Title: Sharing is Caring
Summary: [Ichigo x Rukia fluff] "Ichigo…is that your foot or is Kon sleepwalking around the room again?" Ichigo and Rukia attempt to share a bed on a cold, winter night.
"There isn't much that I feel I need
A solid soul and the blood I bleed
With a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house." – My Girls, Animal Collective
Despite the fact that Ichigo Kurosaki had heightened senses, he probably could hear her teeth chattering and her tiny bed squeaking from a mile away. Even from the secluded space of his closet, he knew those bed squeaks weren't shudders of happiness. He wasn't one to state the obvious, but it was quite literally freezing.
A muffled moan floated from behind the closed doors, with the shifting of covers following suit. From the garish, green glow of his digital clock on the night stand, it was a little after midnight. With each passing moment, the temperature dropped further and further into a dark abyss of ice. It was clear that things would only get worse from here.
She was lucky he was feeling a little kind at the moment. With a defeated sigh, Ichigo climbed out of the warm comfort of his bed, crossed the room, and tapped lightly on the doors.
"What?" She slid open one of the doors a bit to see what the boy wanted from her. It was clear that she was miserable, with hair that slightly resembled a haystack and violent shivers wracking her tiny body.
"You want a blanket or somethin'?"
Rukia Kuchiki was never one to accept charity, but that night she decided to make an exception. Losing her body parts to frostbite wasn't exactly on her to-do list in life, so she meekly nodded and waited patiently for him to return. When she heard his padded footsteps a couple moments later, she poked her hopeful face through the two-foot wide crack of the closet doors. Only, there was something wrong – he was empty-handed.
"No more blankets," he told her apologetically. "Sorry."
"Agh! Don't you people believe in heating units? I know it's a modern concept, but I'd happily accept it."
"Yeah, well, I volunteered to take the room that wasn't directly hooked up to a heating unit."
She stared at him for a moment in disbelief. "A room without heating? How did the builders get away with that? That's freakin' illegal."
Was it? "I'm sorry," was all he could say.
And he genuinely was. Watching her body wrack with cold as she wrapped the crappy blanket around her petite frame really struck a nerve in him. Yet, there was nothing he could do besides give up his comforter (not going to happen) or sleep in the chilly closet while she got his larger, warmer bed (no chance in hell). Or, he could compromise and share his body heat - would she be against that?
'Forget it, Ichigo," he told himself. 'There's no way you're sharing your bed and there's no way she'd say yes. Now is not the time to break every boundary you've ever constructed.'
Again, he took a big guilt trip as he watched her miserable form huddle in the blanket under the glow of the full moon. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to suggest it. If she said no, then…at least his conscience would be clear. And if she said yes, he'd (probably) keep his hands to himself. There was nothing sexual about it.
"You can, uh…share my bed, if you want."
She gaped at him for a moment before trying to wrap her head around the suggestion. Surely it wasn't anything romantic, but the thought of it made her head spin anyways. That bed wasn't exactly a king size, either – there was sure to be some contact.
She blinked at him. "T-thanks, but no th-thanks," she chattered. "I think I'll stick it out h-h-here."
He rolled his eyes at her stubbornness and shrugged. "Have it your way, Rukia. At least my toes will be intact in the morning."
He trotted back to the warmth of his bed (which was close to a heating vent, although not connected) and buried himself under his thick cotton comforter. He closed his eyes to wait for sleep to come and take his mind off of his silly proposal. It wasn't long when he heard his closet doors gently slide open, soft footsteps scurrying across the floor, and a finger poking him in his back to jolt him out of what she thought was sleep.
"Ichigo," a familiar and impatient voice whispered in the dark, "scoot over."
For some reason, he found himself smiling as he obeyed her wishes, and the mattress gently creaked as Rukia climbed into bed beside him.
"Thanks," she murmured.
"Sure thing. I knew you'd come around."
"Well, it was either survive or die trying, so…"
"Rukia," he reprimanded her gently, as if she was a young child, "it's not that cold. Maybe 50 degrees, but nothing that could kill you."
He heard her scoff, and he turned his body towards her. Her moonlit face peered at him as she lay her head on the pillow, raven-back hair spilling over her face before she pushed it away. There was something ethereal about her – Ichigo had always considered her to be pretty, but tonight there was something more to it than just beauty. It was beauty beyond words.
"Try sleeping in a closet."
She smiled lazily, her eyes closing as she tucked her arms in front of her and her hands beneath her chin. "Mmmm. Good choice."
For a moment, Ichigo watched her drift off into slumber for the very first time. Her pink, perfect lips parted slightly and she looked more relaxed than he had seen in a very long time. War and weaponry had aged them, aged them both, but that night, she was almost Rukia again. He lay wide awake, listening to the steady drumming of her heart and the tiny shivers as she hugged her body for warmth.
He wanted to help, but…he probably shouldn't. Sharing a bed was probably awkward enough for her. It would only worsen things if he made her uncomfortable. Her eyelids slowly fluttered open, and she found herself looking into Ichigo's eyes.
"Wha-? You're not asleep?"
He wasn't that tired, anyways. In the back of his mind, he was still feeling bad that she continued to shiver. He felt unfulfilled, almost, because his plan had helped her so little. But what was warmer than sheets and a comforter?
Oh yeah – body heat. Not gonna happen.
"You're not tired?" She sounded oddly concerned for him.
She half-smiled. "Me neither."
"You're still shivering. Is the cold keeping you up?"
Her eyes looked away from his. "Not really. I'm just not that tired, anyways."
There was that sharp pang of guilt again. Ichigo knew she was lying, but he decided not to say anything. She would warm up eventually, right? Hopefully; holding her close would prove awkward for her.
"Mmmm," was all he could say. He closed his eyes again and waited for sleep to come.
Minutes passed as he tried counting sheep and reciting the alphabet backwards and forward. Nothing worked; his mind seemed too occupied on the fact that a girl – a very attractive girl, for that matter – was in the same bed and just inches away. He sneaked a peek after about six minutes, and through the slits of his eyes he could see she was still struggling to stay warm.
"Rukia?" His voice was just above a whisper as he called to her through the muted dark.
"If you want, maybe you could uh, scoot…closer."
"Nah, I'm close enough to the edge."
She didn't get it. Therefore, there was no sense in trying to explain something so awkward and stupid. He muttered "okay" and closed his eyes again to block out the idea. Yet, as his mind drifted off, he found himself thinking it over again and how it would feel to hold her to his warm chest. Her shivers would stop, her perfect face would ease into relaxation, and her cold, soft body would radiate with warmth. She would fit against him perfectly, like a-
He cracked an eye open to see an alarmed Rukia pulling the covers up to her chin.
"Is that your foot or is Kon sleep walking around the room again?"
Oh. He was unconsciously stroking her ankle with his feet.
"Sorry," he whispered, quickly withdrawing his insomniac toes from her smooth skin.
She smirked. "What were you dreaming about?"
"Nothing!" he snapped at her. "I wasn't even asleep yet, thank you!"
"Not really," he admitted.
Her eyes glistened with moonlight and curiosity. "Me neither. I guess this isn't the easiest situation for you, huh? Being so close to me and all…"
"Don't do that. That self-depreciation thing. I'm perfectly fine with sharing my bed." '-with you' he wanted to add, but decided to leave out that detail out.
"Then why did you suggest I scoot closer to the edge?"
"I didn't. You misunderstood."
Surprise colored her voice as she whispered a soft "Oh," in response. This was new – Ichigo admitting that close contact didn't bother him. For one thing, they never hugged. Not once. And he insisted on leaving the room when she changed behind the closed doors of her closet. And now he was proposing that they…what was the word for it? Cuddled? No, that wasn't right. People in love cuddled. Romantic interests cuddled. Ichigo and Rukia – no. That would never come to be.
Unless she said yes…which she might've if she had understood the first time. It wouldn't be so bad, maybe, to get warm. That was something she so desperately wanted.
"Oh. Okay," she whispered awkwardly.
He closed his eyes again to wait for sleep. Not even a minute passed by when a fairly large (and fairly cold) object slammed into his chest. His mouth opened and his eyes widened in surprise, but all that he could taste and see was a tangled mass of black hair. When his mind finally put together, Ichigo Kurosaki realized two important things-
One, Rukia Kuchiki had rolled into his chest - and
Two, Rukia Kuchiki was now lying in his arms.
Maybe it was instinct, or maybe it was something entirely different, but his arm quickly wrapped over her tiny waist while his other slipped underneath her to catch her (even if she wasn't actually falling).
"What was that?"
"Sorry," she mumbled from the cotton of his shirt. "But Ichigo…you're just so warm!"
There were no regrets from her half. He could feel her shiver against him (from delight or chills, he could not tell) while running a cool palm up and down his chest. It took all his self control not to moan right then and there, so he bit his tongue and said "Umph-ugg," in reply. Soon, her shivers subsided and her tense body relaxed.
"Thanks," she whispered appreciatively.
He closed his eyes and slept (well, tried), while feeling her cool body grow warmer with each steady rise and fall of her chest. This was surprisingly nice for the both of them. Perhaps it was more awkward to be apart and make as little contact as possible than it was to stay together. Comfort, warmth and ease, only he could give her as he held her in his strong but careful arms. It was peaceful.
As easy as breathing.
He could feel her body slightly shake with laughter and he peered down to see the situation.
She tilted her head upwards to look in her eyes. "Nothing. It's just…how do you expect me to sleep?"
He understood what she meant- it wasn't that it was uncomfortable for her, but the entire thing was a distraction to his sleep. She was just so close, and he was just so near, and, and… His eyes roamed across her flawless face, resting on those perfect, untouched lips of hers that were incredibly close in proximity. Her cool breath was sweet and minty, like she had sucked on a peppermint before going to bed. She tilted her face back down. The contact was far too much to handle, because their self-control, for some odd, unexplainable reason, was slipping.
If they didn't watch it, they would do something they might later regret. And they didn't understand why- it wasn't like there was anything romantic between them. I mean, sure, Rukia could see that he was quite attractive, and Ichigo knew she looked the best in a miniskirt out of all the high school girls, but that meant nothing. There was nothing between them.
And that could be taken in a literal sense, too- their bodies were so tightly pressed together, it seemed as if a millimeter of space would be impossible to find.
"I feel like a little kid again," she laughed quietly, "hanging out at a sleepover and doing everything but sleep."
No, that wasn't right. There were some places in her childhood that she wished she hadn't laid her head down in, and some things she did at night that made her ragged with sleep. Society hadn't been kind to her during those years- and even though she was sharing a man's bed for the first time (something she had desperately avoided since childhood, considering her guard was never down), it was okay. She felt safe.
"This is what you call 'hanging out'?"
"Sleeping around?" he teased her. "Your standards sure are high."
"You're an idiot," she muttered. A part of her missed the prude, naïve boy that had cringed at the thought of seeing a woman naked. And another part of her wanted to laugh.
"So I've heard. Go to sleep."
"No. But you're starting to get on my nerves."
"You can deal with it."
He smirked. "And you can get the hell out of my bed."
Against her better judgment, she detangled herself from his arms, sat up, and swung her feet over the edge of the bed.
"You idiot," he told her, but his tone was gentle, not harsh. "Get back here."
He tugged on her arm, and she instantly obeyed. Maybe it was because she was trying to beat the cold. Or maybe it was because there was nowhere else she'd rather be. Lying in Ichigo's arms seemed like the way to go, and it was odd how persuasive he was being. His pulling her back to him was almost a pleading for her to stay, as if the bed wouldn't be the same without her in it.
Which it wouldn't, because things had changed, and they didn't even know it.
She found herself drawn to him. Even when her whole body was back in bed, he was still pulling her closer. The moment – so intense – was driving them to places they had never been before, places that were calling their names. It seemed like they would answer; within a few, short seconds, she was hovering over him with an arm on the side of his body to support her and her torso gently pressed against his.
Damn his instincts; once again, he wrapped a gentle arm around her slender waist that pulled her even closer. Their self-control was dwindling by each passing second. It seemed as if they were finally finding something that they had been looking for for a very, very long time. This was where they needed to be, and this was where they belonged.
And like an elastic band stretched to its limit before being released onto tender skin, reality hit and stung the two square in the face. They reassessed where they were and where they were about to go, and their cheeks grew hot with sharp embarrassment.
"Ha ha, yeeaaahhh…"
"I just, uh – oops! Ha ha. Sorr-eeee!"
Rukia cleared her throat and rolled away from him, now on the opposite side of the bed. No one said anything for a good moment, because it seemed like there was nothing they could say or do to take that moment back. There was no time machine for this; there was no return.
"So, uh, goodnight?"
Ichigo nodded. "Yeah, yeah. Uh, goodnight, Rukia."
But they couldn't sleep. Every nerve in their body was electrified like a copper wire, and their minds – and hearts – were racing like a speeding bullet. What would've happened if they had just…given in? What if the last drops of their self-control had evaporated completely, and only instinct had been there to guide him? And since when was kissing each other in their instinct?
Of course, he wouldn't actually have kissed her. That would've been totally weird, right?
Then again, stranger things were happening. Like for one, a large part of him felt like he should've pulled her a little closer- maybe even kissed her. It seemed like that was the perfect moment to do so. Honestly, she had looked so willing, as if she was thinking the same thing- and maybe she was.
He wanted to punch a hole through the wall. It was her fault that he was thinking like this, anyways. She was just so irresistible, in this weird, unfamiliar way.
"Ichigo!" she called to him irately. "Get you foot away from my leg!"
He was unintentionally feet-feeling her again. What the hell was going on with him?
She groaned. "I feel like such an insomniac. Why can't I just sleep already?"
"Try closing your eyes and shutting up."
The nerve of him; she scowled and turned her back to him. "You're such a jerk sometimes." It wasn't like she was the one molesting people with her toes.
There was a brief moment of silence.
"You're not…mad at me, are you?"
No response. Whatever. He didn't care.
"Oh come on," he poked at her. "I know you're not asleep."
She swatted his hand away and went back to ignoring him. It wasn't that she was full-out mad, but that it was a little entertaining to listen to him worry.
"Roo-kee-ahh!" he sang quietly while continuing to poke her. The lack of sleep was making him a bit giddy.
She turned back to him and attempted to grab his hands. The fact that she was lying down and had been up way past what she was used to made her reflexes a little slower than usual. He continued jabbing at her with his index fingers until it became an odd game of tag.
"Cut it out, Ichigo," she whispered forcefully, but somehow she soon found herself giggling.
A peal of laughter erupted from her and she clasped a hand over her mouth to stifle it. Her head lolled to the side as she laughed and stared at him with curiosity. How old were they, six? Was it the lack of sleep that was reverting them to children, or was it something entirely different? He watched her laugh and her eyes glow with a delight he hadn't seen in a pretty long time. It wasn't later until he realized that he was smiling.
Her laughter died away and a serene smile was plastered on her face as they stared at each other in happiness. It was the same intensity as before, only stronger and beyond perfect. Her eyes twinkled, asking if he dared. Her lips, grinning, begged to be touched. Her heartbeat, racing, longed to be loved.
So he did what he should've done a long time ago – he gently lay his body on top of her, hovered his craving mouth mere millimeters above hers in hesitation, and gently kissed the lips that belonged to the most wonderful person in the world. Screw it all- reason had gone and instinct was here to stay.
Rukia's questioning eyes closed at his contact and her lips moved perfectly against his as if it was all meant to be. And maybe it was – their fluttering heartbeats were somehow perfectly in sync. They had always wondered what it would be like to do something like this, but experiencing it? That sure did beat thinking about the possibility all night.
He kissed her once, twice, and three times before pulling away to measure her expression. She seemed content enough, although on the inside she was practically bursting at the seams.
"Was that your plan all along?" she gently teased him. "Getting me into your bed and seducing me?"
"Why else would I have invited you in?"
"Well, you know what they say – sharing is caring."
He smiled at her and gently kissed her forehead. That was enough boundary-crossing for one day. He was positive that there was now much to figure out between them, and where they would go from here.
And in an instant, they fell asleep.
Rukia awoke the next morning to gray skies, the soft pitter-patter of rain, and an empty bed. It disappointed her a little; weren't they supposed to wake up together, like in all the modern era movies she had studied and familiarized herself with? In her memory, she remembered that an empty bed was a sign of departure- of a quick getaway because it was not meant to be. She sat up and couldn't help but look around, even though she knew he wouldn't be there.
Sitting on the nightstand was a folded piece of paper with her name scrawled on it in Ichigo's familiar handwriting. She quickly unfolded it to see what could possibly explain his absence. He wasn't one to take the time to explain his motives, so this was new. Then again, a lot had changed since last night.
You seemed to be pretty deep in sleep this morning, so I decided not to wake you. Breakfast is in the fridge. Went with the old man to buy a bigger bed. Because sharing is caring, right?
She couldn't help but smile. He was such an idiot, but an adorable one for that matter.
And she wacked him nice and hard when all he came back with was a candy bar.
A/N: Finally finished with this! I had four different pieces of this on random sheets of paper because the ideas would come to me in the middle of an exam or at two o-clock in the morning. This was inspired by my hatred for waking up on a wintery morning, having to get out of my warm bed, and stepping into my freezing closet because I keep the door closed. I thought about Rukia and how crappy it must be in the winter. Thus, this was born. Leave me a review, please. Your support and criticizm is greatly beloved and appreciated.
And sorry this is so long- I thought about splitting it into two different chapters, but I hate making people wait. (: