heeey, thanks as always to my beta who helped me realize my problem was that i wasn't writing any fluff, so i totally wrote this to get it out of my system!
"What's your damn problem?" an infuriated orange haired teen shouted.
"My problem?!" retorted the petite raved haired girl across from him, equally as loud.
"That's what I said isn't it? Or have you become stupid too?" Ichigo shouted as he took a step towards Rukia.
"If I have then it's your fault for being so stupid it's contagious!" Rukia shot back, also taking a step forward.
For each insult, a step forward was taken until they were each nearly nose to nose. Out of insults and adrenaline fading, both of them seemed to notice what sort of situation they were in. Rather than have to deal with it though, they were saved by Tatsuki's snide comment from her spot on the school roof where the group of friends were having lunch.
"Seems like a lover's spat, huh Orihime?" she said with a laugh on the end.
"But Ishida-kun and I never fight like that!" Orhime replied in her usual honest manner, latching on to the Quincy in question.
Ishida was spared from having to comment by a dark aura surrounding Ichigo and Rukia.
"Lovers?" they said in unison, the waves of anger emanating from the two shinigami nearly visible.
"We aren't lovers!" Ichigo shouted, throwing the nearest thing to him at the meddlesome group.
Rukia examined a raging Ichigo out of the corner of her eyes. "That's right," she said finally, with a nod of her head and a snort.
She let Ichigo chase the group around the roof, might as well let him get it out of his system, it was his last year of high school after all. Everybody's last year. The two of them had never discussed Ichigo's future after high school. She had always figured that he would work with his father as a doctor or something. As for her, she'd probably stay until she was recalled to soul society. Her residence after graduation though, was still a mystery.
After Aizen fell, life had returned to basically normal. The days were all the same usually, school, hollow battles and the like. Ichigo and Rukia had gotten used to living together, and were able to coexist peacefully. Well, they could coexist at least. But the uncertainty she felt on the horizon bothered Rukia, as she saw no reason to stay in the world of the living past their high school graduation. She hadn't said anything to Ichigo though, because despite popular opinion, she rather enjoyed the obnoxious orange haired goon, and wouldn't prefer her life any other way.
It had taken her a while to come to such a conclusion, as it was originally tainted with her suspicion of more...intimate feelings towards Ichigo. Wanting to live her life with Ichigo? Sure sounded like love or marriage or whatever to her. But she was able to convince herself that it was strictly platonic. Who wouldn't want to stick with someone who understood them? Did she say convince? She meant prove. She proved that it was strictly platonic.
She shook her head in annoyance at such thoughts. They had been bugging her lately, and she didn't really appreciate it. She ignored the feelings for the rest of the day as best she could, but by the end of school, she couldn't stand it anymore. She didn't like to be unsure about anything. The problem was how to approach it.
"Goodbye Kurosaki-kun!" Orihime shouted as they parted ways after school, before grabbing on to Ishida's arm, and nearly dragging him to her house.
Ichigo and Rukia began walking down their street, before a disappointed sigh came from Rukia.
"What is it now?" Ichigo asked, but he was sure to keep his tone light, he didn't feel like arguing with his friend.
"Inoue is such a nice girl," she said, trying to lay on the guilt. "Too bad you turned her down."
Ichigo could tell she was just trying to egg him on, but what could it hurt to be honest for once?
"Well I wasn't going to lie and say I was in love with her like she was with me. She doesn't deserve that. I can't help that I'm just not interested in her."
Well this was new to Rukia. Usually he replied with 'shut up' or some other equally intelligent response. No reason she had to be as serious as he was being.
"But that body," she said, waving her hands through the air in a silhouette. "Who could pass that up?"
Ichigo turned to his shorter friend in horror. "Have you turned into Matusumoto?! What the hell?"
Rukia inwardly laughed, but conceded on the outside. "Fine, fine, have it your way."
They resumed walking in silence, but before long, Ichigo startled Rukia by replying.
"It's not about looks," he said, hands behind his head while he was looking away from her.
"So what?" she said, keeping up her teasing, "she can be ugly, but so long as she's nice then you're good to go?"
He turned his head and scowled at her before resuming his previous position. "What are you, a teenage boy? She has to be attractive to me I guess," he said, the last part trailing off.
"Uh huh," she said, suddenly finding herself nervous. "Then what's the most important thing to you?"
He cocked his head in her direction with a tweaked eyebrow, before looking back the other way.
"Trust I suppose."
"Trust?" she echoed.
"What of it?" he said, finally getting agitated.
"No no!" she quickly replied, waving her hands in the air. "It's not a bad thing. I just wasn't expecting it."
"Why not?" he said, half joking, "we've been together for years now."
"That's true," she replied, before allowing them to lapse back into silence.
Once again, Ichigo surprised Rukia with a sudden comment.
"Hey, I've been meaning to say something," he said, fidgeting around a bit. A sign which Rukia knew meant he was uncomfortable. "About earlier on the roof. I don't want you to think you're like this, really horrible thing that nobody ever likes, and that that's the reason that I get all upset that people say that. It's not that you're an awful person, it's just...I dunno. I don't want you to get all insecure about it."
"What's with all the seriousness?" she asked, laughing nervously herself. She hoped he didn't catch the slight waver in her voice.
"I can get serious every now and then," he said indignantly.
Rukia gave him that, he wasn't all loud and stupid all the time. "But why not just deny it like a normal person?" she said, rationalizing her words as she went. "You know, make less of a fool of yourself."
"We live together," he said simply. Obviously thinking that cleared it all up.
Rukia on the other hand, only gave him her 'go on' look, which meant 'keep going until Rukia understands, or she'll go find something sharp'.
He raised his hands in defense, and quickly started explaining. "Think about it, we live together. If our friends thought we were together, imagine what they'd assume we did because we share a room!"
By the end of his quick explanation his face was bright red, and he felt like a fool.
Rukia processed the what he had said in silence, only winding Kurosaki up more. He honestly just wanted her to hit him and be done with it. Bodily injuries he could handle. Complicated emotional Rukia, he could not. Rukia was midly aware of his predicament, but was in the process of facing a much larger one of her own. She had thought over all her recent feelings and musing of Ichigo, and had brought her decision down to one word. This word however, either needed to be buried, or needed a push to get their relationship moving on a different path from it's current one. If she said 'true', she would be agreeing with his antics, and their need to avoid any suspicion while the other would let her feelings be known. The second put her in a very vulnerable position, she didn't like being vulnerable, but she was surprised to find her saying it anyway.
The single word, two letters, a simple syllable, was able to convey her disinterest in her friend's ramblings, and her interest in the carrot top.
To his credit, he didn't go rambling off about why it would be a problem, or completely freak out. He did however, stop moving all together. Rukia knew this was his heavy processing mode. It only happened when he was thinking of something that he deemed so important that he couldn't be bothered with the distraction of his own body moving around.
She stepped in front of him, and looked up into his eyes, the only part of his body that was moving. They were looking all around, like looking for something that was lost, or, though she hated the analogy, and escape route. She was glad though, when his eyes slowed down, and eventually met her own, rooting her in place, the only she could hear was that of her heart, drowning out the rest of the noise from the street. His amber eyes locked her violet ones for moments that to her, were torture of uncertainty.
She watched as his face lit from his usual scowl that he showed to the entire world, to a broad smile. A truly happy smile, that was obviously only meant for her.
"You're right," he said, stepping towards her and reaching out his hand. "What they think doesn't matter."
She stared at it dumbly for a second, before gently placing her small hand in his large one. His hands were warm, like she had expected. They were calloused too, also like she had expected. What she didn't expect was the smile the seemed to erupt from inside her chest, and plaster her face with what she was sure was a giant goofy grin. Her happiness only seemed to make Ichigo smile wider, as he entwined their fingers, and resumed walking to their home.