I don't own Bleach. Yet...MUWAHAHAHAHAAAA


"Ichigo."

He let out a deep breath before turning to face Tatsuki. He had just finished one of the worst days of his high school life, and really wanted to just get home and hope that no hollows chose to mess with Karakura today.

Really, it wasn't his fault that he'd run into the meanest teacher in the school when he was rushing out to deal with the third freaking hollow that morning, causing him to scatter his papers everywhere. At least he hadn't gotten a detention, but he'd missed math class listening to him rant about teens today, which then caused him to miss lunch listening to his math teacher's rants about punks and juvenile delinquents.

"What, Tatsuki?"

"Go check on Orihime after school."

Okay, not what he was expecting.

"…What? If you're worried about her or something, go check on her yourself."

"Can't. I have a karate meet. Besides," she added, her voice becoming serious. "I'm not dumb, Ichigo. I've seen you, and those things, and I know there's a bunch of stuff going on between you two that I don't know about. Something's off with her."

"You mean she's sick?"

"No, she's off. Her presence—something's wrong with it. Just go check on her, okay?"

"Fine," he said, doing his best to hide the fact that Tatsuki was actually worrying him. "You owe me, though."

He failed rather miserably at being casual, however, when he heard the screams coming from Orihime's apartment.

"ORIHIME!" He pounded on the door, ready to break it down. "OPEN THE DOOR, ORIHIME!"

The few minutes it took before the screaming stopped and the door opened were something close to an eternity.

"K-Kurosaki-kun! What are you doing here?"

She didn't look right.

Her smile wasn't as bright as it should have been, and she was flushed.

"Are you okay, Inoue?"

"M-me? Of course!" She waved her arms around, frantic to reassure him. "Oh, I'm so rude! Would you like to come inside, Kurosaki-kun?"

"Yeah, sure." He stepped inside, as she rushed off to the kitchen.

"Do you want something to eat? I can make something!" He blanched.

"Actually, I'm good. Honest."

"Okay," she said, looking a little disappointed. "I'm sorry, I-I'm not a good hostess…"

"Orihime." He cut her off. "Why were you screaming?"

"Oh…u-um…th-there was a spider! On the floor! It…It's gone now, so…" He sighed. She was really a horrible liar.

"Orihime, why were you really?"

Her smile faltered.

"It's okay," he said, before she could panic or start crying. "But, Inoue, it's okay to rely on us, you know? You got Tatsuki worried." He chuckled a little. "I've never seen her so flustered." He stopped. Orihime was looking at her lap, her fingers twisting over and over. "Inoue, what's wrong?"

"I-It's nothing, Kurosaki-kun. I'll be okay." He opened his mouth, but she cut him off by looking up, with that bright-but-not-as-bright-as-normal smile she'd had when she first let him in. "You-you know, your sisters will worry about you if you're not home soon."

Ichigo looked back up at her apartment, listening hard for more screams. Orihime would never, never suggest anything about leaving to a guest unless she truly couldn't handle being with people at that moment.

And there—Ichigo squinted focusing hard on her spiritual pressure. It was a tiny flicker, but something was off in her spiritual pressure. A flicker of something dark, far, far too dark for sunny, innocent, beautiful…

Did I just think that Inoue was beautiful? Well, she is, but…he shook his head. He couldn't worry about that now.

Something was truly wrong with Inoue Orihime.


...How long has it been? Two months ish? I really have no excuse...except somehow, this story got lost in the shuffle and then a bunch of crap happened, leaving me in a very non-writing mood. Please, forgive me! Also, please review!