XXX

Ichigo held his head in his hands as he sat at the end of the bed, ruffling his hair in irritation.

Chad felt the movement and opened his eyes a little, the smile he had gone to sleep wearing falling away as he caught sight of Ichigo. He sat up, joining Ichigo at the end of the bed, elbows resting on his thighs.

"Chad…" Ichigo began, turning to him, his face screwed up in misery. "I-last night was a mistake."

Chad's head fell. He had expected that but still… the impact of his words cut him deeply and he couldn't look up.

"I-I was being an idiot and-"

"You don't have to explain," Chad managed to mumble out, deep voice deeper from shaky emotions. "I get it. I think it's best if you leave now."

"But I want to tell you why-"

Chad shook his head as if it would shake off his words. "Go. Please, just go."

Ichigo was silent for a moment before standing pulling on his clothes. He paused at the door, hands stopping just before they reached the door handle.

Then he whipped around, chucking down his jacket. "No, you know what? I am going to explain."

"Ichigo," Chad implored. He was afraid he would begin to cry any moment. He couldn't hear it, he couldn't.

"No, hear me out. Last night was a mistake. I was being a complete idiot and… well, I should have just…" he growled in frustration, running a hand through his hair as he searched for words. "Look, I pretended to be drunk okay? I pretended to be drunk to trick you into sleeping with me."

Chad looked up through his bangs in complete astonishment. "What? W-why?"

"Because…" Ichigo muttered out, trailing off before finishing, "Because I-I don't know. I love you or something…"

Chad just stared, the sentence everything he had hoped but seeming so strange now it was voiced. Ichigo really felt that way?

After a lack of response Ichigo scowled. "I know that it was dumb… you know it would probably ruin our friendship but… I just couldn't handle it anymore."

"What about Rukia?"

Confusion flashed across his face and he put his hand in his pocket while scratching his head with the other. "What about Rukia?"

"I-I thought you and her…"

There was a pause. "Me and Rukia?"

Ichigo scowled again. "No. See… she has this friend that has a crush on you and she's bugging me to set you two up for ages. That's why she was following me around all that time. It was probably then that I realised… I just… I wasn't going to let some girl have you."

Chad was silent for a moment before he rushed to Ichigo's side, pressing the hand that had been scratching his head against the door and bringing his lips down on his in a crushing kiss.

Ichigo moaned under it, knees going weak just as Chad broke it, the fierce blush evident even through his bangs.

"Sorry about that," Chad murmured. "I just couldn't help it…"

Ichigo grinned, taking the kiss to be a yes and he let his hands travel up to his face. "You don't have to worry about that."

Chad smiled a little, his forehead knocking against Ichigo's. "Ichigo…"

Ichigo grinned at the way he said it, loving the fact that the name rolled off of his tongue, almost caressing it. "Yes?"

"Why did you say Yasutora last night?"

Ichigo frowned a little, thinking. "Last night I did?"

He nodded.

"Well… I don't know, I got caught up in the moment or something. Besides, I thought we were um… close enough to be able to say it," he replied haltingly, finding himself a little heated.

Chad shrugged, frowning as well. "I-I don't really like it. Just call me Chad."

Pearly whites showed through caramel lips. "What? You really want me to call you Chad?"

Chad gave a small grunt. "I'm used to it by now. Besides, I like it when you say it."

Ichigo kissed him gently, pulling back to look into his eyes. "Well, how about I say it some more?"