The time was exactly 3:42 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2nd when Ichigo Kurosaki decided once and for all that he couldn't go another minute without knowing for sure if Orihime Inoue would be his or not.
Maybe it was the irregular muted crunches her feet made in the snow as she ambled wherever she pleased. Maybe it was the fake fur on the edges of her hood and coat that brushed against him if he got too close and tickled precariously. Or it could have been that gleam in her eye that he knew said, 'Oh, I want to eat that snow... but I'd better not. But I want to. But it's probably dirty. But it doesn't look dirty...' and on and on and on. Perhaps it was the fact that it was early February and there were stupid heart decorations all over and she got excited every time she saw one. And he didn't even mind. He could pass by a window display of paper hearts and not even notice it was there. But if she walked past one and saw it, she got happy, so he got happy; and she smiled, so he smiled; and she got excited, so he got excited... all over something he never even would have noticed. All because of her.
He looked over at her again. She had one glove off and was running her fingertips over the snow on top of a fence.
Maybe it was the fact that, even though it was an extremely cold winter, when he took her hand in his and pulled her close to walk side by side, he felt warm.
"I love all the holidays around this time of year," Orihime chattered on, continuing along her disconnected trail of thoughts. "Valentines Day is my favorite for now but then it's not disappointing when it's over because of White Day and St. Patrick's Day... It's so weird if there's still snow on St. Patrick's Day! And the leprechauns wear green, so it's dangerous for them, too. Come to think of it, how do they hide most of the year?"
She looked at Ichigo, genuinely concerned. He felt his face get red. He felt his heart swell. He opened his mouth. He was going to say it.
"I know!" she exclaimed, excited. "They disguise themselves as the other holidays! Like around this time of year they'd be cupids! And then they're happy on St. Patrick's Day because they get to dress up as themselves. And then they're the Easter bunnies, and during the summer they get to be Tanabata spirits, and in winter they are Santa's Elves-"
"Marry me!" Ichigo blurted out.
Orihime stopped mid-stride. She slowly tilted to face him. He panicked.
Crap! No, that's not how it's supposed to be! It's supposed to be romantic or memorable or something like that. I'm supposed to have a ring and get down on one knee. Er... maybe I can pass it off as a joke... He slowly raised his head until their eyes met. A huge smile spread across her face and finally she let out a laugh. Oh... she already thought it was a joke...
He frowned. In all actuality, he hadn't been joking. Was it really that easy for her to think that him wanting to marry her was a joke?
"Of course I'll marry you, Ichigo!" She laughed again.
No, she knew how he felt, and she wasn't cruel. She probably sensed his nervousness and thought playing it off as a joke was the right thing to do. He swallowed the fear welling up inside of him and turned to look at her directly.
"I wasn't kidding, Orihime."
Orihime finished laughing with closed eyes and a deep refreshing-looking breath. She smiled. When she opened her eyes again she looked at Ichigo, really looked at him. He felt paper thin, like she could have seen right through him if she wanted to.
"I know," she said softly, "Neither was I."
He stepped forward slowly. Was this really happening? Everything was wrong. This wasn't how people did it. People planned things like this so carefully. It was a life altering event. Something the couple remembered forever.
But he remembered all his times with Orihime. She had changed his life in that way that was uniquely hers. Nothing was planned, nothing was normal. Life with her was a happy hurricane. No, nothing was normal... but everything was right.
"I love you," he said. He reached out and put his hands on her waist.
"I love you too," she put her arms around his neck, "Mr. Kurosaki."
"I told you to call me Ichigo a long time ago." He smiled and rested his forehead down against hers.
Her smile made her crinkle her nose up. "Try it."
"Hmm," he pulled his face away. "Mrs. Kurosaki?"
It hit him like a ton of bricks. There was the reality. His name would be her name soon. A smile pulled at his lips. "Mrs. Kurosaki."
He laughed. She looked overjoyed. Their arms tightened around one another.
Orihime brought her face closer to his. He felt her breath on his lips.
A/N- The date and time picked was just random. I don't know what year it falls on, calendar-wise, nor does it have any significance to me. Just so you know. Ha ha.