**Warning** Lemon following. Be warned.
"Would you STOP freaking out?" Ichigo shouted as he stormed into his bedroom, slamming the door back against the wall.
Rukia marched in behind him. She grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door shut. Luckily the rest of the family was away on a trip, so Rukia didn't have to worry about Ichigo's shouts waking them. The rest of the neighborhood, perhaps, but at least no one else in the house.
"I have every right to be freaking out. You could have gotten yourself killed," Rukia replied. She turned around to face him, hands on her hips. "You should be past making such mistakes. You got cocky and sloppy. What have you been training for all this time if not to keep yourself alive?"
Ichigo sputtered something incoherent before growling and turning away from the girl in front of him. Sometimes she made him so angry he could scream. "I haven't been training to keep myself alive, Rukia. I've been training so that I could keep everyone else alive."
Rukia grabbed his arm and spun him around to face her. "And how do you think you can do that if you can't even keep yourself alive, huh? If you lack discipline? You dying isn't going to protect the ones you love."
Ichigo stared down into Rukia's frustrated blue eyes and saw something he wasn't accustomed to seeing there.
Rukia turned away, refusing to meet his eyes.
"Why are you afraid? Are you worried that something will happen to me?"
Rukia didn't answer.
"You've never been worried before. What's changed?" Ichigo asked softly, as if he were afraid talking too loudly would cause her to run away.
She still wouldn't look at him. He watched as she slowly started to blush. Screaming and yelling was something he was prepared for. Hell, he expected yelling, and perhaps a little violence. Silence and blushing was a whole different story.
Ichigo moved closer, watching as Rukia, still refusing to meet his gaze, crossed her arms across her chest. He poked her shoulder. "Hey, are you going to talk to me?"
Rukia let out a huge sigh and turned her face away. What was she thinking? He didn't need to know how she felt about him. It was inconsequential and would only complicate both of their lives, regardless of whether or not he felt the same way. This same internal battle was one she had been fighting for some time now. Why was it that when she least expected it, these feelings would rear their ugly head? She had no idea what to say to him. Should she just come out with it, since the conversation had already begun? Or was there some way she could back track and get away without having to spill her guts?
Ichigo watched the thoughts flying across her face. If he could only read her mind, he'd be all set, he thought to himself. But there was one thing he could see plainly on her face without having to read her mind at all.
Was she afraid of him? Had the fact that he had Vizard powers, so close to a Hollow's, so close to being evil, finally become more than she could handle? Was his inner Hollow too much for her Shinigami sensibilities?
He had to know.
Ichigo moved forward, taking Rukia's chin in his hand and turning her face toward his. He fully expected her to shove him away angrily for this invasion of her personal space, but she just stood there with her eyes still turned away.
"Rukia, tell me. What are you afraid of?" he asked, more urgently than he had originally intended.
Rukia looked up at him, surprised at the tone in his voice. She hadn't realized his face was so close to hers and it caught her breath in her chest.
It was instinct. Or at least, that's what Ichigo would think later. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. He couldn't believe how soft she was. He was so accustomed to seeing her fighting one thing or another. He had never thought of her as soft in any aspect. But now, with his lips pressed to hers, his hand still on the smooth skin of her chin, he realized how wrong he'd been.
Rukia couldn't help but stiffen as he kissed her. She hadn't expected this. Ichigo was a lot of things but romantic wasn't one of them. How many times had she thought about what this moment would be like? And now, he had caught her so off guard that she couldn't even react.
Ichigo almost pulled away then, realizing that she wasn't returning the kiss. He thought for a moment that he'd been wrong, that all this time she hadn't felt the same way he did. Perhaps she really was just afraid of him, and not at the thought of his death. Just as he was about to pull away, he felt it. He felt the slight pressure of her returning the kiss.
His heart leapt into his throat. This was it. She really did have feelings for him. He kissed her harder, moving his hands to the back of her neck, tangling his fingers in her hair. Her hands, caught in between them, clenched the fabric of his haori, drawing him in closer.
She felt the moment when the kiss moved to something deeper, something more intense and probing, and she didn't hesitate to let him in. The voice screaming in her head that this was a bad idea was pushed to the back. If this kiss complicated everything, she would deal with it when the time came. As for now, she turned herself over to him and the sensations she never knew existed.
Ichigo wrapped his right arm around her tiny waist and pulled her body completely against his. He felt her gasp and tense, hesitating.
It was all he needed to second guess everything. She was still afraid of him.
Ichigo pulled out of the kiss and dropped to his knees, wrapping his arms around her waist and pressing his cheek to her chest. Rukia was so startled by this changing development that she wasn't sure just what to do. Her arms hung awkwardly in the empty air. She could feel him shaking and suddenly, she understood.
She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer to her, running her fingers through his soft hair. He needed to be reassured. When he asked her what she was afraid of, he'd meant to ask her if she were afraid of him.
"Ichigo," she said softly. When he didn't look up at her, she continued. "There are many things I'm afraid of. But you are not one of them."
Ichigo shut his eyes and took a deep breath. His ear was over her heart and he could hear how it raced in response to his proximity. Was it true? Was there really a chance that she wasn't afraid of him?
He was so immersed in these thoughts that it surprised him when she dropped to her knees as well. It must have shown on his face because there was a fierce determination in Rukia's eyes as she looked up at him.
"Ichigo," she said again, this time more forcefully. "I am NOT afraid of you."
And with these words, she leaned up and pressed her lips to his, wrapping her arms around his neck. Ichigo didn't need and more invitation than this. He pulled her against him, one hand in her hair, one hand pressed to her lower back.
It was as if she couldn't get close enough to him. No matter how hard she kissed him, no matter how close she pulled him to her, she couldn't get close enough. Her heart had broken at the thought of him so worried about her being afraid of him. Now she had to show him. She had to show him how much she loved him.
Ichigo couldn't get enough of her either. The taste of her lips was unlike anything he'd ever had, the feel of her body pressed against him was almost more than he could stand. He pulled away from her lips to kiss down the side of her jaw. She gasped, but this time in pleasure. She pushed her hands into the folds of his haori until she found the smooth skin of his chest.
He continued to kiss down the side of her jaw until he reached her ear. The feel of her warm hands hitting the skin of his chest took his breath away. He pulled her earlobe into his mouth, gently kissing and nibbling at it. She moaned softly and the sound sent a shock right through him. He had hoped he would have some effect on her, but he never dreamed it would be like this.
Rukia's hands froze, clenching his shoulders. She wanted so badly to push the cloth away altogether but was afraid he wouldn't want her to. As if he could hear her thoughts, Ichigo pulled his hands away from her long enough to shrug out of the haori and throw it to the side.
Rukia had seen Ichigo shirtless a number of times. Whether it had been for training reasons, or more often, because he had been injured and needed medical attention, the sight of his lean but sculpted chest had never really affected her before. But in this moment, with what felt like fire running through her body, it was all she could do not to run her fingers and mouth over every inch of him.
Ichigo leaned his head back and sighed at the feel of her lips kissing their way across his chest. His heart was pounding in his throat as he fought not to hold her too tightly. His hands gripped her shoulders as he groaned. He tilted his head forward and looked down at her only to see her eyes turn to his in the same moment, her lips still pressed to the skin over his heart. It was more than he could take.
Rukia relaxed into him as Ichigo wrapped his arms around her. She wasn't quite prepared for it when her back hit the floor, but she didn't resist. She felt so small in his arms, his weight pressing her lightly. It was as if he knew how heavy he was and that he couldn't put all of that weight on her. He leaned up on his elbows, one hand cradling the back of her neck and kissed her in earnest. She wrapped her arms around his bare back, marveling in the feel of tightly controlled muscle under his skin. Ichigo had always been slender. But the past few months had also strengthened what muscles he already had. The effect was subtle, but to someone who knew him as well as Rukia did, it was noticeable.
Ichigo pulled out of the kiss with a gasp as he felt her fingernails dig into his shoulder blades. The feeling wasn't unpleasant in the least and caused him to lean his hips forward involuntarily. Rukia gave a heavy sigh, her head tilted backward with her eyes closed. He paused for a moment to catch his breath. She noticed the pause and looked up at him with fire in her eyes. He knew he wasn't making a mistake. He leaned down and kissed the side of her neck again, this time trailing his way down to her collarbone. Her haori was in the way. He tugged at it, glancing up at her as if to ask permission.
Rukia answered by pushing him up so that he sat back on his heels. She sat up and undid the fastenings of the haori, pulling it off and tossing it near his on the floor. She was left sitting in a plain, white bra. There was no lace, no frills, only a clasp in the back. She took a deep breath and, still keeping her eyes locked to his, undid that clasp and let the article of clothing fall to the floor.
Ichigo immediately bridged the gap, wrapping his arms around her naked back and pressing her back to the floor. A sharp intake of breath made him realize that the floor must be cold. He quickly stood with her in his arms and looked to the bed.
The bed. If they ended up there, Rukia was sure of what would happen. Why was she suddenly hesitant? She had already committed herself to this. Ichigo needed her. He needed this physical reassurance because for whatever reason, verbal reassurance wasn't going to get through to him. It was in that moment she realized something else. He wasn't the only one who needed this reassurance. She needed him as badly as he needed her.
When she didn't protest, Ichigo pushed the blankets aside and laid her on his bed. The sight of her lying there, almost naked and most certainly willing, amazed him. This was his Rukia, his best friend. She wasn't afraid of him, not even now. Not even knowing what dark power resided inside him. She loved him. She wanted to be with him despite all that she knew.
She was surprised when he laid himself beside her, throwing an arm across her and laying his head on her bare chest. She had been a little self-conscious that her breasts were smaller than he would find attractive. But now in this moment, she realized that wasn't something that mattered. He ran his right hand up her left arm, bringing it up to cup her cheek. He leaned up on his left elbow and brought his face to hers. This kiss was so gentle compared to the others. Her heart caught in her throat. She could feel how badly he'd been hurt. She could feel how deeply he'd been afraid of hurting the ones he loved. It broke her heart. She could feel the tears prickling at her eyes.
He pulled back for a moment.
"Rukia, why are you crying?" he said softly, his voice husky with emotion.
Rukia shook her head, trying to think of the words to explain. She finally understood him. "I'm so sorry Ichigo."
Ichigo hung his head. "Me too."
Now she was confused. "Wait. Why are you sorry?" she asked, furrowing her brow.
Ichigo rolled over and flopped on his back, throwing one arm across his eyes so that he wouldn't have to look at her. "You didn't want this did you? Are you afraid of me? Afraid of what I'd do if you said no?"
Suddenly Rukia was so angry. She sat up and punched him right in the stomach.
"OUCH!" Ichigo yelped, sitting up and glaring at her. "What the hell was that for?"
Rukia crossed her arms across her chest, trying to ignore the lack of clothing and the embarrassment that fact brought her. "Because you're a baka, that's why. Baka! Baka! Baka!"
Heat flooded his face as he rubbed absently at the place where she had hit him. He knew she didn't hit him with all she had or else he'd be actually injured. He was sure he'd have a bruise though. "I am NOT an idiot!"
Rukia glared at him through her bangs. "Yes, you are. How could you think I'd let you make me do anything? How could you still think I'm afraid of you, after all this? When did you stop believing me?"
Ichigo struggled to maintain eye contact with her. "Rukia, you're not afraid?"
"Afraid of what?" Rukia asked, her tone of voice calming a little.
He gestured something with his arms that she didn't understand. "This. All of this. You aren't afraid?"
Rukia brought her hands down to her lap and sighed. "I'm not afraid of you. Maybe this is all moving a little fast, and it is unknown territory for both of us, but honestly, I don't think I'm afraid. Not anymore at least."
"Does that mean that you feel, well, that we feel…" Ichigo faded off, unable to bring himself to say the words.
Rukia moved closer to him, taking his chin in her hands and turning his eyes to hers. She couldn't say it either, but she didn't have to. She nodded and he knew.
The feeling of elation was immediate. He threw his arms around her and pulled her into his lap, holding her against him. She clung to him, burrowing her face in the crook of his neck. This was so much more than she could have hoped for. She didn't know where they would go from here, or how much it would compromise both of their positions in Soul Society, but right now she knew that her life in Soul Society would no longer hold meaning for her if she didn't have Ichigo by her side.
Ichigo lowered his face to her hair, breathing in the scent of her. He usually did this any time they hugged, though he had tried not to let her know it. He loved the way she smelled, though he couldn't put a finger on what she smelled like. It was a flowery soap smelled mixed with something else that was all Rukia, for lack of a better way for him to explain it. He ran his fingers through her hair and along the back of her neck, trailing down her spine. He felt her shiver and press closer to him.
It felt as if little electric sparks were going off inside her body and she felt his hands on her bare skin. As it was, she couldn't decide what felt better…his hands rubbing her back or her bare chest pressed to his. She was suddenly so sure of what she wanted. She pressed her lips to the hollow of his throat, pleased when he responded by wrapping his long-fingered hands around her waist. In a swift movement he rolled her on her back, hovering over her as he had done before. She sighed with pleasure as he kissed his way across her collar bones. She couldn't help but wrap her fingers tightly in his hair, somehow pulling him closer and pushing him away at the same time.
Ichigo trailed his way down her breast bone and finally let himself kiss his way to the nipple of her right breast. He heard her sharp intake of breath but since she didn't protest, he continued kissing and nibbling at her. His right hand came up to cup her left breast, gently running his thumb over her.
Rukia fought the urge to arch her back toward him, lost in the feeling of his hands and mouth. She had never imagined her body could feel this way.
Ichigo took his time though he was past ready to throw off the rest of their clothes. He kissed and nibbled as much of her exposed flesh as he could, loving the taste of her. She had begun to squirm underneath him a bit, which he found he also enjoyed. The fact that he could bring such reactions out of her made his heart beat faster.
When Rukia felt him pulling the ties of her hamaka, she opened her eyes and made sure they showed no hesitation. She was nervous, but she wasn't afraid. She didn't want to make him think he needed to stop. She didn't want him to stop, not for anything at this point. He glanced up at her as he hooked his thumbs around the fabric of her hamaka and undergarments, to make sure it was okay. When she gave a small nod, he pulled the clothing down her legs and let it fall off the side of the bed.
She was so beautiful. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes wide and reassuring. He'd never done anything like this with anyone and he was suddenly nervous. He wasn't going to let it trip him up though. They had come so far together, he and Rukia.
Ichigo slid his own bottoms to his feet and kicked them off the bed. He lost his balance in the process and face-planted right in the middle of Rukia's chest. He looked up, his cheeks flaming red but Rukia just laughed softly and took his face in her hands. She pulled him forward and into a kiss. It didn't take but a moment for him to forget his clumsiness.
Rukia's breath hitched in her chest as she felt him push her knees apart gently. She helped him, making room for him to settle against her. She could feel how eager he was to continue, but he didn't rush her. He kissed along her jaw, down her neck, across her collar bones. He was holding most of his weight up on his arms and she could feel that they were shaking.
"Ichigo," she whispered against his cheek. He pulled his face back far enough to look her in the eyes and see the question there.
This was his invitation and he knew it. He pressed against her and hesitated. Rukia leaned up and brought his mouth to hers in reassurance. She braced herself slightly for the pain she was sure to come.
He slid himself inside her, amazed at how warm and ready she was for him. He furrowed his brow as he looked down at her. "I thought that was supposed to hurt you," he said, confused.
Rukia looked thoughtful for a moment before replying, "Well, sometimes when girls train as hard as I have, they can accidently tear things without realizing it. I must have done that."
"So, I'm not hurting you?" he asked, pressing more of himself into her.
Rukia sighed and threw her head back against the pillow. "Not at all. Now please," she said, wrapping her hands around the back of his neck. "Don't stop."
And he didn't.
The two of them moved together like one person, each finding and filling something the other needed. Rukia wrapped her legs around his hips and bit at his collar bones, causing Ichigo to gain momentum, pushing them both closer to what was building.
But they were both still new at this and it didn't take long. Rukia could tell by the change in his breathing that he was close. The heat building inside her own body told her that she was too.
Ichigo couldn't hold on any longer and buried his face in Rukia's shoulder, pressing himself as deeply as he could into her and she began to spasm. She could feel him let go of his control and lose himself at the same time. Rukia wrapped her arms around him and pulled her as close to her as she could. Ichigo rested his forehead against hers and for a few moments they stayed this way, breathing hard and enjoying the feel of just being so close.
"Ichigo?" Rukia said after a few moments.
He didn't open his eyes. "Hmm?"
She had to push at his chest a little. "You're squishing me."
Ichigo laughed lightly as he rolled on his back, pulling her with him so that her head rested on his chest. "Sorry, I forgot you were a midget."
Rukia playfully poked him in the stomach and he laughed again. She smiled and relaxed against him as he pulled up the sheets. They both sighed together and laughed again.
Yeah, Rukia thought to herself, we're going to be just fine.
A/N: And there you go. I hope this turned out to your liking. Let me know what you think. This is my first lemon and my first time writing Rukia and Ichigo. Be kind.
Disclaimer: I do not profess to own the rights to any of these characters and I do not profit from writing this story. While I truly enjoy borrowing these wonderful personalities, the credit for their creation goes solely to whomever owns the rights to Bleach. Thanks.