Ichigo watched the three of them sledge down small hills until noon. All three of them were now slightly flushed but grinning. They arrive outside the café and leave the sledges outside in a pile before entering slowly. The café is quite large with a round counter in the centre and then doors to the small kitchen at the back. The four of them walk to the front and automatically the three girls head to the cake section while Ichigo orders them all hot chocolates (remembering to add marshmallows and cream to the three girls.)
"Doesn't that one look nice?" Yuzu beams as the three girls stand side by side looking through the glass at the shelves of different cakes and muffins.
"Right I'm getting that one." Karin grins pointing at a large plain cake with chocolate buttercream for filling and melted chocolate on top. Karin explains to the woman she wants a slice of that cake while Yuzu and Rukia look helplessly at the other cakes. Rukia's eyes trail over the muffins and she blinks as her eyes land on one that causes her to blush lightly. The vanilla muffin has a chocolate buttercream top and then a bunny face in white buttercream on top of that.
"What are you getting Rukia-Chan?" Yuzu asks and Rukia tears her eyes away from the muffin.
"I'll get the same as you ok?" Rukia says quickly and Yuzu smiles and then points at two identical muffins. The muffins are chocolate with thick cream on top and then three strawberries resting on the cream. Rukia blushes lightly glancing at Yuzu who grins and then takes both the muffins off the counter and heads towards a table.
They sit down at a table near the back of the café. Rukia and Yuzu sit on one side with Karin and Ichigo on the other. The twins worked it out perfectly so Ichigo and Rukia would have to sit together. They both agreed they would ask to sit next to one of the two and then both insist on sitting nearest the outside so Rukia and Ichigo would be forced near each other. Rukia glares at the two of them quickly but Ichigo just smiles strangely at them giving them all a suspicious glance.
"Here are your drinks." The waitress says as she stops in front of their table. She puts the tray down containing four hot chocolates, one plain, the other three identical apart from one has a straw in. Ichigo picks up the plain one and the one with the straw in. He hands the one with the straw in to Rukia who blinks at him confused.
"You can't drink it straight away can you? You have to have a straw in." Ichigo explains to Rukia a little confused.
"I never told you that." Rukia replies slowly and he nods.
"I just noticed." He shrugs and then glances at her cake. "Nice choice." He smiles and she glares at him turning slightly red.
"Hey Onii-San don't you think that waitress was cute?" Yuzu asks and Ichigo blinks and shrugs before glancing to the counter to look at the waitress.
"She's cute yeah, why?" He wonders and both Karin and Yuzu just shrug and Rukia glares at the waitress. Ichigo glances at her and frowns. "Rukia what are you doing?"
"Nothing." She replies too quickly before quickly turning around and taking a gulp of her hot chocolate. Tears well up in her eyes as her mouth and throat burn. She swallows it quickly and then looks down and bites her bottom lip, her tongue going numb. She looks down at the cake quickly and then picks it up and takes a large bite out of it, hoping the cream with cool her tongue down a bit.
"Idiot, you've got cream all over you." He sighs leaning over the table. Rukia screws her eyes up slightly as Ichigo wipes some cream off her cheek with his thumb gently. He licks the cream off his thumb and shakes his head.
After spending the rest of the time either eating or being silent the four of them stand up and leave. As they walk out of the café Rukia quickly turns around and glares at the waitress one more time before picking up her sledge and walking back towards the park. They decided to sledge some more while they could and head home later. Ichigo had left a note for their dad knowing he'd react oddly.
"Rukia-Chan let's share a sledge this time!" Yuzu grins causing Karin to frown.
"Wait a minute!" Karin protests. Yuzu spins around and pouts lightly before smiling at her other half.
"We can all fit in one I guess but I thought Onii-San could use the other and we'd have a race." Yuzu says and Karin nods looking at Ichigo and then glancing at Rukia she grins.
"Well why doesn't Onii-San share with Rukia?" Karin asks and Yuzu smiles and nods.
"That's ok right Onii-San?" Yuzu asks turning to look at Ichigo.
"No!" Rukia protests going red. "We won't both fit."
"You can sit on Ichi's knee!" Karin hisses and then takes Rukia's sledge off her and gives it to Ichigo. "Make sure she doesn't fall out this time." Karin calls before the twins run up the hill leaving Ichigo and Rukia stood staring after them.
Ichigo glances at Rukia and smiles noticing her red cheeks. He picks up the sledge and sighs heavily before shrugging before taking her hand quickly and taking a few steps forward. He looks over to find her staring up at him with red cheeks and trying to avoid his gaze.
"I don't mind, I'll make sure you don't fall this time." Ichigo promises thinking she's nervous about sledging again. Rukia slowly nods and let's Ichigo guide her up the hill. Both twins nudge each other and grin as they reach the top.
"Hurry and get set up Onii-San!" Yuzu beams and Ichigo nods.
He drops the sledge down and sits down with one leg hanging on the side to make sure it doesn't move. He looks up at Rukia and smiles before lifting his hand up to help her in. She stares at his hand for a moment and then reaches out slowly. Ichigo sighs and grabs her hand before tugging her down into the sledge. She slots between his legs and tucks her knees to her chest. She buries her face in her knees.
"Hey I need to fit in too." Ichigo complains before lifting her up slightly and sliding his other leg in the sledge. He puts her back down on his knee but she keeps her knees tucked up to her chest.
"Ready Ichi?" Karin asks and Ichigo nods before they all push off. Rukia breathes slowly and hides her slightly red cheeks behind her knees. Ichigo laughs as they both skid to a stop before both of the twins.
"Beat you both." Ichigo cheers and both twins frown.
"Hey Rukia-Chan did you really want to go sledging on the big hill?" Yuzu asks gently as Rukia slowly gets out of the sledge. She looks at the young girl and shrugs.
"I did but then the sledge slipped and well…" She starts to explain but cuts off as Ichigo grabs her hand again and starts pulling her towards the big hill. He tugs her all the way to the top and grins.
"You won't fall this time, promise." Ichigo says and nods to confirm it. He sits in the sledge again without letting go of her hand. He tugs her onto his knee again and she automatically goes to tuck her knees to her chest.
"What are you doing?" Rukia hisses when he stops her and pushes her legs flat on top of his.
"I can't keep you safe if you have your knees up." He sighs while sliding both his arms around her waist loosely. Rukia turns bright red when he leans forward slightly so his chins resting on her shoulder. "Ready?" He asks and she nods once. Ichigo grins while pushing off and allowing the sledge to begin sliding down the large slope. Rukia blinks as he tightens his grip around her slightly. He laughs and after a few seconds Rukia's lips twitch into a smile. She couldn't help herself, she was having fun after all. The only thing that made her feel angry or sad was the fact that everything Ichigo does affects her so much and he doesn't know.
"Rukia-Chan was it fun?" Yuzu calls as they skid to a stop. Karin and Yuzu run up to them with their sledges trailing behind them and grins on their faces.
"Hai it was fun." Rukia smiles as she's about to get up. She falls back down as Ichigo tightens his grip slightly.
"Sorry." He whispers causing her to blush lightly. He lets go slowly and she smiles and then grabs both the twins' hands.
"Let's all try and fit in one!" Rukia grins pulling them back towards the smaller hills. They both laugh along with her but Karin glances over her shoulder for a second, it only took a second for her to notice Ichigo sigh. Karin frowns not wanting to ask what's wrong. Rukia's happy again so Ichigo should be too.
After another hour or so sledging all four of them decided to head back. They ate Yuzu's famous curry with Dr Kurosaki who asked them all about their day. No one seemed to notice how Rukia avoided Ichigo's eyes the whole time. She was almost afraid to look into them. Each time she did she got swept away from reality and all she wanted to do was get back. She couldn't handle her own feelings for so many reasons.
"Oh by the way Rukia, Orihime called for you earlier. I said you'd ring her tonight or in the morning." Dr Kurosaki says and Rukia blinks and nods while swallowing another mouthful of curry.
"That's right, I said we'd spend time together over the holidays." Rukia says quietly. That was another reason. Orihime Inoue is Rukia's best friend and she too loves Ichigo. Rukia could never hurt her in that way, it wouldn't be fair, Orihime's love has lasted much longer than her own.
"Rukia you don't have to." Karin tells her and Rukia looks up to meet the younger girls gaze.
"It's ok, I've missed Orihime quite a lot." Rukia replies.
"Karin why would you say that?" Ichigo wonders slightly confused and Karin shrugs.
"I was just thinking Rukia should do what makes her happy, not what'll make Orihime happy." Karin mumbles and Rukia stands up with her eyes on the floor.
"Thanks for the food Yuzu. Can I be excused?" Rukia asks and Yuzu nods slowly. Rukia nods and walks out of the room before running up the stairs and into Ichigo's room.
She shuts the door behind her and then sits with her back against the door. She takes in a few deep breaths. Karin and Yuzu clearly knew about her feelings for Ichigo. Everyone, apart from Ichigo again, knew about Orihime's feeling too. She understands the hint behind Karin's words but it's too much. Orihime has always been so kind to her so she can't break her heart.
"Karin-Chan I think you upset her." Yuzu says softly and Karin frowns giving Ichigo a quick glare which he doesn't notice.
"I'll go see if she's ok." Ichigo says getting up and thanking Yuzu for the food before jogging out of the room.
He jogs up the stairs and reaches his bedroom door. He sits down and leans his back against the door wondering what to say to her. What Karin said made no sense to him but it obviously meant something to Rukia or she wouldn't get upset. He stands up again and turns around before knocking on the door.
"Rukia are you ok? Can I come in?" He asks cautiously. He waits for a second before slowly opening the door and peeping around it. He sighs and smiles as his eyes land on Rukia. Her breathing as she sleeps in a ball curled up on the floor. He squeezes through the gap in the door and picks her up cautiously before carrying her to his bed. He lays her down gently and takes off his jacket. He pauses for a second to look at her. Her hair is tied into a cute ponytail which is messy now. He grins before putting his jacket over her and smiling softly. He bends down for a second until their faces are inches apart. "Good night Rukia." He whispers before standing up again. He sighs once before walking out of the room and leaving Rukia in his bed asleep.
Thanks for reading chapter 2!
I hope you're all enjoying it!
Reviews (good or bad) are welcome