WAAAH, I never thought I'd finish this so soon!! Really, I didn't think I'd end EAY this chapter, but... Oh well!! Now I can focus on my other stories now! (Maybe finish up my FMA fic or Heartbeat...) I'm definitely not working on my demon fic until I finish a few other fics, so yeah... Probably expect more chapters from those for a while? Again, just so I can get them finished up.
I hope this ending it satisfactory for you! Sorry it sucks at the same time though. XD Enjoy!
"It's nice to see you've finally taken pity on the two, Kisuke."
"Aha, what a nice comment from you, Yoruichi-san!"
"However, what I don't approve of is how you've changed them back. Poor Inoue is going to get the scare of her lifetime."
"Are you saying I shouldn't have switched them while they were still at each other's houses?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying. You could've switched them when they were alone."
"But, Yoruichi-san, my dear cat, where's the fun in that?"
A gasp escaped Orihime's lips as she threw herself upwards from the bed, eyes wide with fright. "Don't let the aliens take him!!" She yelled out into the room, her voice high with worry. When she noticed she was no longer in a dream, she pouted lightly, jaw going slightly slack. "Eh? I was dreaming?" She mumbled to herself, pulling her hands down from their extended reach, as she had thrown them up in the air when she awoke.
Sighing and bringing her small hands to her eyes, she began to rub at them, since she was still tired. "Ahh, I wonder what today will be like..." She mumbled to herself before stopping abruptly. Her voice appeared to be much higher than normal and her hands didn't feel calloused like that of Kurosaki-kun's. Pulling them away to look at them decently, Orihime saw small, and very familiar hands replaced the larger ones of the boy's. Her heart skipped a beat at the familiar scene and took her hands to reach at her hair, finding her long, auburn locks instead of his short, messy auburn ones.
A big, but confused smile found its way onto her face and she goofily went to look at her chest, finding the familiar thing only girls had. Tears stung at her eyes while finding that she indeed had breasts again. Her lips trembled with happiness as she brushed away the offending tears.
I can't wait to tell Kurosaki-kun about this!! She thought excitedly, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed. But upon taking in her surroundings again, she realized the second switch wasn't quite the same as the first. Instead of finding herself in her apartment, she was still in Kurosaki-kun's room, and quite clad in the makeshift pajamas she had chosen for his body the previous night. A big, baggy gray-blue shirt barely hung on her on her small shoulders and the black boxers of his with the same colored bunnies had trouble staying on her hips. It had been one thing to feel what it was like in his clothes when in his body, but definitely another when she was in her own. With burning cheeks, she forced to keep the slipping sleeve on her shoulder as she gasped.
"W-What do I do??" She whispered quickly to herself, blushing hard at the thought of herself being in his room and in his clothes. N-No, Orihime! Get yourself together! You survived Hueco Mundo, you can survive this! As she tripped over her now too big socks, Orihime made her way out the door of his room and began to sneakily work her way back downstairs. It took a lot of quietness on her end and moments of hesitation, but she eventually managed to get towards the front door.
As of late, it had been habit to slip on his shoes before she left, but considering they were now many sizes larger than her normal, she groaned at the thought of running to her apartment in socks only. Scratch that, running to her apartment on a Saturday while in a boy's t-shirt and boxers. Her face became a whole new shade of red at the thought of just where these bunny boxers had been before, but it definitely wasn't as bad as the things she had to see during her bathroom adventures. R-Right... I still need to apologize for that. She mentally noted.
Throwing open the door and slamming it behind her, Orihime began her run back to her flat, all while silently praying he wouldn't freak out at her appearance.
Ichigo was as tired as hell while he lay on the soft flooring of his friend's apartment. Without the slightest bit of sleep, he desperately wished he could just nap for a little bit. But as soon as his eyes would close, Orihime's face would show and his heart would twist painfully, but pleasantly at the same time. The feeling baffled him, but he still didn't mind it in the least.
One would think he could sleep if that was only the case, but it was actually the rest of the night that kept him up. Once he'd think back about her apparent feelings for him, he started to wonder what he thought of her. So for hours on end, he would ask himself question after question relating back to the incredibly kind healer. What did she mean to him? Why was it he was so unable to not rescue her from Hueco Mundo? Was there a term for the driving force that made him want to protect her until his dying breath?
Digging his fingers into his eyes, he groaned loudly as his stomach did that weird flippy thing it did when thinking about her. He wanted a name for the stupid reason his heart would stop and flip too.
Loud, hard knocks startled him and caused him to snap his form up from the floor and look at the door incredulously. Who in the world would be knocking so fervently at her apartment door so early in the morning?
Hoisting his sleep-deprived body from the floor, Ichigo stood up with a groan, his back cracking from his previously unmoved position. As he shuffled his covered feet towards the door, his mind starting darting back to that adorable little redhead that previously wormed into his brain.
If it's a stupid solicitor, I'm going to kill them for disturbing me... He thought as he peered through the peek hole.
But it wasn't anybody trying to sell him, or rather, "her" items, but the healer herself still pounding away at the door with incredibly flushed cheeks. A hasty swear escaped his lips and he unlocked the doors and turned the handle, allowing Orihime to rush in a matter of moments. Her eyes were wide with shame, fear, and embarrassment as her chest heaved up and down. Apparently she had been running quite fast.
"Inoue, what's wrong?" He asked her, his hands hovering over her tiny shoulders, but stopped short as he noticed her overly large shirt slipped down and exposed soft, pale skin. She squeaked and pulled it back up, flushing harder. He couldn't help but turn red himself, but noticed she wasn't in his body like before, nor did she have a soul chain attached to her chest. Did he...?? Snapping his head back, Ichigo found his own body now leaning up against the wall instead of her own, where it should have been. It was faint, but the Ryoka boy could feel the familiar reiatsu that belonged to Urahara Kisuke.
Bringing his eyes back to the fretting healer, his mind wandered for ways to calm her down, along with reasons why they could switch again. But his mind stopped short upon noticing further what exactly she was wearing. He had recognized the gray-blue shirt, as he had worn it himself before, but the boxers she had must have chosen startled him the most.
"W-Why the one with the bunnies??" He yelled, pointing at the shorts, offended. Orihime jumped back in surprise and glanced down at what he was pointing at, a whole new shade of red covering her face.
"T-They were cute!" She blurted out, pulling down the boxers a bit further to cover more of her exposed thighs. Her actions only caused her shirt to fall over her shoulders all over again. His eye twitched and he wanted to groan. C-Cute?? No! That's the least of my problems... If she's been changing my boxers, that mean she might've seen my... Shit.
Although he tried to reassure himself she probably didn't, as she was respectful like that, he was still pretty sure she had. But he wouldn't question it, as it would probably cause infinite embarrassment for them both.
He attempted to clear his throat and only managed squeaking at first before talking. The sudden high pitch made him want to punch himself.
"S-Still..." He didn't freaking stutter. "Rukia bought me those god-awful things as a joke... There was a reason I had them shoved towards the back..." The thought of her rummaging around his underwear drawer only made his brain break further. Orihime glanced up to him, surprised. Kuchiki-san bought Kurosaki-kun underwear? ... I-I wonder if I could do the same thing... Was the weird thought that entered her head. Maybe I will for his birthday!
As she constantly fiddled with the hems of his clothes, Ichigo could swear his pants had gotten slightly tighter and his nose attempted to bleed. The sight of her perfect frame in his clothes, with the tired look like she'd just gotten out of bed tempted him beyond belief. He even had half a mind to take her to her nearby bedroom and have his way with her right there... That is, he would if he knew what to do.
"E-Er, did you want to change, Inoue?" Ichigo managed to speak out eventually, kneading his tense muscles in his neck. It wasn't that he was uncomfortable with her in his attire, rather, he found it incredibly hot, but he kept catching himself staring at her, and surely she'd notice his gazes soon. She only nodded quickly in response and soon bolted out of the room, back into her own bedroom to retrieve new clothes.
Finding relief that she was temporarily gone, Ichigo let his body collapse against the nearby wall, heart racing. She had only been here 5 minutes and still managed to snag his undivided attention. A moment later, he saw her tiny form scurry back to the bathroom, where the water appeared to be running once she got in ... Great... Like that mental image of her taking a shower really helps...
As he glanced back to the wall with his body, he couldn't help but feel weird about being switched back. Just when he had gotten the hang of being in hers, he goes back to normal. Well, besides the whole breasts thing. Shuddering, he knew he'd never be able to get used to that.
Sighing, Ichigo sauntered back to his own body, still oddly clad in his school uniform, considering Orihime had been in his own clothes. Part of him was curious as to why, but he really didn't want to try to comprehend Urahara's reasoning. As he slipped his soul back into his body, it felt a lot weirder to be back to normal. Very weird... Things were too different, not just the physical changes. His feelings were a lot different than the first day they had switched.
Hearing the water turn off, Ichigo stood his body up from its previously sitting position and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. What would they do now? They were back to normal, so things should've gone back to the way they were... Shouldn't they? Even though part of him didn't want things to change? It wasn't like he particularly wanted to forget those kisses.
He almost didn't notice her small, slightly trembling form as she entered back into the room, clad in a light yellow sundress that ended at about her knees, with a neckline that accentuated her bust. Her hair was pulled back into a side ponytail with her always present hairpins at their sides. Clearly, based on her appearance, she was very glad to look like a girl again.
"U-Um... Here are your clothes, Kurosaki-kun..." She mumbled, handing him the shirt, boxers, and the large pair of socks. "Though I really think I should wash them before, since I wasn't-" He cut her off with an unusual smile, one she wasn't familiar with. It was soft and gentle, but at the same time, appeared as if hurt.
"Its fine, Inoue," Ichigo told her reassuringly, his mind starting to wander towards the thoughts of her and him not being so close after this. He wouldn't have given it much thought a week ago, but now it was the stupid idea that plagued his mind and made his heart ache oddly. "Though I suppose I should let you be alone. You probably haven't had any peace and quiet for a while." He responded nonchalantly, turning to face the door with his hands in his pockets. Orihime reached her hand out to him, opening her mouth to speak, but she stopped herself. What in the world would she say? She knew he looked somewhat hurt for some reason, but without any additional knowledge, she couldn't help the boy.
But as he turned around a final time, there was a glimpse of something familiar in his eyes. It was something she knew she saw every day, but couldn't put her finger on it. As her brows drooped, she cocked her head to the side.
"See you later, Inoue," Ichigo mumbled softly, hand grasping the doorknob and turning it open, allowing him to be out the door in moments. With his bright orange head out of sight, Orihime's heart slowed down from its previous frantic pace as she brought a hand to her chest to still her ragged breathing. Even saying goodbye still managed to make her swoon on the inside.
But as she pursed her lips, her mind raced for that thing in his eyes she thought was familiar. She hadn't seen it from him before, so she was so confused as to what it was now. Although, as soon as Orihime got it, her heart rate jumped right back up again, her cheeks growing dangerously hot.
The look in his eyes was the same one she knew she gave him, the exact same when she looked into the mirror and thought of him.
Running her tongue over her lips, she brought her small hand to hold her burning cheek.
Maybe... she was special to him.
At least, she desperately hoped so.
The days following the second switch had been very uncomfortable for him. Sad, even. As Ichigo sat on the roof of the school during lunch, he had felt a groan reverberate through his body as he sighed. The sandwich in his hand lay there forgotten, as he felt very sick with every thought of being away from his friend. It wasn't just that he didn't get the chance to see Orihime, but now she seemed to blatantly avoid him.
His amber brown eyes drifted through the black bars of the fence and onto the school grounds, glancing at the familiar auburn hair that belonged only to Inoue Orihime. He wanted to smile at seeing her, but the weird pain in his chest made it hard to get motivated to grin.
"Ichigo, why isn't Inoue talking to you now?" Rukia asked as she shoved her straw into her juice box. She scowled lightly, prepared to refute any and all excuses he'd come up with. "You two seemed so inseparable a few days ago." Ichigo shrugged and kept his eyes on the girl down below.
"Beats me... I want to know the answer to that same question," he scoffed, throwing his sandwich to Keigo, whom immediately praised him for being a good friend. The substitute would've eaten it, hadn't he been so nauseous feeling. Rukia raised an eyebrow and pointed a firm finger towards him, her eyes showing threats of pain.
"Well, you need to go talk to her! If you rejected her, I'm going to pummel you! I already collected my betting money from Matsumoto-san," Rukia growled, bringing her tiny hands into a hard fist. Ichigo had remained unfazed at first, only growing hot at the thought of Orihime liking him more than a friend. But as soon he realized her last statement, he snapped his head towards the small shinigami.
"You had bets!?"
"We all did..." Ishida coughed, feeling somewhat ashamed. "All with good intentions, of course." Ichigo brought his despaired eyes to his Mexican friend, hoping deep in his heart he didn't bet about the two redheads. Quietly, Chad instead brought his attention to a bird that had just landed near his spot. Clearly he'd rather affiliate himself with a cute bird than his irritated friend.
Bringing a hand to his eyes, Ichigo groaned and folded his knees across. As if things couldn't be any worse. But what was to be expected? It was a common fact whenever one thing seemed to go right, a whole slew of wrong made its way into his life.
Sighing again, Ichigo promised to himself he'd talk to her, walk her home perhaps. To do something to clear the air between him and Orihime and get those stupid people he calls friends off his back and stop betting. Surely all this stress for a teen was not healthy.
As a soft sigh made its way from her lips, Orihime closed her shoe locker with her brows furrowed. She didn't want to purposely avoid him, and in all honesty, it hurt her more to be away. But as soon as he left her apartment after the switch, it was as if all her bottled up feelings from Hueco Mundo and the following event caused her to break down. It wasn't even a minute he was gone when the healer discovered hot tears on her cheeks; crying when she didn't even know she was doing it.
Bringing up a small hand to rub at her tired eyes, Orihime sighed again, disregarding Tatsuki's advice to stop sighing so much. She told her she'd look like an old woman if she was so distraught.
But Orihime couldn't help it as she sighed. She found it to be a way to relieve just a smidgen of stress, some of the weight on her shoulders going away with the simple actions. As she turned around to head out the school doors, she kept her eyes closed, letting that constant feeling of loneliness unfortunately flood back.
A large hand caught at her wrist, startling her out of her thinking and snapping her eyes open. She faced the perpetrator, eyes wide with confusion. Upon seeing it was her strawberry crush, Kurosaki-kun, a whole new level of heat flooded her cheeks.
"K-Kurosaki-kun..." She breathed, eyes blinking slowly. "Is something the matter?" Orihime watched him open his mouth to say something, only to have them close again and return to a scowl. The hand he kept on her elbow shifted downwards to her small hand and he interlaced their fingers together before beginning to tow her away. A squeak poured from her lips and she almost tripped at his actions of wanting her to walk with him. She could feel the many eyes on the two as he dragged her along, which certainly didn't help her already burning cheeks.
"Kurosaki-kun!" She cried, embarrassed. "W-What are you doing?" Her brows furrowed together as she wished she could see the expression on his face, or suddenly have the power to read his mind. Instead, she could only look at his back, slightly in awe at how wide his shoulders were. That was certainly something she didn't notice when in his body days before.
With Ichigo, his eyes narrowed as he grinded his teeth together, forcing his own blush back. Something I should have done a long time ago... He thought as the two rounded the corner of the school entrance, still ignoring the stares of other students.
"I'm walking you home," he told her gruffly, his grasp on her hand growing a bit tighter.
"E-Eh?? N-No, Kurosaki-kun, it's really quite alright! I can get home on my own," she tried to assure him. Something about him walking her home seemed a lot different than them just walking together back to her place, again, just days before. Maybe it was because things were back to normal, and she only had to worry about being a girl. He stopped abruptly and she accidentally collided into his back, another squeak of surprise coming from her. Bringing her opposite hand up to her nose and rubbing it sorely, Orihime's brows furrowed.
"We need to talk," he replied, turning to face her with a stern look on his face. Her eyes grew wide at his words.
"Are you... mad at me?" She asked nervously, fingers subconsciously twitching against his own. His hand held hers tighter again, making the healer immediately think that was the case. Scowling, he shook his head.
"No, I'm not... But I haven't exactly been happy with how you've been avoiding me lately," he spoke slowly, not wanting all his words to come out in an angry rage. He wasn't mad at her, per se, but he feared she didn't want to be friends anymore. Orihime frowned as well and brought her eyes to the ground, her foot lightly tapping a nearby pebble.
"I... I didn't think you'd want to be around me anymore..." She confessed, her voice shaky. She tried to tug her hand away from his, feeling guilt and shame immediately flood her body. His hand only held onto hers tighter, not allowing her to pull away. With bright red cheeks, she noted he was determined to keep her there.
"What in the world would make you think that idea??" He startled her with his suddenly risen voice. She snapped her head back upwards and her cheeks burned hotter with disgrace. Suddenly she felt a lot worse than she did moments ago.
"I... B-But Kurosaki-kun, you got hurt so much in Hueco Mundo, and all because I went there in the first place," she sniffled, tears starting to sting at her eyes again. Those awful things kept reappearing so often lately! "And then there was the drink from that party... I-I guess I'm just a bundle of trouble, aren't I?" Bringing up her tear-filled eyes to meet with his, the Ryoka boy suddenly felt a lot guiltier himself for making her cry again. His brows knit tightly together and he brought his free hand to grasp her chin between his thumb and fingers. Her lips pursed in confusion and his actions only seemed to make her sadder.
"I told you, Inoue. You're not troublesome..."
"B-But-" She stuttered, sobbing softly now. She would've continued to protest if he hadn't met her lips in a chaste kiss. Ichigo grew irritated with himself and his inability to speak what he wanted to say. But instead, he'd always let his actions lead him, and he'd end up in situations like this. As he moved his lips against hers, Ichigo released her hand in order to hold her face, feeling nothing but her soft skin under his fingertips. Orihime felt that she didn't know what to do, so she rested her hands on his chest, bunching up the fabric in her small fingers. As he pulled away, he somehow managed to conjure a small, sheepish smile. Only, it immediately faded when she frowned again and tears rushed out faster.
"W-Why?" She questioned, lips still tingling from the kiss. He raised an eyebrow and loosened his grip on her fragile face.
"You keep kissing me..." She mumbled, face burning from saying the word. "I-I'm so confused..." A weight lifted off his shoulders at her words, because he had been feeling the exact same for the last three days. Blowing out a sigh, Ichigo hung his head, but kept his amber brown eyes on her own gray orbs.
"That makes two of us..." He grumbled, finally releasing her from his hold. Oddly, Orihime felt cold and somehow rejected. As he backed away, his eyes never left hers until he eventually turned back around and took a step forward. He wasn't sure if he should continue walking, or they should talk. If he walked, he'd be walking away from the situation and his feelings, and he was not one to run away. Groaning, he shoved his hands into his gray pants pockets.
"Eh?" Orihime stuttered again as she neatly folded her hands in front of her, trying to hide the light shaking of her palms and digits.
"Inoue," he cut her off, bringing his tan hand to his neck, kneading the muscles. Orihime could immediately tell he had been nervous about something, knowing that he did that when feeling bad about something or embarrassed. "Why is it that I hope you like me...? More than a friend, I mean..."
Her heart about jumped out at the question and her eyes grew wide. Had he possibly began to feel something similar to what she constantly felt for him?
"Kurosaki-kun, what are you-"
"Ichigo. You can call me Ichigo..." He cut her off yet another time. With blaring hot cheeks, she nodded dumbly.
"... I-Ichigo... kun..." she tested his name, noticing that it seemed to roll off her tongue a lot better than his surname. "How do you feel...?" She asked awkwardly, hoping her phrasing wouldn't seem too off. He turned around, brows together tight in confusion. But something in his eyes showed that he understood what she was talking about.
"I can't stand being away from you. It hurts too damn much," he told her bluntly, tan cheeks appearing slightly pink as well. "But when you're around... It's like... I'm the happiest I've ever been." He was kneading his neck again as he brought his eyes to the ground, shoe scuffing the pavement. "I'm not going to lie, it's the most freaky and weird feeling I've ever had, with all this heart beating fast and that stupid stuttering crap..." He paused for a moment, a gentle breeze temporarily filling the silence. "But I don't seem to mind it all that much..."
Hoping that she wouldn't go into cardiac arrest, Orihime forced a shaky smile with tear filled eyes. If indeed he was truly feeling the same she always did, she could definitely say she was the happiest girl in the world.
As she folded her hands together behind her back, the healer took slow, smooth steps towards his lean figure, her face feeling surprisingly cooler than before.
"... you," She spoke quietly, another gust of wind cutting off her first part. As he dumbly watched her beautiful auburn hair flow with the air, he cocked his head to the side, bringing up a hand to shield his eyes.
"Sorry, Inoue, I didn't catch that," he apologized, growing slightly alarmed at the quickly closing distance. Orihime darted her tongue to wet at her lips before placing her small hands on his large shoulders, standing on the tips of her toes to be at his level. Boldly, she connected his lips with his, giving him his first ever kiss from her. It didn't last long, but it was still the most forward thing she'd ever done regarding him.
As she pulled away, still keeping her hands on his shoulders, Orihime didn't seem to mind the light tingling of his body heat through his school shirt. The shinigami stared stupidly at her, brain still scattered from her bold, and incredible attractive action.
"I love you, Ichigo-kun..."
Love... It was as if it all clicked together for him. That was the name for the emotion plaguing his heart and mind for days on end. Giving her another sheepish smile, albeit awkwardly, he rested his forehead on hers, closing his eyes for a short moment.
"I think I love you too, Inoue."
"Orihime..." She told him, turning pink again. "It's Orihime..." Still smiling, he nodded as he took her hand in his again. "But... um..." She stopped, growing very embarrassed again. "C-Can you say it again?" His more innocent smile turned into a more wolfish grin as his breath fanned over her lips.
"I love you, Orihime."