Title: Kurosaki Ichigo, I hate you, I don't love you!

Pairing: Ichi/Ishi

Genre: romance, drama, humor, smut

Chapters: 30+

Word count: 11,273

Spoiler/s: anime episode 11/12, manga chapter 52(and will move up with each chapter)

Full summary: "You wanted me to notice you… if it's that important doesn't it mean you have a romantic interest in me?" Ichigo was a moron, Uryu had already established that so it would make sense he would come up with logic like that. It was stupid, how could something like that be true? Then if Ichigo isn't wrong… Set in the time frame shortly after Ichigo and Ishida meet.

Warning/s:

-yaoi

-angst

-drama

-violence

- OOC Rukia

- ASSHOLE Ichigo, but he has his reasons.. Don't hate on me for it! (It's the story dears, THE STORY!)

Refresher:

"You haven't known him that long... How could you be in love with him?"

"I don't know! Now leave!" the substitute shinigami groaned and rolled over to lay on his stomach. His beaten body screamed it's protest but he ignored it and covered his head with his arms to try and block out Rukia's judgments. With any luck he would manage to block out all thoughts of Uryuu and any negative feelings that were bubbling in the pit of his stomach.

He disgusted Uryuu.

Luck didn't seem to be with him at the moment as his method to lock out the thoughts only seemed to intensify their strength as they echoed within his mind with nothing to distract him.

Uryuu hated him.

He had just met Uryuu so he couldn't be in love.

All of his actions; all the pain he had caused the other, everything, was pointless.

There wasn't any love between them.

"I... just wanted to fuck him." his voice was horse as he rolled over onto his back, his arm draped across his face.

Final thoughts: Yess... sorry but I put Rukia OOC pretty badly... I don't really like her so... I had to make her more likable to my standards. Also Ichigo is… I'm sorry! T^T Major fail? I know it took a while... and... I actually had this typed up for a while but I wanted to get the other chapter done before posting this... I'm close enough~

Kurosaki Ichigo, I hate you, I don't love you!

Chapter Three: A blind step forward, too late?

:start:

"Whaat!? Ichigo's out again?" the loud, whining, voice snapped the raven haired teen's attention from the book his sapphire eyes had been trained so intently on. He was sure to be inconspicuous with his sudden focus on the loud obnoxious teen.

"C'monnn!" Keigo yelled in his desperate high pitched voice. The other students looked irriatble.

"Shut up!" Tatsuki growled and offered the noisy teen a non-too-gentle-punch atop his head.

Further bickering pursues but Uryuu tunes them out expertly, turning his attention back to his book. His eyes roam pointlessly over the pages, his mind unable to focus on what he was reading.

It had nearly been a week since the Quincy had seen the substitute shinigami. Ichigo hadn't come back to school since being injured by the Hollow and as the days stretched on Uryuu doubted the injuries were to blame. He had considered dropping by to check up on the 'injured' male several times but he always backed out. His mind would pull up images of the strange events that had played out between the two and halt Uryuu's movements.

It wasn't that he was confused about why Ichigo had done the things he had. He understood; Ichigo was in love with him. At least that's the explanation he had been given.

He wasn't sure if he believed it to be true but he did know that Ichigo wasn't a cruel person. So he would never play with someone's emotions in such away. If Ichigo said he loved someone, Uryuu believed Ichigo truely thought it to be so.

So then it was the 'why' that stumped Uryuu. Why did Ichigo love him? The idiotic orange haired teen had said he had been really happy when he had somehow twisted things and thought Uryuu was in love with him. Had he fallen in love with the idea that someone was in love with him? The two hadn't known each other for long, so Ichigo couldn't be in love with Uryuu for Uryuu.

A soft sigh escaped the pale teen's lips as his ebony brows furrowed. That was his conclusion; Ichigo wasn't in love with him he was simply reaching out at the chance to have someone love him. He was in love with the idea that someone was in love with him.

Uryuu's pulled downward into a deep frown.

In away the thought pissed him off. All of Ichigo's words of love were lies, unintentional lies. The idiot didn't even realize it himself and so truly thought he was in love.

"Idiot..." Uryuu muttered under his breath. While his thoughts had roamed freely his face had contorted into a dark glare.

It kind of hurt though, to think all the sweet words that had been spoken to him were confused lies. That all of Ichigo's confessions of love were delusional declarations of need for love not offering it.

A quieter part of Uryuu had been a bit happy that someone had said they loved him. He received so little, so he felt a swelling of warmth in his chest from the thought. Realizing that Ichigo didn't love him left him feeling a bit cold and alone.

The intense glare smoldered out leaving a softened broken frown on his lips and a saddened shimmer to his cobalt eyes.

"...hida." his head snapped to the side at the sudden voice beside him. "Good morning, Ishida." his widened eyes quickly sank back to normal size as he pushed up his glasses and returned the greeting. He really didn't feel like confronting this right now.

"Can we talk?" asked the short dark haired girl.

Uryuu's frown deepened, "Sorry, Kuchiki, but class is about to begin. Maybe another time...?" the girl frowned in response and grabbed him by the collar of his school uniform. Uryuu let out a small yelp as he was yanked from his seat and drug out of the classroom in a less than friendly manner.

The other students stared after the two, dumbfounded.

"Kuchiki, let go!" the male hissed as his senses were suddenly overrun with the bright gleam of sunshine and contrasting cool bite of the wind.

"Just what are you doing Ishida?" the smaller of the two answered back with hard tone.

"I should be asking you that." was the even reply. Ishida took the next moment to give his surroundings a quick studious glance. They were outside on the roof of the school. He had only been on the roof once, and that had been when Ichigo had insisted on him eating lunch with him and his friends. The place was empty now though.

"What do you plan to do with Ichigo?"

"Wha-What, excuse me!?" the bespectacled teen snapped a bit too quickly and crossed his arms. "I don't know what you're talking about, Kuchiki, but there's..." his face had pulled into a tighter frown.

"Oh shut up! I know there is something... I don't want the details, but you need to get off your ass and work it out with Ichigo." she didn't seem to be in the mood to argue or discuss things in the least.

Ishida returned her glare "We're not friends, so it's fine to have some animosity between us." he took the short pause that passed to walk several feet ahead closer to the chain link fence that surrounded the rooftop. He turned back around to offer Rukia a level stare. "Is that it then?"

"You've fought together on more than one occasion. You'll only look like an idiot if you think saying 'we're not friends' is enough at this point." was her low answer as she stomped closer toward the male.

"I don't care what happens with Kurosaki." was the icy answer.

"Not at all? What, it has nothing to do with you, is that it? If you did something to depress him to the point he's locked himself up in his room, you can still confidently claim it has nothing to do with you?"

"I didn't say that... but it's not my fault." Ishida had turned his back to the other at this point.

"Not your fault? You're probably right about that... but are you going to be okay with things left as they are? Don't you still want to beat Ichigo at all? If you've taken his will to fight, do you care then? Does it not have anything to do with you? What if he loses the will to live? What if-"

"Kurosaki isn't that weak!" the Quincy yelled, his voice much too loud for even his own ears. "He won't give up because of something stupid like... like that. You're being too talkative, Kuchiki and nosey and dramatic."

"Dramatic? It's weird for you to be the one saying that." her voice was a sharp hiss as she spoke.

Before Ishida could offer his answer the bell chimed to signal the start of class.

"I need to get to class." Ishida stated after a short moment of silence after the bell quieted.

"Wait." Rukia barked and grabbed his arm. "Is that it then? You don't care if Ichigo... what if he is that weak? What if it isn't something he can over come? What Ishida? What if Ichigo is weaker than you think? You want to beat him don't you? Don't you?"

"Kuch-" she continued ignoring his attempt to speak, "You say you aren't friends but until just a short while ago you were both getting along. You ate lunch together everyday! You hung out with him and his group of friends... I get it that you're upset that he raped you bu-"

"Kuchiki!" Ishida yelled, cutting her off sharply. His cheeks burned dark red with what could on be humiliation. "I thought you didn't want the details... but you already... Listen if you already know that much then it should be clear as to why I hate him. I don't care what happens to him! He was the one who... he put this on himself. I can't be expected to run to him and apologize under these circumstances. He raped me!"

As his own words sunk in Ishida's face burned a darker red in humiliation.

"But aren't you in love with him now?"

"...what?"

"He raped you, so now you're in love with him... right?" she explained, this time there was a sinister glint in her eye that set Ishida on edge.

"No! Why the hell-"

"Do you need to live with him for a few months, let him forcefully do it several times so you can realize it after he protects you from some bastard?"

"...what?"

"When you first saw him, did you get this tingly feeling that you mistake for hate so instead of 'love at first sight' it was 'hate at first sight' but you're only actually confused about you're feelings?"

"How the hell..."

"Or is it that..."

"Kuchiki! I don't understand anything you're saying! Please make an effort to make sense to the people your talking to!"

"BL manga." said girl stated simply as she held out a book for the other to see.

"...what?"

"Since you and Ichigo are like that, I decided to do some research."

Ishida's face paled. "Research?"

"Yes, research." she confirmed confidently.

"On what!?" the male yelled.

"Boy's love." was the simply stated answer as she offered the book to him.

Shakily he took it, taking in a deep breath cautiously. With his teeth biting down onto his bottom lip he opened the book slowly. Inside, on the first page, was handsome light haired man groping a much more slim and feminine male with black hair. The dark haired male's face was contorted in embarrassment as the larger lighter haired male caressed his naked chest lovingly.

The book made a 'snap' sound as it was closed with more speed and power than necessary.

"Kuchiki..." he started in low deadly voice, turning his attention to the short female. His eyes were narrow boiling cobalt slits.

"Oh, shut up and keep looking at it! Don't just stop on the first page!" she answered in a monotonous voice that only seemed to further anger the other.

"I don't have any interest in reading any further in... this." he bit out coldly. He waved the book toward her for emphasis.

She groaned irritably "I swear, you and Ichigo are so damn stubborn... I'm not asking you to read the book just..." she stomped over to the Quincy and snatched the book from his loose grip. She reopened the book to a page closer to the back and shoved it in Ishida's face. "...look!" she demanded.

He couldn't make out the contents, though he was quite sure he would rather not see them at all, so he steped back so the pages were in focus. His jaw dropped open as his narrowed sapphire eyes mimicked the motion by widening to their full extent. "The hell?!" he exclaimed.

On the pages that lay only a few inches from his face was the same two boys he had seen on the colorless front page. In the scene the smaller of the two was naked and bent over with his bottom in the air. He was crying with his cheeks flushed brightly as he begged for the larger man to stop. The larger of the two was still fully clothed with only his pants lowered slightly on his hips so his...

Ishida's eyes snapped from the book as both hands slapped over his face to cover anything more he might see. "Wha-wha... what...?" he whimpered softly, whatever meaning his words held was lost.

"Don't just..." Rukia sighed deeply and shook her head before continuing. "Look, Itsuji is Kyuun's sempai... after a rocky start they became good friends, not long after Kyuun realizes that he's in love with his sempai and so when he goes to confess..." she paused "Ishida are you listening?" she only shrugged when she received no answer. "When Kyuun goes to confess he sees his sempai with a girl, Kyuun is upset and later claims he hates Itsuji. Itsuji-sempai is upset by this because he had also developed feelings for Kyuun and tried to explain that the girl was an ex and he had been in the process of turning down her offer to 'try again'. Kyuun won't listen though and so... Itsuji 'rapes' him."

After Rukia's explanation it grew disturbingly quiet. Several minutes passed in silence before Ishida broke it with a soft barely audible "Then..?"

A light smirk played on the girl's lips "Then, during the sex, Itsuji tells him he loves him and that if he wouldn't understand that then he would continue to show him - with his body - until he did. Kyuun then... Look." she pulled the book back open to show him another page. He didn't budge. "Damn it, look!"

With a sigh Ishida pulled his hands away from his face and looked. One the new pages the same smaller boy, Kyuun, was crying as he hugged the larger one, Itsuji, and expressed out sorry he was and that how he had only been upset at the thought of loosing the one he loved. The two then proceeded to kiss and...

Ishida looked away again. "B-BL manga has a lot of... " he paused and cleared his throat awkwardly "This is what got all of this started, you know, your manga."

"Don't blame my manga for your and Ichigo's problems." she stated levelly.

"It was because you showed Kurosaki some manga that he started thinking I like him!" Ishida answered stiffly.

"Don't you?"

"No!"

Rukia sighed.

Ishida sighed softly in return and shook his head "Look, Kuchiki, I don't think this conversation will get us any further. My feelings aren't going to magically change because you show me some manga. I'm not an idiot like Kurosaki." It would seem his resolve was made up and there wasn't any changing it.

Rukia let a short silence pass, in which Uryuu assumed she was processing his words. "I feel sorry for Ichigo." she finally stated with a sigh.

Ishida's eye twitched he knew he would regret it but he asked "Should I bother asking why?"

"You, your a real hard ass." was the answer.

"Is that it? I'm leaving..." the now more than just mildly irritated male hissed and turned to do just as he said.

"I'm going to tell Orihime it's okay then, he's free, and that you don't return Ichigo's feelings. So she's going to confess."

"What?!" Ishida whirled back around to look at the serious girl with wide sapphire eyes.

"Orihime's held a crush on Ichigo for a while, but when I told her-"

"You told Inoue!?"

"Yes, although she likes Ichigo, when she heard he likes you she was actually quite happy. She seems to be a B-"

"You told Inoue!? Who the hell else did you tell?" the normally calm Quincy yelled.

"I told her I would talk to you, if you didn't return Ichigo's feelings I'd give her the go ahead."

"...go ahead?" the male questioned after a moment of silence. He attempted to let everything sink in, however when it failed to do so near quickly enough he went back to yelling. "What the hell are you talking about Kuchiki? If Inoue likes Ichigo and wants to confess that is their concern. I am not involved in the least. As a matter of fact, it would be better if Inoue did confess and Ichigo realize that he likes her and not me.. so we can end whatever this is." his voice lowered unsteadily with each word. He pushed the glasses back up the bridge of his nose before turning back around to leave.

"It is better that way, isn't it, since two men aren't meant to be in a relationship to begin with. It's impossible. You two couldn't be in love, it's unheard of." Rukia stated curtly. The sudden sharpness in not only the words meaning but how she spoke them stung Ishida. "Excuse me, I was mistaken." she passed the sapphire eyed teen quickly, prepared to leave but paused to hiss one last thing.

"I'll make sure Ichigo doesn't pursue you any further, as a matter of a fact... I think it would be best to drop all contact with each other. Even a friendship with you seems to be impossible, so I guess I'm saying, stay away from Ichigo!" with that the short female left Ishida to himself.

Several minutes passed as he didn't move but only stared after her. Stay away from Ichigo?

"Fine, I much prefer it that way, I don't want to be involved with you Shingami anyway. It's for the best." he nodded curtly before following Rukia's example and leaving the roof.

I hate you, I don't love you!

The bespectacled teen threw his bag down and sat haughtily on his bed; his back was strait as he stared at the door he had just stormed through a moment earlier. His eyes were slits of ice. The uniform he wore was soaked as was his raven hair, school bag and ever inch of his being. He didn't seem to care, even as the icy water quickly began soaking his sheets beneath him.

It had been a few days since he had spoke with Rukia and Ichigo had returned to school the day after so everything was back to normal, for the most part.

Upon his return to school the orange haired substitute shinigami was yet to speak a word or acknowledge Uryuu in the least. Ichigo had returned to school and continued where he had seemed to have left off before the whole events with Uryuu. He chatted with his friends, ignored Keigo's desperate attempts for them to hang out at here or there. No Hollows had attacked for several days so there was no need for him to battle at the moment. So for the last few days both Ichigo and Ishida lived the lives of relatively normal teenagers.

However it wasn't nearly sufficient for Ishida. He felt restless, extremely so.

To have everything that had happened to just suddenly end didn't seem right no matter how long he spent thinking about it. He wouldn't say he was brooding but only pondering. His pale brow furrowed further as he continued to stare at the door to his room.

It had all ended with the simple phrase 'stay away from Ichigo'. It wasn't as if he was obeying Rukia's order but he had planned to keep his distance from the substitute shinigami regardless. Apparently Rukia was able to keep up her end as well, since Ichigo seemed intent on ignoring his presence completely now.

The whole thing left a horrible taste in his mouth; he had been forced into such a situation against his will then just as suddenly as it seemed to have started it was stopped by the very person that had started it to begin with - Rukia. So he could help but think that the female shinigami was the one pulling the strings the entire time. Perhaps she was bored and needed some form of entertainment so she decided to create a bit of drama? Then when things got out of hand she decided to call it quits and end it before it got any worst off. Or maybe it hadn't ended yet, maybe he was still pulling them along in some attempts to entertain herself…

Ishida didn't know and it pissed him off, although he did feel a bit guilty for pushing all the blame on to the raven haired girl.

He admitted he was a bit irritated by everything that had happened recently and that irritation had only been mounting up since he spoke with Rukia and Ichigo returned to school. However it wasn't until the current day that he had really sat down to think it all over because he had been pushing it off in hopes that it would simply fade away and he could live peacefully after forgetting it complete.

Of course it wouldn't work like that.

It couldn't work like that. Not when Ichigo was so… normal now but so different at the same time. He carried on with his normal life easily enough, but it wasn't completely normal in that he - Ishida - had been completely excluded. It was as if Ichigo had went back in time, acting like he did before the two of them met. Ishida knew this not to be true though because he had seen Ichigo, on more than one occasion, stealing glances at him.

That was the only attention he was offered though, from Ichigo those mysterious glances were the only link to him being a living person that actually existed in the same world.

Long thin fingers curled to rest against Ishida's pale thin chin as the teen focused his mind fully on the orange haired man. He didn't desire Ichigo's attention but it was annoying to be treated as if he didn't exist with only little glances for hints that he was recognized.

"Hate me or love me, ignore me or pine after me… do one or the other, damn it!" he hissed and turned his sapphire glare downward onto the floor. "You can't have it both ways!" distantly he realized he was talking to himself, both literally and not. It wasn't that the words were specifically directed at himself or Ichigo but he knew that he was similar in that he also couldn't decide on just which he wanted from the man.

He wasn't particularly fond of the idea of being ignored but it wasn't as if he wanted Ichigo chasing after him either. Although the thought that someone was clearly interested in him in such a way made his heart beat faster in anxiousness. Even if that person was Kurosaki Ichigo, a shinigami.

Not even a few hours ago and Ishida had witnessed just how weird their now nonexistent relationship was.

It was raining again, the sky was dark with storm clouds that pours the icy rain down onto the earth. Yet again Ishida found himself hurrying for shelter in freezing downpour, unfortunately there didn't seem to be any near. The only possible places were inside shops where he knew the shopkeepers were waiting to try and push merchandise off onto unsuspecting people that only planned to enter for shelter.

He already had a pounding headache from unwillingly listening to Keigo pester Ichigo all day about wanting to hang out after school. It wasn't that Ishida had been included in the group, no, he had been just sitting off to the side at his assigned desk minding his own business - aside from keying an ear in to listen to Ichigo's group or specifically anyone who spoke to the orange haired teen. One might call it eavesdropping but Ishida himself would only deny it.

It was the very teen that had wormed his way into his mind that was now before him, Keigo. The whole 'Ichigo group' was there; from Keigo to Ichigo himself. They had found themselves shelter under the only awning in front of some clothing shop. Of course with the luck that Ishida found himself having lately the awning was in fact on his side of the street and so stood directly in front of him to the point that he had little options to avoid it.

He either walked across the street, illegally, not that he planned to do something so obvious even if the group hadn't seen him yet. He could stand there, in that spot and hope they ignored him if they saw him until they left. He could turn around and hope to find a new route home. Or lastly he could opt to find a temporary residence in another shop nearby before one of them do notice him, not that they were likely to with how things had been recently.

He chose the last option, but was halted in his turning into the next-door jewelry shop but chocolate eyes meeting with his own sapphire ones behind his dampening lenses. Ichigo stared at him in silence with Keigo at his side rambling away about something no one seemed to be listening to.

Maybe if he hadn't spent so much time back in school cleaning up he could have outran the storm, or a least the group before him?

Ishida's lips pulled down into a deeper frown as something seemed to lighten his chocolate gaze, some emotion flickering through them that Ishida couldn't name. However the eyes contact was broken as suddenly as it had began by the orange haired teen as another voice cut through Keigo's sharply.

"Oh wow, we've gotten so much rain lately, I wonder it will ever stop?" a quick glance by both Ichigo and Ishida confirmed that it was in fact Rukia that had spoken. Neither let their eyes linger on the short girl and looked away quickly. Ichigo's eyes found their way to a corner of the awning he was under, watching the rain that gathered and dripped off there. Ishida's eyes watched Ichigo watching the rain with more interest that he thought deserving.

Suddenly Ishida felt something within him snap. What did Ichigo and Rukia think he would castrate himself right here and now before them all? Did they really think he would bow and humiliate himself any further in front of the shinigami?

His jaw clenched tightly as his teeth ground together and he fought back spewing insults at all teens present.

He hated them, he hated them all to unbelievable measures.

He hated Keigo's loud obnoxious mouth. He hated Tatsuki for yelling at him when he got out of control. He hated Chad for his silence. He hated Koima for not being involved. He hated Ruika for interfering in his life and messing with his head. He hated Ichigo for being Ichigo.

He hated Orihime for loving Ichigo.

With new rage, unlike he would have thought possible he stomped forward and under the awning as well, but he didn't plan to stay he was only passing through. He didn't care that he bumped a few of the teens with his shoulder as he stormed through.

Orihime let out a startled gasp as she swayed from the bump but it wasn't nearly enough to knock her over so she only giggled after she had reclaimed her shaking footing. "Oh, Ishida-kun! You can wait here with us for the-"

"Don't loiter in such a troublesome place." the Quincy cut her off with a sharp voice that was like ice. He knew he was receiving angered glares from most the group but he didn't care. No, he relished in it. He wanted them to glare, to seethe with anger like his own.

"Hey, you don't have to be like that about it, she was trying to be nice ya know!" he didn't turn around to see who it was speaking, but it was clearly a female voice but it didn't belong to Orihime or Rukia. He could hear murmured agreements for the ones that didn't wish to speak up like her.

He planned to turn around and snap back but another voice spoke, one that was too familiar. "You alright, Inoue? Keep out of the rain or you'll end up sick, we wouldn't want that.. Right?" Ichigo asked in a gentle voice that expressed more kindness that Ishida remembered hearing from him, even when he had said… those words.

Ishida stormed off without another word, not caring about the freezing rain one bit as he made his way home.

It had been those short moments that he had spent with the group, speaking his first words to them in what seemed like a long time, that had brought about his somber mood set now as he sat still drenched in icy rain water on his bed. He knew, somewhere deep inside himself, that his dark mood was silly. Pointless. He really shouldn't be getting so upset over such things. He hated the group, he didn't wish to be included, he didn't wish to be wanted, and he didn't wish for them to show him kindness.

With a long heavy sigh Ishida offered the floor he had been staring at for several moments now one last long icy stare before climbing to his feet, he noted his toes had gone numb, and walked stiffly to the bathroom. He had half expected Ichigo to show on either his doorstep or at his window after the ice he had shown the group but he had been home for about and hour and no one had came.

In a way he found he was grateful but he also felt some other stirring emotion that he refused to pry into in fear he might not want the answer.

He slipped into the dark bathroom and flipped on the light switch, he noted at that point his fingers had also gone numb. He shuffled further into the room and nudged the door closed behind him, not taking any measures to ensure the door's security.

The soaked uniform took him much longer than it should have to peel off but when he did get it off the responding shiver that ran down his spine was well placed. His body was freezing, every inch of skin felt like ice and much of it was now covered in gooseflesh. His rubbed the chilled bumps on his arms in an attempt to make them go away as well as warm his body a bit. It didn't help much so he moved on to bathe like he had been intending to do, only pausing to removed his glasses.

He slid open the door that concealed the towel closet and snatched one up just to toss it back down onto a rack near the bath.

The following moments were mechanical as he moved to sit on the stool near the bath and used the sprayer to dampen his cold skin. He flinched as he was first drenched with more icy water until it slowly began heating to a warm spray. He felt a bit shaky and dizzy at the sudden temperature change but he managed well enough. It wasn't until his body began heating with the water that he let his mind focus a bit more on the tasks he was doing, bathing.

He grabbed the soap but only stared at it for several silent moments before his fingers slackened enough around it to let it drop with a resounding thud on the tiled floor. He watched it slide across the floor with half lidded eyes. Slowly, with the grace of a blind two legged cat he slid to his knees on the cold tiled floor and followed after the escaped soap. He picked it up with shivering hands and sat on floor fully, bringing his knees up to his chest as he ignored what felt like ice on his bare bottom.

He didn't hate them. None of them; not Ichigo, not Rukia, not Chad, not Keigo - well maybe a bit, he was too annoying at times, not Kojima, not Tatsuki, and certainly not Orihime.

What he hated most was himself, his own negative reactions to their kindness as well as his fear to except their kindness.

He couldn't hate them.

"I'm a coward." he mumbled under his breath and looked down at the soap he held. His long pale fingers almost matched the white soap's color as they trembled against it.

It took him approximately half an hour to pull himself together enough to finish with his bathing before he could settle into the hot bath waiting for him. His head lolled to the side after he sank into the steaming water with a quiet whimper of unease. The pale forehead met with the side of the tub as he closed his eyes and breathed deeply in hopes to return himself to a more normal state.

The tub was cool against his head and for that he was thankful. His head was throbbing from what he assumed to be the headache he had earlier so he made a note to find some meds for it when he finished bathing.

Another half hour later, or at least that's what he assumed the length to be, after the hot water in the tub had cooled he climbed out and wrapped a white towel around his thin hips. He grabbed a second towel shakily on his way out of the bathroom to drape on his damp head. He patted the wet raven hair a few times before shaking the towel onto his neck and headed to his bedroom.

He stopped, one hand holding the towel around his hips and the second holding a portion of the one around his neck to his cheek to dab gingerly at the flushed skin. The bath had warmed his body but didn't seem to be taking it long to cool again, except his head - it remained feverishly hot. If it wasn't for the sudden distraction he would have contemplated the possibilities of a fever starting.

"Hey." apparently Ichigo wasn't aware, but some people considered entering one's home without permission to be rude and it could be even considered a felony in some places. However Ishida dismissed all this after noting that the man had at least decided to keep himself limited to the wooden floor that made up the entrance to his home. So it wasn't actually much to trouble oneself with at all.

"The do-" he stopped mid-word as he caught full sight of the archer that stood nearly naked in front of him. His jaw loosened from the set tension it had been in to hang open in shock. Bright rosy colors quickly blossomed on his cheek as he stared at the thin damp and barely concealed man before him.

Ishida's expression shifted to resemble Ichigo's in both the shock and embarrassment only a bit more controlled. He only hoped that the flush he knew now covered his face, ears, and likely neck and shoulders could be blamed on the bath he had just come from. "K-Kurosaki…" the raven haired male managed to mumble in a weak voice.

Ichigo's reaction was quick; he snapped his head to the side so quickly Ishida was sure he'd end up with whiplash. Luckily it didn't seem that way as the man spoke, covering the bottom half of his face and turning his entire body away from the Quincy. "Th-the hell Ishida? Don't walk around naked!" he snapped, though his voice was even weaker than the other's so Ishida found no venom in his urgently hissed words.

"I… just got out of the bath." was the nearly naked man's clever retort. For what he was sure for the first time in his life, he didn't care that his response wasn't actually witty, clever, or even not completely pointless sounding to his own ears. He was fairly glad Ichigo chose not to comment that. His heart was pounding, pounding painfully hard. His mind, blank with shock until he finally spoke, began spinning as he tried to concentrate on just why Ichigo was here.

It was then he remembered his earlier run in with him and his little group.

So Ichigo had finally come to scold him for being mean to his precious Inoue?

Ishida nearly choked on the air he had just brought into his lungs as he noted the almost jealous pang he felt at the thought of 'Ichigo's precious Inoue'. He had been an ass to her, Ishida knew it, and all she had tried was to be nice. However a part of him also argued that she knew Ichigo like him and yet she wanted to invite him to stay with their group when she was likely now making her moves on him?

What did Ichigo already move on to her? Had she taken him into her arms to consol him when he learned that a relationship with the man he loved was impossible? Did he see that she had so many things that Ishida lacked; that she was kind, she was loving, that she was gentle, warm, soft and clearly female?

Ishida moved the hand that had held the towel around his neck to his cheek in favor of doing his usual gesture when made nervous, adjusting his glasses. However they weren't there and it was then that he noted how much more blurry things were without the spectacles clearing his poor vision.

"Are you trying to…" Ichigo spoke, dragging the thinner male out of his thoughts about his glasses and how he was suddenly feeling extremely self-conscious without them. The orange haired man made a strange half groan half whine like sound in the back of his throat before continuing. "Just what the hell are you trying to do to me Ishida?!" he sounded almost desperate.

Ishida wasn't too sure what he meant, his features were twisted into some expression he couldn't read without the aid of his glasses. With his sight in the current blurred state it was it looked like the substitute shinigami was either scowling, grimacing, or something of the like. Either way, he knew it wasn't pleasant.

The nearly naked man felt his body shudder at the thought. He really didn't want to end up in a fight, not like this. Even if only words were used, he didn't feel nearly up to it at the moment. His thin shaking hand lifted the towel still hanging loosely around his neck to his cheek before moving higher to cover most of his features in hopes to shield himself from any attacks. All he could really do was hope the anger and fight wasn't too serious and hope that his naked eyes didn't portray just how shaken up he was. "I-I… I d-didn't do anything to you." after he had said it the Quincy thought over the statement again. It wasn't true, he had likely hurt one of Ichigo's important people. He was undoubtedly pissed.

He opened his mouth to apologize, but stopped as the jealous pang from before struck his heart again and he felt his whole body quiver in response. With much difficulty he managed to remain standing and only swayed a bit on his feet.

Ichigo offered him a look that to Ishida's blurred vision appeared to be mocking. The taller man didn't leave the shorter one much time to react to the mockery before he slid out of his shoes and stepped up into the room with Ishida. He closed the distance between them quickly. "Ishida…" he spoke softly, his voice sounding like it could break at any moment.

The teen whose name was spoken looked up at the taller man, his body shifting backward to create more distance between them. He knew his eyes were likely hold all his emotions; nervousness, anxiety, worry, concern, jealousy, longing, loneliness, and desire to be held to be loved as Ichigo had offered him but Ishida couldn't bring himself to look away or try and hide the emotions from him. However it wasn't his eyes that held Ichigo's gaze, so he missed all these raw emotions that spoke louder thoughts than anything Ishida can ever use with actual vocalized words. Ichigo's eyes stayed carefully trained on a nearby wall, his features twisted into something Ishida couldn't place no matter how long he stared - and he did stare, long and hard.

"I'm sorry." the look that took over the archer's features was shock, as he tilted his head slightly in confusion. His lips pressed into a thin line as he was indomitable in not interrupting the man, even if he felt he should be the one apologizing.

The substitute shinigami paused to removed his uniform jacket and pulled it around the nearly naked male's shoulders. "You'll catch a cold like that." he muttered under his breath, his chocolate gaze still refusing to look at the man he spoke to. Ishida couldn't help but feel both irritated and relieved at the lack of eye contact.

What seemed like an unbearable amount of time passed in silence until Ishida took it upon himself to urge Ichigo to speak again. "Why are you sorry?" his voice was low and each word was uttered slow and carefully.

He took a deep breath, blurred vision be damned, but Ishida could clearly make out the expression on the handsome features of the shinigami Ishida had finally decided to trust and befriend.

Ishida was tired of running, of hiding and of pushing people away, specifically Ichigo. He knew he could trust him, and couldn't help but think that maybe being friends - if not more in time - wasn't impossible. He wanted to be included in his group of people he cared for. He wanted to be wanted by them, to be shown kindness. It was exactly what he wanted, what he needed and he didn't fear it anymore. Well perhaps he was a bit shaky about it but he refused to run anymore.

If Ichigo loved him and wished to pursue him then he would take him seriously and consider it carefully. He wouldn't use excuses like 'I'm a Quincy and you're a shinigami' or 'we're both men' as excuses anymore but would consider it solely on his own feelings for Ichigo himself as a person. Not a shinigami and not a man, but for who Ichigo was. The kind yet brash, the idiotic yet ingenious, the loving yet strong dolt he was.

Ishida smiled gently as he realized just how impossible it was to hate Ichigo for being Ichigo. He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by the very man he was about to confess his thoughts to.

"I… won't pursue you anymore. I'll leave you alone like you want. I'm sorry because, I was cruel and inconsiderate of your feelings." he stepped back as he paused and Ishida grasped at the jacket that had been left on his thin shoulders as he once more attempted to speak but was cut off again. "I'm sorry for raping you, for forcing everything on you… but mostly I'm sorry for lying to you."

The words that were on the Quincy's lips were something like 'No, Ichigo, I understand… I don't hate you. I want to be close to you, to be friends, to get to know you better everyday. Please, don't give up on me. I think I can fall in love with you… it's not impossible.' but he stopped himself when Ichigo mentioned lying to let him continue.

When Ichigo did finish his thought however Ishida wished he would have stopped him by any means possible. Kicking him in the groin? Yelling, begging, confessing his true feelings, asking how a Mohawk would look on him, slapping him silly or even kissing him silly. Anything to stop those heart breaking words.

"I'm, not in love with you. I thought I was but, I'm not. It's stupid, I'm stupid for it. I made a mistake, so just forget that. I really did think I was in love with you, but I'm not. I'm really not. It's so stupid, stupid to think something like that is possible. It's unnatural and weird. I don't know what I was thinking but apparently I was.. I don't know, it was just psychical. It's kinda sick but I only wanted sex." Ichigo rambled on for several minutes, stumbling over his words.

Ishida didn't move, his breath shallow as he tried to fully register everything that was said and ended up wishing he didn't. He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts he only half realized Ichigo was leaving.

"Bye, Ishida, I won't bother you anymore." the door thumped closed behind him as Ichigo left the archer to collapse in a wide eyed, silent, half naked crumpled mess on the floor. The words Ichigo had spoke fresh in his mind repeated continuously.

Ichigo didn't love, he had never loved him and had only been after sex. He had been late but Ichigo had realized this and now…

Now Ishida wasn't needed.

Moments ticked by before Ishida suddenly stood he walked purposely toward the bathroom he had just been in a short while ago and found his glasses. He returned them to their rightful place on his face and quickly made his way back to his bedroom.

Stoic sapphire eyes glared at the clothes in his closet as he found himself something to wear and dumped the now offending jacket that had been loaned to him into the floor of the closet to be left and forgotten about. He turned to stomp back over to the bed and quickly dressed himself in the simple button down short sleeved shirt and dark pants. He only half noted the damp bandages which he had completely forgotten on his hands and arm that he still sported from so long ago and needed to change. He ignored them and stomped over to the door ready to leave but hesitated.

I'm, not in with love you.

How many times did he say it? Half a dozen times, not worded the same but with words that meant the same. How many times did he usher in the word 'stupid'? Four. So just how many times did he insult Ishida in those moments? A life time's worth.

Ishida regretted many things; he regretted being cruel to Inoue earlier, he regretted letting Ichigo speak first, he regretted not speaking his own feeling loud and clearly the second he was able, he regretted ever telling Ichigo he hated him, he regretted not being his friend, he regretted lying about his feelings, he regretting letting himself be lied to and believing it, he regretted letting himself be used then thrown aside by the only person that had claimed to love him, but most of all he regretted not hating Kurosaki Ichigo.

It was in this mind set that Ishida decided to go pay the substitute shinigami a visit at his home. He turned to his desk, deciding to first change his bandages then go have a long heat to heart with the bastard.

He stopped, a frown marring his feature even further than the icy sneer that had graced it a moment earlier. His sapphire eyes blinked confusedly before he stepped over to examine the small piece of paper that had caught his attention. On the surface was a poorly drawn bunny that he could only assume was meant to look cute. A speech bubble was drawn near the bunny to make it seem like it was speaking. The writing read:

Ishida,

Ichigo's an idiot and a liar.

Take care.

The Quincy tilted his head as he read the short note several times. It was obviously a girls writing and only girls knew about the situation between them; Rukia and Orihime. It didn't take him another second to eliminate Orihime and assume Rukia had written it. But why?

He shook his head with a sigh, apparently she wasn't done meddling. At least the note had calmed him down a bit and made him think a bit more carefully about things. He would see Ichigo at school the next day so he could confront him then. Until then he needed to finish some projects and calm his wired nerves so he could think through exactly what he planned to say.

First he redressed his bandages and sat down at his desk to pull out his sewing supplies so he could get to work on the things that needed to be done. However he noted not a second after that he was out of a certain thread he needed so he found himself leaving the house regardless. It didn't take him long to reach the shop he liked to buy his supplies from and purchase the thread, and a few other items he thought he would need. It was on his walk back home he felt a spike in reiatsu and what he knew to be shinigami nearby.

Without a second thought he headed in that direction. What he saw upon reaching the area disconcerted him greatly.

Rukia was being attacked by a pair of shinigami, their usual black clad forms undeniable. One black figure was topped with a crimson splash that seemed more mahogany in the dark night that what Ishida was sure it usually was. It was the figure with the red hair that seemed to be currently ready to assault the smaller shinigami. The other assailant had hair similar to both Rukia and Ishida himself.

The Quincy felt a bit guilty for the moment of hesitation he felt when he thought about how irritated he was with the female shinigami because of her meddling and how he could continue on by as if he saw nothing.

He didn't though, he couldn't.

Without another the thought the archer pulled his arm up to aim an attack at the red haired black figure attacking Rukia. The red head noted the attack the second before it happened and moved his head back so Ishida's attack narrowly missed it's mark. However it served it's purpose; alerting them all of his presence as he then walked toward them and spoke "A man with a weapon attacking an unarmed woman?" he stopped when he deemed himself close enough. "This isn't a good scene to walk in on…" He adjusted his glasses.


I hate you, I don't love you!


He could feel the hot puddle of blood that was seeping from his wound. He wasn't too sure how bad it was but his body hurt and he found it impossible to move. Distantly he remembered the fight wasn't over, his opponent was out for more than blood he wanted to take his life. He coughed painfully, the mortification of the situation more painful than the actual wound to his body. Hazy sapphire eyes blinked and turned up to look at the attacker with blurred vision.

He heard the voice annoyingly clear "Remember this before you die. Abaraii Renji, this is the name of the man that will kill you!" the red head, Renji, sneered in a rough voice as he held his blade high even if Ishida couldn't clearly see it. "Remember it well!" he yelled and brought it down toward the Quincy.

Ishida foggily noted that something interrupted him from landing his final blow. He had a fair idea of to who as he felt the reiatsu rippling off the man in suffocating waves. It was a bit much for Ishida; not only because of his weakened state physically but his emotional mind set. The battle had helped clear his mind a bit but the familiarity trigger a tightening in his chest.

Renji said something but the injured raven haired teen didn't catch it because his mind was reeling by the man that had just broken his heart had reappeared to save his life. No, that wasn't completely true, he was likely here for Rukia. He had only inadvertently saved Ishida as well.

Another pang stung his chest as he realized just how impossible it was. The gap between them was too great.

Ishida's assumption on who it was that had interrupted his oncoming demise was proved true as the man spoke himself "Kurosaki Ichigo, the one that will defeat you! Remember it well!"

The tightening in his chest was unbearable now, but he refused to let the emotional turmoil display on his features for all the surrounding shinigami to witness. Not that any eyes were on him any longer as they all focus on the fight that was about to begin between Ichigo and Renji. His sapphire gaze hardened a bit as he tilted his head to look up at the battle as well.

They were talking about Ichigo's sword as smoke billowed around his feet. The ground had taken an ample amount of damage from the attack so a lot of rubble rested at Ichigo's feet as he stood with his usual look on his face and sword braced on his shoulders. He stood not too far off from Ishida as the injured teen could only watch half consciously. His vision burring then blackening out before fading in again several times.

He considered letting unconsciousness take him. Even if he wanted to give Ichigo a tongue lashing or if he wanted to pummel him himself for everything. Or if he wanted to throw his arms around him and sob into his chest, asking him to not leave him and to keep loving him.

Not that Ishida would ever consider doing that last one.

No, he had his pride - what little hadn't been trampled yet - to uphold.

Ishida was startled from his wavering consciousness by the red head shinigami, Renji, yelling something like "You're dead!" at whom he assumed to be Ichigo. He could hear their swords clashing as the actual fight began just after what he foggily remembered to be a short conversation about Rukia. He strained himself to turn and watch the fight just as Ichigo was being forced to hold a defensive stance.

Renji continued yelling something Ishida wasn't listening to before Ichigo decided it was time he changed to the offensive. He thrust his sword upward and swung it downward at the enemy shinigami. However the red head leaped out of the way without much difficulty and did a quick twist that let him strike Ichigo's shoulder.

The Quincy felt his stomach lurch painfully as blood sprayed openly from Ichigo's wounded should and the orange haired teen dropped to his knees. His chocolate colored eyes were wide with what Ishida could only assume to be horror as realizing the strength of his opponent. The horrified look only doubled when Renji spoke, Ishida only caught that it was something about Rukia again - she was who the shinigami had come here for after all.

Renji continued speaking in his loud gruff voice but Ishida ignored his words as he knew he was only degrading Ichigo. In the middle of Renji's long speech however Ichigo cut him of with a swipe of his sword directed at his face. At first Ishida had a swelling hope that it had cleaved the man's head in two, but it didn't and only nicked his chin.

It was Ichigo that took his turn to speak then, his voice was cocky as was the smirk on his features. "Oops, sorry.." the Quincy caught, he then proceeded with his own taunting with something about the red head talking and a scratch. Whatever it all was Ishida felt his body tremble and chest constrict painfully so he did the only thing he could and grasped at it with his thin arm. He felt it difficult to breath and not because of the wound.

Now was not the time to be in such a place and state; if he was here he didn't need to be like this or if he was like this he didn't need to be here. One or the other, he knew he had to pick one and knew he couldn't very well prance out of there in his condition. Therefore he had to get a hold of himself and calm his frazzled mind.

Ichigo didn't love him, everything that had happened was an… accident and so pointless to mull over any longer.

Ichigo saying he loved him was an accident?

Damn, hadn't he been fearing a fever earlier and now this, did he look for ways to condemn himself to pain and suffering limitlessly.

So Ichigo had made a mistake, thinking he was in love with him but only wanted him for sex. That was the end of it, there really wasn't a point in thinking over it any further. Ichigo didn't want him now, whatever relationship they had was over. He would stay away from Ichigo as he was told.

His teeth clenched in a sudden snap. What was he Rukia and Ichigo obedient pet now? What did he bend over with his legs spread when Ichigo demanded 'fuck', and come when Ichigo issued the command to do so as well? Then did he just fuck off and stay when told to do so as well?

A sudden spike in reiatsu had his mind snapping back to the fight before him, it was Renji. He had changed the form of his sword and was yelling again. He watched in horror as Ichigo was yet again attacked, only this one was much more brutal as the snake-like Zanpakutou's teeth ripped into him. The orange haired teen collapsed, dropping his own weapon on the ground.

Ishida wanted to scream 'Ichigo!' but his voice wouldn't come, his body trembled and he felt the world darken around him. He didn't lose consciousness though, he refused to black out completely while Ichigo was not only battling for his life.

Ichigo was strong, insanely strong Ishida knew this. He had seen it himself, close up with the Menose Grande. He had felt it when he had attempted to channel the energy through his own body.

Ichigo was also very willful and determined. Ishida witnessed this when in the next seconds Ichigo grasped his sword once again and forced himself to stand, ignoring the injuries.

Ichigo was kind. Ishida realized this when noting that it wasn't for his own life he was fighting.

The raven haired teen watched in horrified amazement as Ichigo attacked the tattooed red head ferociously. It was in that second that the Quincy realized he was not only strong, willful, kind but far out of his reach.

He could see it more clearly now. He had been given a chance; Ichigo had offered him his heart but Ishida had rejected him. Now Ichigo had realized how Ishida really was, he had seen his lack of worth and had changed his mind.

It wasn't only Ichigo, but all these people, they were clearly so much stronger than him. He had been easily shoved aside and forgotten. They had taken or given what they wanted and now had no use for the disgraced Quincy.


I hate you, I don't love you!


It was raining again.

There was blood covering the ground to be diluted by the rain. The weather seemed to fit the mood well as Ishida pulled himself up to his feet after having his shallow wound tended to by the man wearing a green stripped hat.

He sat up, his eyes trailing over to look at the mutilated body of Ichigo. Both conscious men stared at the bloodied form of the orange haired teen, each having their own expressions. One held worry concealed with an icy stare while the other's was concealed completely by his hat.

Ishida stood, he only half noted the man telling he should come with them to rest for a bit. He declined it with a shake of his wet raven head. His hand touched gingerly at his wound while his sapphire gaze fell on Ichigo again. Against his will his face contorted into a look that clearly portrayed his worry for the man.

"Thank you for tending to me." he spoke softly, not looking away from Ichigo's injured body. His eyes shimmered with their unease so he bowed his head slightly, so to hide his features from the other. "However, I am fine." his voice cracked a bit as he spoke the next words, his eyes finally trailing from Ichigo. "Instead… please treat Ichigo." he didn't care that he used 'Ichigo' instead of 'Kurosaki' like he knew he should have. His mind was too hazy. He was too shaken up to care about small things like that.

He wasn't sure what each feeling he felt was, his mind was a whir of emotion and turmoil that had his vision spinning before his concealed eyes. Moments passed as he tried to focus his mind on the things he needed to say.

Ichigo would be fine, he would be treated then would become even stronger - strong enough to beat those guys. Only Ichigo could…

Right now, there was more important things than his own feelings. As much as he wanted to forget everything and shake all the answers to his questions out of the unconscious man he couldn't right now.

He voiced those thoughts, limited to only what was needed to be voiced. "Right now, the only one that can beat those bastards… is not me." Ichigo needed to get up again to fight. Ishida was only wasting his time mulling over his feelings toward Ichigo and whatever relationship that no longer existed between them and he knew that.

His fist clenched as he thought back toward the girl that had been taken. He felt the blood seep through his bandages but it went ignored. Not only once had he thought less than kind thoughts about her and now she had been taken. The raven haired man felt unbelievably guilty.

She had probably not meant him harm by her actions; showing Ichigo the manga that had led him to believe he held such feeling toward him and forcing them to break off their relationship that Ishida had already refused and Ichigo had continued to insisted.

All their actions, everything, he didn't know what they meant or why they had did it. He was lost and knew he wouldn't get his answers any time soon but he had to focus on the things he did know.

Ichigo had to save Rukia.

Ishida didn't want any of them to suffer or die.

"Please heal Ichigo…" he whispered, knowing his voice shook slightly and that his emotions may have bled through a bit but he was satisfied that he was able to keep the desperation out of his voice. "The only one that can save Kuchiki, is him." distantly he wondered how Ichigo would be reacting to things if he were conscious now. He found that he was grateful that he wasn't.

To be continued…


A/N and Disclaimer:

Fluff: I kinda feel like I'm cheating, the word count includes everything, all my ramblings too…

Ishi: If you want a higher word count, write a longer chapter… idiot slacker!

Fluff: Slacker?! That's so cruel… I even writing an extra bit just for my readers.

Ishi: Then why did you type it?! Also… isn't all of this for your 'readers'. Your excuses suck.

Ichi: You made me a bastard!

Fluff: I write this because I love IchiIshi and support it wholeheartedly, also because I get the feeling of accom-

Ishi: In other words you want to pollute the internet with this…

Ichi: If Fluffy (that's also Ito, or ITOXYAOIcomplex which was Flufffangirl89 before) owned me or Bleach… I would have committed suicide a while ago.

Fluff: You both hate me now?

Ichi and Ishi: Yes!

Side notes?: Since this chapter seemed a bit lacking, I decided to do an extra bit for you guys, you can skip it if you like - it's not really part of the story so you won't get mixed up if you do. It's just a cute little IchiIshi tease bit. Also sorry for all my major failing and slow updating! (The extra will be posted as the next chapter, since that seems to be more convenient or something)

[Like updates makes readers happy, feedback makes writers happy!]