IchiTatsu (Friendship). Ichigo has drifted away from her lately, and she doesn't like it. Orihime is nice and all, but she misses her old friend. He was quite strong now, maybe they could have some decent fights. Tatsuki convinces Urahara to make Ichigo duel her. Whoever wins gets their way. If she wins, he has to tell her evrything. If he wins, they drift even further away.

Disclaimer: Um, this is ?...Duh, I don't own anything. Probably not even the idea, though I sincerely hope it is original.

Also, on another note, I hope this story gets finished soon, considering my wonderful record of continuity...and I am also well aware that the times are wrong (i.e. Ichigo doesn't take very long to go after Orihime, not long enough for all this to happen anyway) It can't happen afterward 'cause he loses all his powers...I just contradicted myself. I do hope this is somewhat comedic, at least further on.

Damn it! Tatsuki thought as she walked briskly around the school halls. Where the hell is Orihime! The latter's presence had vanished the night before, but Tatsuki's mom hadn't let her go outside to look for her friend. It had been the middle of the night, but Tatsuki knew she was stronger than anyone who could mug her. Either way, though, she had to listen to her parents. That morning she had run to Orihime's house before school, and there had been no one there. There was a note, however. It carried detailed instructions to a non-present someone on the workings of the apartment. Had Orihime run away? And what on earth could she have been running from? Was it suicide? Tatsuki tried not to consider the last one a possibility but it kept appearing in her head. Dammit, she had to ask Ichigo something. The last time Orihime had left had coincided oh-so-perfectly with Ichigo, Chad, and Ishida's vacations too. Ichigo had to be behind this. Or even if not, he would be the only one who talked. Seeing Ichigo walking sullenly along with his idiotic friends, she cornered him.

"Where the hell is Orihime?" she yelled.

"Why the hell should I know?" he objected.

"I see those weird creatures! I see you running around dressed in black with a giant sword! Trouble follows you Ichigo! I mean, what the hell happened to Kuchiki-san? You're lying! Why are you lying to me? I'm your friend, dammit!" she ranted. She was aware that everyone was looking at her and evil aura, but she couldn't care less. Her best friend had disappeared, and her ex-best friend was lying blatantly to her.

"It's none of your business." he said, shrugging it off without any sign of surprise on his face. How dare he say that what he did to Orihime wasn't her business? How dare he say the things that haunt her aren't her business? Angered, she punched him through the wall and walked away. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, bastard Ichigo! If he wouldn't tell her, she'd find out some other way!

That night, she followed his black-clad form to a shady-looking candy store a little out of town. She wondered if that was where Orihime was. Quickly scanning the perimeter and seeing nothing but a small black cat, she entered the building.

All she could see was that it was a candy store. Colorful sweets lined low shelves in rows at the store. She slipped off her shoes and hid them as she stepped onto the raised platform that indicated the owner's house was behind it. Carefully she peeked through a sliding door and then stepped in soundlessly as possible. The black cat jumped in beside her and meowed rather loudly for the time of night. Cats were nocturnal creatures after all. Is that cat following me? she asked herself, eying it suspiciously. It returned the stare in the blank way cats have. Shrugging off the thought, Tatsuki moved forward.

The room she walked through was completely bare, and on the other side of it was a big white double sliding door. The cat meowed again as Tatsuki opened the other door a crack. She looked into another empty room. How many empty rooms did this guy have? There was no way a shop this small would adjoin such a big house. This room seemed like a dead end, but there had been no kitchen and no bathroom in the area she'd explored. No bedroom either, for that matter. Maybe the full house was underground. Where the hell did I get that idea? she asked herself briefly, but continued to walk quietly around the room, tapping the floor with her feet as she walked to feel something hollow.

It took her a while to find it, and she would've wondered what kept her going, but she already knew. It was that feeling, the presence she felt every time Ichigo was around. Just like she could feel Orihime's presence, she could feel his as well. It was much stronger than hers. Feeling for an opening, she again searched her surroundings. The cat was still there, watching her curiously. She found the bump in the wood which gave off a slight wind, and dug her nails into the crvace, lifting the heavy object easily. Those were the benefits of being a girl, she thought smiling as she wondered how Ichigo would've opened the hatch as he had no nails.

She looked down the hatch and saw that the ground was far lower than she had imagined. Her heart almost skipped a beat as she saw the ladder bolted to the wall and her hair was blown back by an unnatural wind. The cat, not afraid of heights, walked up to the hatch and jumped onto one of the ladder rungs. It went down the huge ladder quickly and nimbly. Tatsuki held on to the sides of the hatch and looked in before going down.

The room was huge and wide, made of dirt. The upper walls and the roof were painted as the sky and the room was very well lit. Ichigo stood a ways away with his giant cleaver, fighting a man dressed in traditional clothes and a striped fedora. The man was fighting with a walking-stick, though one could tell he wasn't old. She wanted to know what Ichigo was up to and where Orihime was, but there was no way she could descend the ladder without being seen. If Ichigo didn't die by the hands of the fedora man, nor the fedora man by his hands, her clue to Ichigo would have to be the other guy. She watched for a while longer. The cat walked up to the middle of the fight and it stopped. The man picked up the cat and threw it up in the air like a baby. He then headed towards the opening where Tatsuki was, leaving Ichigo screaming curses at him.

Tatsuki ran as quietly as she could to the next room. She hid behind the solid wall and waited for the man to come out. If she tackled him before he saw her, she would have a chance. He seemed pretty strong fighting Ichigo. His sandaled footsteps were right behind her now. Jump!

He dodged swiftly.

"Hey there! I'm Urahara Kisuke, owner of this candy store! What would you lie to buy?" he said cheerfully. Tatsuki recoiled, wasn't this man some kind of warrior like Ichigo?

"What's up with Ichigo?" she asked forcefully.

"He's training, obviously!" he replied in the same over-cheerful mode.

"For what?" Tatsuki asked, getting angrier. The man's grin straightened itself and he replied for the first time in a way that made Tatsuki believe him.

"I can't tell you. Ichigo should be the one to tell you, though I can tell you could be told." he said. Tatsuki believed him for his tone, though the words were almost like a tongue-twister.

"How do I get him to tell me?" she asked, resolute.

"How did you get in here?" answered the cat in a gruff male voice.