Disclaimer: if I owned Bleach, then the RukiaxIchigo fans would be happy. Very happy.

"Damn it!" I cried at the top of my voice as I crumbled up what seemed to me like my fifty-billionth piece of paper. Pulling out (yet another) clean sheet, I put my head in my hands. Why did this have to be so damn hard?

I knew that I loved her. I knew that I had to let her know how I felt. I just couldn't seem to be able to write the words down on paper.

I reflected on what exactly I liked about Rukia.

She was smart. She always knew what to do. She seemed to know how to get me to get over whatever was bugging me at the moment and do whatever needed to be done. There didn't seem to be anything I asked her that she didn't know the answer to.

Her eyes were definitely one of them. They were a sort of dark violet color, kind of hard to describe. They always seemed to sparkle, like gemstones caught in the sunlight…

"Come on, Ichigo," I muttered under my breath, "don't be getting all sappy here."

I scowled. Then again, I always seemed to do that. But she could always make me smile.

Not that I'd ever tell her that.

I was kind of stupid that way.

I was suddenly hit with a wave of inspiration. It crashed down over me, and I knew just what to write.

When I was done, I debated whether or not I should sign my name. I decided it would be better to get it over with. I signed my name and folded the paper.

XxXxXxXxXxX

I intended to slip the letter into Rukia's school bag while she was talking to Orihime. So, as soon as she turned her back, I leaned over and lifted the flap.

The note slipped in perfectly. Unfortunately for me, I also succeeded in falling out of my chair to land unceremoniously onto the floor. I heard laughter echoing around me and felt my face go red.

A single pale hand was outstretched toward me. I slapped it away angrily.

"I do not want any help, okay?" I yelled.

"Sorry."

I froze and looked up. Rukia seemed a little stung. I instantly felt bad. She was only trying to help.

I could hardly concentrate during class. I kept casting sideways glances over at Rukia, but she never opened her bag or even took her eyes off the front of the classroom.

Damn it, I thought, open the fucking backpack, Rukia!

Finally, the first break period came. Everyone stood around talking to each other. Uuryu and Chad were quietly absorbed in a game of chess in the back corner. They were lucky. They didn't have to worry about catching a girl. Not that the Bishounen Uuryu or the totally buffed-out macho-man Chad would have a problem with that, anyway. It only seemed to be me who had girl trouble. Me, Mr. Frowny-face, carrot-top Ichigo Kurosaki.

"Oh, my God, Rukia! That is so awesome!"

My head jerked toward where Orihime, Tatsuki and Rukia were sitting. Rukia held a neatly unfolded piece of paper in her hands.

My love letter.

Rukia was smiling, but her eyes were full of tears. The sort of look that always made me melt into a little puddle of happiness. Okay, I know I'm being totally out of character here, but that was exactly how I felt.

(RUKIA'S POV)

I couldn't believe that anyone would take the trouble to write anything to me, let alone a love letter. I never thought I was worth the time.

Dear Rukia,

I'm not good with words. In fact, I'm horrible with words. So, to me at least, it's not really surprising that every time I look at your amethyst eyes I lose what few words that I have. Every time I hear your laugh, I always want to hear it again. Every time I see you smile, I want to see it again. I always wish you would be happy more often.

Anyway, that's beside the point.

You always seem to know me better than I know myself. You may not even notice how I look at you in class, but in all honesty, it's better that way. You'd probably be better off with someone else. Someone handsomer than me, taller than me, stronger than me, smarter than me…you get the idea.

I'm not perfect. I'm about as far from perfect as you could get. You, on the other hand, pretty much are. Either way, I just have to tell you this. It's a secret that I haven't shared with anybody, but I want to share with you. And that secret is this:

I love you, Rukia Kuchiki.

This isn't the cheesy "love-at-first-sight" type of love, either. In all honesty, the first time I met you, I hated you. But soon I thought of you as my friend. Then, as something more than that.

I love you, and I hope you love me. But if you don't that's fine. I'm not asking for a miracle. I don't have much to give you but my heart. So, I'll give it to you. My only hope is that you'll keep it.

Yours forever,

Ichigo Kurosaki

I stared at the writing. I had never known Ichigo felt that way about me. I whispered his name quietly, so that only I could hear it.

"Ichigo". His name rolled off my tongue so easily.

In a way, I'd been hoping that he felt like this about me. In all honesty, I'd been considering writing him a love letter for quite some time. Looks like he beat me to it. I giggled slightly (HIGHLY out of character for me). Rukia Kurosaki. Yeah, that had a nice ring to it.

I let out a deep sigh.

"Rukia…you are so lucky," Orihime said. Did I detect just a hint of jealousy?

I snickered.

"What's so funny?" she asked, slightly miffed.

"Oh, nothing," I said dismissively.

I rested my head in the palm of my hand and stared over at the back of Ichigo's head.

He was blushing a little bit, looking straight ahead, anxiety crossing his face.

He looked so cute that way.