It wasn't love at first sight, nor was it a grand building of emotional stress. It just was and always was. Love isn't simply an emotion, not to Ichigo. Love isn't a strength, not to Uryuu. Love was living. How could one live without a love? For years Ichigo hadn't even acknowledged Uryuu, or even knew his name. Who was that kid in his class, the one with such a strong reiatsu? Ichigo wasn't stupid. He knew there was someone in his class that was strong; he just didn't know his name.
Eventually he figured it out. He acted like he'd been oblivious.
"I never noticed," he said. But he had, because he's Ichigo Kurosaki for God's sake and who wouldn't notice such a power as Uryuu's? How could one blatantly ignore such a force as Uryuu's blue reiryoku? It was vibrant and bright. It distracted Ichigo. In class, he had sometimes found himself moving his own black energy over to touch and mingle with his classmate's. How could Uryuu not notice that? Too busy accusing Ichigo of being an incompetent fool too even notice that their reiryoku had been connected for months now. Duel after duel, the connection between their reiryoku winds around the other's and shared their strength.
Ichigo basked in the essence of that pure reiatsu that was solely Ishida Uryuu. It seeped into his skin and blinded his senses. He could feel it every time he became a Soul Reaper and whenever a simple brush-by ensued.
He loved Uryuu's reiryoku. It calmed him, eased him from his high. When in battle the only thing that kept him human, that kept him sane, was that glowing blue light. And for Uryuu to accuse him of never noticing? Well, that was just unacceptable.
"Oi, Ishida!" Ichigo called to the raven.
The boy's response was to simply turn around and say, "Yes, Kurosaki?"
One eyebrow raised curiously. "About what?"
"Is that so?"
Uryuu pushed up his glasses in that way, ya know the one. The one that annoys Ichigo so much that he had to love it. It was too cute to hate. The one that makes Uryuu's eyes flash in the sunlight and cause his reiryoku to shine just a bit brighter? Yeah, that one. "Could you, perhaps," he stepped a bit closer, "be a bit more specific about 'everything,' Kurosaki?"
For moment, Ichigo just stared. "Uh." He scratched the back of his head. "I—" He kicked the pavement. "Always, sorta—" He tugged at his 'Nice Vibe' tee.
At the same moment Uryuu blurted, "Just spit it out!" Ichigo whispered, "Noticed you."
That stopped the raven cold. "What?"
Did he seriously have to say it again?
"Noticed you," he mumbled again.
"I'm afraid I don't understand."
Frustrated for having to explain, Ichigo nearly shouted, "Look!" He pointed haphazardly at their reiryoku. They were intertwined, masking and protecting each other, giving their strength away willingly to their partner.
Uryuu stared. "Fascinating. How long have they been like that?"
Ichigo blushed. "Uh." He stumbled through his words. "For, um—" His fists clenched. "Awhile."
A knowing look passed through Ishida's face when Ichigo finished. "You lied."
"'I never noticed,' you said."
"And you lied."
The orange head bobbed.
"Everything," he agreed.
It was silent for a moment.
"If I ask you a question, will you lie?" Uryuu was looking at the ground.
"Do you like me?"
Ichigo stared at him. Uryuu. His Uryuu. With his blue reiryoku and his strong reiatsu. With his raven hair and thin glasses. With his bow and his arrows that glowed his inner strength. With his minute long conversations and hidden meanings. With his perfect uniform and hatred towards Soul Reapers. With his—his—his everything. How could Ichigo not love him?
Author's Note: This was a pain to write. I had to do some hardcore searching for terms and such; it was a hassle. I like the product though.