It is simple. I have him right where I want him. There will be no escape for him. The anticipation is building to the point where my heart begins to beat faster. It is so simple.
"Rukia, what are you doing?"
Curses. He addresses me despite the fact he still concentrates on his book, never diverting his eyes from its pages.
"Nothing," I say hastily, feeling my voice shake out of surprise. I was sure he couldn't know I was there. I had been so careful, masking my reiatsu to the point of it being near non-existent. Nobody should have been able to notice, yet he did.
"Of course you aren't," he chuckles, his face still hidden by his book, yet his eyes are visible to me. Amusement is clearly written within his gaze. "So, why are you hiding your reiatsu?"
I have to think of an answer, quickly. "I was …"
"I was testing how well I could mask my reiatsu," I answer, feeling proud of myself for thinking of such a plausible answer so quickly.
His eyes look thoughtful for a moment before he shrugs his shoulders. "It still needs some work," he says nonchalantly, ignoring the look of anger I send him.
"For your information, nobody other than yourself has been able to sense me," I reply hotly, pursing my lips in irritation. "Neither Karin-chan, Yuzu-chan nor Isshin-san were able."
"They were probably being kind," he shoots smugly. "I mean, honestly, your reiatsu could be sensed by a normal person."
I stomp my foot angrily against the floor of his bedroom and twirl on the spot. "Fine," I shoot back. "I'll keep practising then." I start to walk away.
"Where are you going?" His voice filters across the room to me.
"I was going to see Inoue, not that it concerns you."
"Why shouldn't it concern me?"
"With how my reiatsu control is, you should be able to sense me, no matter where I am," I quip, moving the few steps that will take me out of his room …
Only, I find myself unable to do so as his arms wrap around my waist, his head leaning against my shoulders in that familiar, nonchalant way. "Stay," he whispers, his breath tickling against my neck, sending any protests I may have floating in the breeze.
"Why?" I swallow, biting my lower lip.
"Why?" he repeats in confusion. "What do you mean?"
I shuffle nervously as his arms tighten and his lips ghost against my neck. "Why do we keep doing this?" I finally grind out. He sighs at my words and I know I have hit upon a sensitive subject. "Why do we keep dancing around the issue?"
His arms unwind from around my body. He runs his right through his hair in that familiar motion, the one signifying he is uncomfortable or apprehensive. "What is the issue?" he asks, and it instantly makes me furious.
"You know full well what the issue is, Kurosaki Ichigo!" I only ever call him by his full name when I am well and truly annoyed with him. "Why do we keep playing these silly games? How long has it been since we both decided to be honest with one another?"
I wait for an answer. For his sake, it had best be a good one.
"We swore it, a long time ago," he answers finally, and I feel myself nod approvingly.
"You know how I feel, Ichigo," I continue, feeling nervous despite the fact I have already said the words to him. "You know that I love you … but we can't keep doing this."
"I love you as well …" he begins, yet I cut him off.
"Why do you keep acting as though I mean nothing to you then?" I snap. "You kiss me, I kiss you. We make love to one another, then you act distant, as though it means nothing to you, and it should mean everything, like it does to me."
"It does mean … a lot," he mumbles compromisingly and I feel my heart shattering.
"A … lot?" I query. When he fails to answer, I know that I have been deluding myself. "How long?" I ask. He stares past me, his eyes focusing on something behind me – his wall most likely. "How long have you felt this way?"
He sighs again, a deep, shuddering protest from his lungs. "I don't think I have ever felt as deeply for you as you have for me."
I expected as much, yet to actually hear him say the crippling words cuts more deeply than I could have ever imagined. "Why have you let it carry on this long?" When he doesn't answer, it infuriates me further. "Did you want the 'honour' of being the first person I would love?" I snap.
"Did you want to be the one to claim my innocence?" I shout harshly.
"Or was it that you wanted to be the first to break my heart?" I finished quietly, a small sob escaping my lips. I can't stand in his room any longer. Too many memories are collected here and it hurts for me to remember them. I flee, leaving my fragmented heart in there along with the man who had claimed it, forever.
It was supposed to be simple.
Author's Notes: So, I decided that, what with how busy my work life has now become, I would be unable to create any gargantuan chapters towards THS. However, rather than simply give up completely, I thought it would be easier to create a few smaller stories - drabbles if you will. They will all be IchigoxRukia - for better or worse - and they should all contain some sort of moral or ideal, hopefully. I do sincerely hope that you enjoyed this story. I will try to have the next chapter up either later tonight or tomorrow.