It was a sunny day in Karakura town. Everyone was in class, waiting for homeroom to start. Rukia and Ichigo were arguing as usual, while Orihime chatted with Tatsuki, Chad sat at his desk silently, and Uryuu read his book, while different thoughts flew in and out of his head. One thought, however, seemed to like its residence in his mind and it decided to make a permanent home. That thought was about Orihime. Ever since he realized just how beautiful she really was, it came in and never left. He scoffed at itself. So, she's beautiful, that doesn't mean anything. Lots of guys who don't even have feelings for her think she's beautiful. He's just like one of those guys, just not as perverted, though he's had indecent thoughts about her before. He blushed slightly, shaking his head. He brought his attention back to the book in his hands. He heard footsteps ascend toward his desk. He looked up to see Orihime, with her usual toothy grin that made his heart leap a couple of feet.

"Good morning, Ishida-Kun." She said.

"Good morning, Inoue-San." Uryuu replied, trying to keep his gaze on the book. "How are things?"
"Everything's fine!" She giggled. "How are you?"
"Oh, you know…. The usual." The usual to her meant "being antisocial" but the usual actually meant "being depressed out of his mind and having no idea how to cure it."

"Oh. Well… I…" Before she could finish her sentence, the bell rang, causing her to apologize and run back to her own seat. Ms. Ochi entered the room, carrying a mountain of paper in her arms. She sighed in relief when she set it down on her desk.

"Good morning, class!" She said, with a big smile.

"Good moooorning, Ms. Ochi!" Keigo Asano yelled, jumping out of his seat.

"Hello, Asano. Sit down before I kill you." He went white with terror and sat back down. Ms. Ochi waited for a while before continuing.

"Okay, guys. Just read or something. I'm tired." Everyone in the class had a huge sweat drop dropping down their heads in confusion. Ms. Ochi grabbed a book from her desk, and read it silently until she fell asleep. Orihime at that time approached Ichigo's desk, where Rukia was sitting.

"Kurosaki-Kun? Can I speak with you?" Uryuu's ears perked up.

"Sure, Inoue." Ichigo got out of his desk and stood by her. Everyone in the class, including Keigo and Chizuru with glaring eyes stared at them. Ichigo growled, taking Orihime's hand. "Let's go outside and talk." She blushed as he led her outside. Uryuu shut his book and looked down at it sitting on his desk.

Orihime faced Ichigo, who was standing by the window.

"So, what is it?" He asked.

"Um…." Her blush deepened. "We've known each other for a while, haven't we?"
"More or less, I suppose."

"Well, we spent some time together since I found out about my powers. I was glad I got to help you rescue Kuchiki-San. And… I wish I could have been stranded with you."
"Inoue, as much I would have loved to get away from Ganju…" He chuckled. "… You're being a little harsh."
"Harsh, how?"

"You really aren't considering Ishida's feelings. Didn't you have fun with him? Aren't you grateful for getting to know him better?"
"Well…" Orihime looked down at her feet. "Yes… I did. But, Kurosaki-Kun, I know I was destined to be with you. When Ulquiorra-San told me to leave, I had to say goodbye to one person, and I chose you. I confessed my feelings and almost kissed you, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I truly am in love with you, Kurosaki-Kun!"
"Inoue…." Ichigo said softly, with his voice full of remorse and guilt. She knew what he was going to say, but she didn't want to hear it. "I'm sorry. I don't feel that way. You act like Yuzu and Karin, and thus, I think of you as a sister, only."
"You love Kuchiki-San." Orihime concluded. Before he could reply, she walked. "Thank you for listening." She wiped her tears and went back into homeroom to grab her bag. Tatsuki tried to stop her.

"Where are you going, Orihime?" She asked.

"I don't feel well. I'm going home." She replied, trying to hold back her tears. She told Ms. Ochi and left the room. Ichigo came back into the room, looking guilty. Before anyone else could approach him, Uryuu was at his side.
"She told you, didn't she?" He asked.

"Yeah. How'd you know?"
"I always knew her feelings. She came to me one night in tears, asking for help. I didn't have the heart to turn her down. She told me she told Ariwasa-San, but she wouldn't listen, disapproving of her feelings. I didn't approve either, but I listened to her every word." He sighed, remembering the pain he endured that night when she told him of her feelings toward Ichigo. "She's going to be at my apartment tonight, seeking comfort, and I will give it to her. I'm also the second choice, aren't I?"
"What do you mean?" Ichigo asked.

"When Arisawa wouldn't listen, she came to me. When you rejected her, she'll be with me…. And… I don't want to be the rebound. I want her to love me for me."
"She will, Ishida." Uryuu scoffed, and grabbed his bag. "Where are you going?"
"I don't feel well, either. I'm going home." He, like Orihime, told Ms. Ochi, and left the building. Ichigo sat at his desk, resting his cheek on his palm. Rukia, still sitting on his desk, took his hand and smiled. He smiled back.

While walking home, Uryuu decided to check in on Orihime to see how she was coping. She was sitting on her couch, wiping her tears with a handkerchief that was white and embroidered with flowers. Uryuu gave it to her the day she confessed her feelings for Ichigo to him. She began to sob, and so he handed it to her, with a blush. She was surprised when there was a knock on her door. Thinking it was her neighbor, she answered it, not expecting to find Uryuu Ishida at her doorstep, holding a rose in his hand.

"Ishida-Kun…?" She asked.

"Good afternoon, Inoue-San." He said, pushing up his glasses.

"Why are you here?"
"I didn't feel well, so I left."

"You don't feel well?!" She freaked out. "I don't think you should be here, then!"

"I… don't feel sick…. I…" He glanced away from her. "I just wanted to see how you were. May I come in?" She, being speechless, nodded, and opened the door for him. He came in, smiling slightly. He sat down on her couch, and waited. She joined him moments later. "So, I know what happened today."
"You do?" She asked, slightly embarrassed. He nodded. She blushed. "I feel like such an idiot." She admitted, burying her face in her hands. She was crying… again. As she started sobbing again, there was a crash of thunder. Her mood, Uryuu believed, caused the rain to start pouring from out of nowhere. She whimpered a little at the sound of thunder.

"Are you scared of thunder?" Uryuu asked.

"A little bit." She giggled. "Kurosaki-Kun loves Kuchiki-San, doesn't he?"

"Yes." Uryuu nodded. She cried, and buried herself in his arms. He blushed slightly at their closeness, but he couldn't turn her away. He found himself wrapping them around her body, and holding her tightly.

"I love him, Ishida-Kun." He hated when she told him that. It made him feel…. Well, worse than he already did. "Valentine's Day is today, you know."
"I know." He had it marked on his calendar even though he didn't have anyone to spend it with. He hoped it would be the day he finally admitted his feelings. Today's not the day.

"Why did you bring a rose, Ishida-Kun?" Her voice made him jump slightly. He had forgotten about the rose. He set it on her coffee table. She loosened his grip on him, though he didn't want that, and grabbed it. "Is it for the girl you like?" Maybe he's going back to school to give it to Kuchiki-San. He loves her!

"I guess you could say that." He replied, twiddling it between his fingers, with a slight sigh. "But never mind the rose; let's talk about it."
"You mean Kurosaki?" He nodded. She sighed. It was too soon. She was planning on visiting Uryuu later that night to talk to him, but since he was there, why waste it? She looked down at her feet, as she kicked them. "I thought he could love me… I'm so stupid!"
"Shh!" Uryuu said, pulling her back into an embrace, causing her to blush. "You're not stupid. It's not your fault he loves Kuchiki-San."

"Maybe if I expressed my love in a different way…"
"I don't think it would've made much of a difference, Inoue-San… You know, there's someone out there that truly does love you."
"Yeah, right. Thanks for trying to make me feel better, Ishida-Kun." She sniffled.

"It's true." He said softly, stroking her hair.

"Do you know him?"

"We're… really close friends, actually." Uryuu replied, with a smile. Orihime felt content with his answer, and cuddled closer to him.

Ishida-Kun is so nice to me. Why is he so nice?

Why can't she realize how much I care for her?

Why is he holding me tight like this?

Why isn't she tearing away from me? I'm not Kurosaki.

Why do I want to stay like this forever? He's not Kurosaki-Kun.

"I'm glad you're here." She finally said.

"So am I." He let her go, and grabbed his bag. "I think I should be getting home, now."
"Oh." She said sadly. "Okay. I'm feeling so much better, thank you."

"You're welcome." He headed toward the door and opened it; Orihime followed him. He stopped, causing her to bump into him.

"Ishida….Kun?" He sighed, turning around and holding the rose out to her. "Huh?"
"Happy Valentine's Day, Inoue-San." Uryuu said, lightly kissing her. When he broke away, she had both hands on her lips. He was about to apologize for his behavior, but she cut him off by throwing her arms around his neck, and forcing their lips to meet, in a passionate kiss this time. She was in tears when they broke apart.
"Thank you. Thank you so much!" She removed her arms and smiled her usual toothy grin. Their hands intertwined, while they looked into each other's eyes. A few moments, he was out the door, finally with a smile on his face.

Back at Kurosaki Clinic, Ichigo and Rukia were sitting next to each other on the bed. He was still wondering about Orihime's confession at school; he felt so guilty. His phone vibrated in his pocket, and he opened it. It was text message from Uryuu. Rukia crawled over to see what it said.

It read:

Hey, Kurosaki. You can stop feeling guilty. Orihime is feeling much better. And… so am I. If you don't know what I'm talking about, let's just say the geek got the girl.

Ishida

Rukia gasped with a huge smile. Ichigo smiled too.

"They're together?" She squealed. "It's about time! Oh, Ishida must be so happy!"
"Yeah…" Ichigo replied.

"Are you okay, Ichigo?"
"I'm fine. I'm glad I don't have to be so guilty anymore." He turned to Rukia with a grin. He went under his bed and pulled out a giant stuffed bunny, with a bouquet of roses.

"Ichigo, is that for….?" Rukia asked, surprised.

"Who else is it for? Happy Valentine's, Rukia." Rukia sobbed into her hand. Ichigo handed her the bunny. To his surprise, she set it aside, and instead, met his lips with hers.

"Thank you, Ichigo!"
"You're welcome."

The next day at school, everybody was feeling much better. Uryuu was blushing at the stares he was getting, holding Orihime's hands. Ichigo just threatened everyone who asked him about why he and Rukia got together.

"What the hell?" Keigo screamed, running to them. "How could she pick the nerd? HOW??!!" He grabbed Ichigo's collar and looked him in the eyes.

"Get the hell off me, Asano!" Ichigo yelled, his fist meeting Keigo's face. He fell to the ground, tears in his eyes. "Shut up about it!"

"I can't believe it…" He cried. Orihime giggled, squeezing Uryuu's hand. He turned to her with a smile, and she smiled a truly happy smile.