A/N: A flashfic written for a very ancient request over at LiveJournal. It only took me a few years to get around to writing it, orz. Shaaaame. Also, in regards to the title… It means "My own/belonging to oneself", and since I couldn't think of a fitting equivalent – considering that it had to refer to both of them at the same time, as well as separately – in English, I opted for the Japanese.

Warnings: vague sexual content.

Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite and all associated companies. No profit is being made from this and no copyright infringement intended with this fan-made piece of fiction. Please support the authors and the artists by buying their official work.

Jibun no

When Orihime lost all faith, Rukia was there to pull her through. When the ground seemed to disappear beneath her feet and the sky seemed to crumble around her ears, Rukia was the one to pull her back on her feet. When Urahara slammed the door shut in her face, Rukia pulled open a gate for her. And when Orihime thought that, after Ichigo, she would never find anyone who would love her just as much as she did, Rukia showed her just how wrong such a thought was.

It wasn't conventional, so what? It wasn't quite what she had expected, but did it matter? They were already impossible the way they were, so it might as well have been normal. The world born in Orihime's fantasies? Fell far behind the reality she was living out right now; something that had seemed almost impossible once. Over time, she found that the world in her head was becoming… normal. With less organic mecha and space aliens, and more with people she'd known and had left behind. She hadn't done that willingly though, and Orihime kept reminding herself this whenever the guilt welled up. Though in all earnest, there wasn't enough time to feel guilty about anything (even then she still somehow managed to).

Now, in-between training with Rukia and quiet nights spent in anxious anticipation of the tomorrow when she would have to go back to the human world, there were moments when the world disappeared. Those moments were reserved for Rukia only. So what if she wasn't the white-shining prince atop a giant mammoth-like mecha-plane with a bear's thigh as the token flower proposing to her his undying shoe-polishing services from her dreams? So what if she wasn't Kurosaki Ichigo who raced her down the street dressed as a giant pear to propose a walking-on-hands competition? She was also a dear and treasured friend. And she was real. A one hundred percent something – not living, but close enough that sometimes you couldn't tell the difference. And with Rukia, Orihime discovered that there was more to everything than just imaginary cucumber-dressing-and-selling-to-antler-wearing-Martians with a phone.

There was intensity and closeness, and two shared breaths. Touches and whispers, and silent realisations that there was something more, something… Something they could share. Something entirely their own; a new universe discovered just by the two of them. And when they were lined up like that – side by side, with their hands tracing each other's body and exploding the new and unknown, they felt content, and hurried at the same time. Because it felt like there wouldn't be enough time for one more kiss, one more touch, one more languid stroke, one more hurried shove and needy buck. Time, as ironic as Rukia found this, considering who she was, was their enemy. It made their being together all the more sweeter – and bitter – for their universe was not to last. And it wouldn't, as expected, be destroyed by swirling ant-monkeys riding green envelopes with wagging pig ears, but rather by their status. One nigh-immortal, and one very much mortal that couldn't exist together for an eternity. And even Orihime's promise that she would return to her one day in the far and distant future when a bicycle-riding fox hit her halfway up Mt. Fuji, thus causing a landslide on Mars which brought down the piping and sent her falling into a pot of boiling eggnog.

Rukia asked if Orihime had recently been drinking that from Captain Kyouraku's secret stash and before Orihime could formulate an answer, she'd leaned over and kissed her slowly. Giggling under her breath, Orihime reached up to push Rukia's robe off her shoulder and turned toward her. They still had a little time in this universe they'd created.