't noticed him staring. Then he looked at the tickets and read aloud, "Love is Forever." this was followed by a groan on his part. Great. He was stuck seeing some cheesy romance. Just his luck.

Rukia didn't seem particularly thrilled either, but she shrugged and started walking ahead of him into the shelter of the theater.

Ichigo walked in after her, left the dripping umbrella, now safely closed, in a corner where there were a few others piled up, then went after Rukia, who was following a group of people who were about to enter a movie-which wasn't the one they'd paid to see.-

"Oi, Rukia," he caught up to her and seized her arm, spinning her around to face him. "Wrong movie." he informed her with a smirk. She covered up any embarrassment by putting her nose up in the air proudly, like the Kuchiki she was. "Come on." He rolled his eyes, a hint of the smirk still present. "You want popcorn, right?"

At this, her eyes widened and snapped back to him. She nodded eagerly and followed him to the rapidly moving line, where he bought a large-size bucket, he held it before her about a second before it was rudely snatched away from his hands by her. She started eating greedily. "Hey, save some for the movie." He said before grabbing a couple of drinks and heading with her towards the dark room.

The previous had already started, and one look at the audience showed him that it was filled with couples, all of them either holding hands or already deep in making out, some more… explicitly… than others.

Rukia paid them no mind as she quickly made her way to a pair of empty seats around the middle, and taking her place. Ichigo followed and sat beside her, taking a handful of popcorn which he promptly stuffed into his mouth. Rukia eyed him strangely.

"What?" he asked, only, his mouth was still filled with popcorn so it sounded more like "Wout?"

Rukia looked at him for another moment before she… laughed.

"Wout's so fuonny?" he demanded, gulping down audibly his popcorn to properly scowl at the girl.

"Nothing, just," she said between giggles. "Inoue was right. You do have a funny face."

"Eh? What the hell?!" he had a funny face? And, "Wait a minute Inoue told you that?"

Rukia chuckled a bit more before calming down to answer. "Mmhm. On the first couple of months I stayed here on Earth, she told me you had a funny face."

Well he certainly did not appreciate having his face described as funny. "Shut up!" he said as Rukia laughed some more. When she didn't do as he said, he resorted to grabbing another handful of popcorn and throwing it at her.

Her laughter stopped abruptly.

A second later Ichigo was bombarded with a fistful of popcorn straight to the face. "Oh this means war." he said dangerously before reaching out and easily grabbing more handfuls of the snack Rukia tried futilely to keep out of his reach, and chucked it at her mercilessly. Rukia immediately retaliated with her own attacks, and soon they begun a fierce popcorn battle, both were completely oblivious to the already starting movie, and the multiple glares of annoyance from the rest of the audience members.

Their laughter soon filled the room as they each scored a well-aimed popcorn-ball at the other respectively. By the time the bucket was empty, both laughed loudly as they saw the state the other was in. Both had popcorn gone into their clothes, and in their hair, which they tried to shake off.

"Excuse me." The two looked up and quickly covered their eyes from the glare of the flashlight of the guard-person guy that was talked sternly to them. "If you don't quiet down and let everyone else enjoy the movie I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Ichigo and Rukia nodded like deers caught in headlights, slightly embarrassed, but at the same time having to fight down the fit of snickers.

As soon as the guard was gone, Ichigo turned to look at Rukia. "That was your fault." he accused, the grin on his face making it quite obvious that he was teasing.

"Was not!" she whispered-yelled. "You started it!"

Ichigo chuckled, then he saw some yellow in her raven locks. Without really thinking about it, he reached out and took out the offending popcorn she'd missed. However, his hand lingered in her hair, and his brown eyes softened as he looked at her. Here in this dark room, with only the faint light from the screen illuminating them, it was suddenly like they were all alone. Just the two of them, and the rest of the world didn't exist. Ichigo felt something reminiscent of what he'd felt when Rukia was convincing him to go to the Fair, only stronger, deeper. But this time, he didn't want to fight it.

Rukia was staring at him with wide eyes, since he still had his hand in her hair, and was looking at him with such a soft expression. Instead of punching him or slapping him or doing some other typical-Rukia action, she put her own hand on the hand that he had in her hair. Her eyes softened to match his expression, and time seemed to stop as Ichigo suddenly leaned in.

"Aagh!"

Ichigo and Rukia jumped back in their seats as cold liquid spread through their clothes.

"I'm so sorry, really! I couldn't see, and I tripped and- Oh! Kurosaki-kun! Kuchiki-san!" Ichigo looked up in horror to see that the girl that was profusely apologizing had stopped with recognition.

"Inoue!" he and Rukia exclaimed at the same time.

She stood with a half spilled soda in her hand, standing in the row of seats behind them. Beside the orange-haired girl, a familiar, glasses-wearing Quincy looked down at them, while holding a bucket of popcorn. "Kurosaki." he said, fixing his glasses with his free hand. "I didn't know you and Kuchiki-san were-"

"We weren't doing anything!" Yet- Ichigo added mentally after shouting defensively. He was glad it was dark so no one could see his furiously blushing face.

"I'm really sorry!" Inoue apologized again.

"That's alright." Ichigo said, then he motioned to Rukia. "Come on, Rukia, let's wash this off." He stood up and started to leave. Rukia followed and they both left in a rather flustered rush.

They went to the restrooms to wash the sticky soda off as much as they could, but Ichigo lamented that he would probably loose this shirt because of the stains. This however, wasn't what really bothered him the most. No, it was the fact that his heart was still beating like it was trying to win a race in his chest, after the almost-dare he say it- the almost-kiss he and Rukia had in the theater before Inoue's interruption.

What was he thinking?

He and Rukia were friends! They didn't do things like kiss! -Despite what perverts like Keigo thought- This was so wrong! And yet… Ichigo couldn't deny that he felt, angry, that they'd been interrupted. Did that mean…

He walked out of the restroom, Rukia was already out waiting for him. Her dress was also stained by soda, but she didn't seem concerned by it. Instead, she had her eyes fixed on the floor and her arms crossed.

"Err, do you wanna go back inside or-"

"Let's just go home. I wasn't watching the movie anyway." she said, looking at him. He noticed that there was a faint pink coloring her cheeks. It looked nice on her- GAAGH! These thoughts were not helping the situation!

But he couldn't help wondering… What did she think about what almost happened?

"Okay." he agreed to go to their house- erm, his house, oh what the hell! He had to admit that she was as much a part of their house as Karin and Yuzu by now. And he had to admit that he kind of liked the way she always said 'let's go home' referring to it as their home.

Before he could continue with his mushy gay thoughts, he walked away from the spot where they stood, got the umbrella and went outside.

It was still pouring, and it was windy now too. He opened the umbrella and they walked away under it. The wind however, rendered it pretty useless. Almost sub-consciously, he poised himself so that he walked on the side the wind was coming from, so as to shield Rukia from it and the rain it brought. Like that, they eventually got back to the house and went straight to his room.

Ichigo started to remove his soaked jacket- both from rain and soda- and sank down in his bed. He sneezed loudly. Damn he felt a cold coming on. He shivered slightly and guessed he'd be getting sick soon. That's what walking home in the windy rain gets him. Part of him reminded him that he probably wouldn't have gotten so wet if he hadn't used his body to keep the rain off Rukia. He didn't regret it though. Protecting was second nature to him. Especially when it came to protecting her. Even if it was just from the rain. He could bear with a cold.

What a day, he thought. He felt emotionally exhausted, just from thinking about that moment- argh! Tired as he was, he let himself drift to sleep, aware that Rukia was still worriedly watching him.

It was late when he finally woke up. It was dark in his room and he was immediately aware that there was blanket covering him that he hadn't gone to sleep with. Sitting up, he found Rukia sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, she had her upper body resting against the bed, while she had her head on the bed, arms spread out at either side of her face, her mouth slightly parted in sleep. Ichigo couldn't fight the small smile that spread itself on his face at the sight.

He got up as quietly as possible, and lifted Rukia up easily-she weighted next to nothing- and set her on his bed without disturbing her sleep. Then he took the blanket that he guessed she'd brought him, and covered her with it before going to the bathroom. He noted that he felt considerably better than he had before going to sleep, and upon closer inspection he found traces of Rukia's reiatsu on him. She must have used kido to fight off the cold.

As he walked out of the bathroom, he nearly crashed into the raven-haired girl.

"Rukia!" he exclaimed, surprised to see her awake.

"Ichigo, are you feeling okay?" she asked, her eyes betraying her concern.

Ichigo looked at her. "Yeah, of course."

Rukia smiled then. "Good. Earlier you started shivering and you got a fever earlier. You scared me for a moment." she admitted.

Ichigo was touched by her concern, but didn't say anything. Instead, he laughed a little. "You were worried, then?" he teased.

"Shut up, Idiot!" she punched him, obviously her concern for his health was gone. Yup. Rukia was back.

They bickered all the way to his room, where he went to bed and Rukia climbed into the closet- yes, while Karin, Yuzu and dad were away, she could come back to the closet like she wanted to. One of the benefits of having the house to themselves.

"Goodnight, Ichigo." he heard Rukia.

He turned and let himself smile, though she couldn't see. " 'Night, Rukia." he said more to himself.

All was normal again. For the moment.

****

There, I wasn't expecting to write this, but today I had been planning to go the Fair with my friends, but the plans were cancelled by rain -_-'

This is my way to make my time useful then^^

Well, this was my last IchiRukia Oneshot of 2009 *tear* I hope you enjoy! Leave a review on your way : )