Ichigo glanced at the clock, scowled, and then looked away.

Rukia casted him a look, frowned, and then repositioned her book.

Ishida's eyebrow twitched, he glanced at the board, and then continued to sow.

Renji snored, leaned back farther in his seat, and then snored again.

Sado was quiet, silent, and then quiet again.

Ichigo felt a vein throb. His friends were so fucking weird.

Suddenly, the bell rang.

Ochi-sensei turned, crooked a brow, and then grinned at her class. "Looks like that's the end of class. Stand," Everyone did as told, and Ichigo sighed in relief. Rukia slipped off her white shoe and threw it at Renji, who sputtered, hollered in pain, and then fell from his seat. "Bow."

And everyone did as told.

Ichigo crunched a fist, same shit, different day, he thought with clear disdain. As soon as class was over, the day over, Ichigo stretched his arms over his head with a sharp groan. Ishida readjusted his glasses, Sado gathered his things silently, and Rukia scolded Renji.

"Ramen today?" Renji asked hopefully when Rukia finally let go of his ear.

The latter rolled her indigo eyes, "You wish. Right now, I'm studying for exams."

Ishida let his arm drop to his side, "So am I. Sado-kun and I are starting crash courses in the summer, of course."

Renji sweat-dropped, "Summer isn't for another three months."

Rukia wagged a finger, "You can never be too prepared."

"That's a stupid expression," the redhead sighed, allowing his arms to rest behind his head lazily, "What about you, Strawberry? You doing anything today?"

Ichigo blinked. He had been gazing out the window the last few moments, watching the clouds roll by. Frowning, he turned to face his friends, Renji crooking a brow at him, "Huh? Oh. No."

"What's with you?" Rukia grimaced, "You seem out of it."

"Maybe he's tired," Ishida supplied, "That father of his is a handful."

"…so I've heard," Sado added quietly.

Ichigo's customary scowl deepened, "Dammit, quit stalking me."

Rukia shrugged her thin shoulders, "Can't. You're rather entertaining on Saturday nights."

Ichigo was scowling.

Yes, for the fifty-eight time today – probably more than that – he was, indeed, scowling.

He'd been forced to walk home with Renji. They'd just emerged from the ramen shop – the shopkeeper didn't like Ichigo, which made them pay double for two beef bowls – and the sun was starting to set. Ichigo tucked his hands in his pockets as Renji sighed happily, placing a hand on his stomach.

"Ah~ I'm full now."

"Good," Ichigo scowled some more – make that fifty-nine, Renji counted off to himself, "because you emptied my wallet, you bastard."

Renji creaked one eye open lazily, "Huh? I paid."

"FOR THE TIP!" Ichigo snarled at his long-time friend.

Renji sighed again and threw his arms behind his head, "I'll pay you back sometime…"

"When will that be?" Ichigo asked rhetorically.

"Probably in the next couple of years," Renji answered anyway, now picking his nose with his pinky finger.

Ichigo's scowl deepened – make that sixty. He might break a record. "That's great."

"I know, right!" Renji seemed happy about it, grinning now, "Maybe by then I'll have a job!"

"Great for you," Ichigo muttered sarcastically.

"I know~"

Just as they swerved around the corner – Renji doing a small jig – Ichigo crashed into someone. They were smaller than him, and he did not hear the person make a sound. Renji paused from walking as Ichigo stumbled backward, but did not fall.

…Make that sixty-one. Sometimes, all his friends worry that his face will become stuck like that.

"Hey, watch where you're…" His words got stuck in his throat when he saw the small form standing in front of him.

Large honey eyes stared up at him. The largest eyes he had ever seen – so bright and big, thick lashes that shouldn't be that thick but they are.

…Eh? The scowl is gone. Renji frowned at this.

She was pretty; very, very pretty, and Ichigo felt a weird burn in his ears. She must be some kind of dream, he thought. No one can be that pretty, or beautiful, even.

He blinked.

She blinked.

Renji blinked.

And then her mouth opened – pink, plush lips – and she lifted her arms, her fists pounding against his chest. Ichigo stood there, unable to fully express his shock as Renji watched, eyelids heavy, as though he were bored. The girl made no sound, but continued to mercilessly strike Ichigo with her small fists – such small fists, Ichigo realized vaguely – and he reached down, took a hold of her thin wrists. She gasped, struggled, and wiggled, desperate to pry from his grasp, but Ichigo was strong, and he did not let go.

"W-What the hell?" He nearly growled. With her in his grip, he could see her fully. Her hair was long, falling down her back in thick, amber tresses, a darker shade than his. And it was thick and shiny, and her bangs clasped by two hibiscus, sapphire clips.

And as she looked up at him with her wide, wide hazel eyes, he realized she is too beautiful, and there should not be someone like this in the world.

As he was distracted, she wrenched herself away, turned in the other direction, and took off, all the while remaining silent. Ichigo righted himself, and tried to shut up his gut that was telling to him run after her.

"Ah~" Renji let out a little exclamation, "You scared her away. Too bad."

"Dammit," Ichigo clenched a fist tightly, tighter than tightly.

Sixty-two…Renji raised his fingers and counted for a few seconds. Giving a sharp nod, he decided he was good with his mathematic, no matter what the teachers said.

(and she whispers

but he cannot hear it)

A pencil snapped.

Ishida readjusted his glasses, "There she goes again."

Sado also glanced up, "Hn."

"Should we move to higher grounds?" Ishida asked, his expression strangely serious for the situation.

"…Too late."




Ichigo's eyebrow twitched before he stood also. The rest of the class peered back at the three, curious. This, at least, happened every week.


"Eh?" Rukia blinked up at him, eyebrows going up, "BAKA! YOU'RE STILL ON NUMBER THREE?"

Renji snickered.

Ichigo scowled.

Rukia knocked them both on their heads.

"Abrai, Kurosaki," the teacher called shortly, "Detention."

"W-WHAT?" The two bright-haired boys shouted in shock.

"You heard me," the woman continued.

Keigo suddenly hopped from his seat, jabbing a finger at her, "FAVORTISM, I SAY!"

A vein pounded in Ochi-sensei's temple, "GROW BOOBS!"

The rest of the class either face-desk'd, or sweat-dropped.

(he wants to think he can tell

what she's thinking)

Ichigo lied his head on his desk and listened to the elder teacher in the front of the classroom snore. A vein throbbed in Ichigo's temple, the man was supposed to be watching them keenly, but of course, in this town, nothing went right.

To his left, he heard the sound of glass sleeking out of the way, and he could hear the birds more clearly. Frowning inquisitively, he looked over his shoulder only to see Renji standing on the window sill, grinning, the wind going through his shirt and red locks.

Ichigo's mouth fell open, "IDIOT! What're you doing?" The teacher's snores sputtered, paused curiously, and then continued.

Renji placed his finger against his grinning lips, shushing the orange-haired, "Don't worry. I'll come back for you. Or…" He reached out a hand towards his friend and made kissing faces, puckering his lips annoyingly, "Or you could come with me, Ichigo-kuuun~! And I'll never, ever, ever let go!"

Ichigo scowled again, "Bite me."



Sighing angrily, Ichigo glanced at the teacher and then to his comrade.

"No thanks. You go on without me."

Renji crooked a brow, "You sure?"

"Yes," Ichigo glared at him, deadpan.

Renji shrugged his lean shoulders, "Whatever." He lifted a hand and saluted Ichigo, "Get chance and luck."

Ichigo's eyebrow twitched, "Stop reading manga."

Renji merely ducked out of the window and Ichigo could no longer see him. And then, he heard, "I FORGOT WE WERE ON THE SECOND FLOOOOO – OOMPH!"

Ichigo sighed and pulled out his notebooks when he heard his friend hit the ground below, "Idiot."

(and yet

she breathes)

As he walked home, he looked up towards the sky. It was hot, and sweat was beginning to form his face and body. He scowled, damn this weather, and licked his dry lips. As he stopped at the street light, waiting for cars to hurry up and stop driving, he tucked a hand in his pocket, and scowled again.


Ichigo's ears perked up.

"Not so tough now, are ya?"

He crooked both brows.


Ichigo turned his head, and later, his body. His school bag fell to the ground, and he left it without a word. Before he knew it, he was standing in the entrance of the alley, and the four men paused. Ichigo could see Renji, trapped under one's foot, one eye swollen, and bruises covering his body.

One grinned – a face Ichigo vaguely remembered punching in, "Well, if it isn't Kurosaki! Lucky day."

Ichigo grinned also, feral as he loosened his tie and threw it off, "Yeah. Lucky. Good timing too," he crunched one fist into his open palm, "I need a nice, long stretch."

Minutes later, small hands reached out.


And then picked up Kurosaki Ichigo's bag from the sidewalk.

(still he wonders

when she'll be back)

Ichigo panted, wiped the blood from his lip, and grinned.

"What the fuck are you!" One shouted, one hand over his bruised eye. He probably wouldn't be able to use it in the future, due to how hard Ichigo punched it. Hell, the orange-haired was surprised the man was still up.

Renji leaned against the wall, panting just as much as his friend, cradling his bruised side. His ribs were probably cracked, or maybe bruised. Ichigo didn't really care at the moment. His knuckles were bloody, and he did not know if it were his or someone else's.

It's dark…

"Fuck this!" Another crowed, grabbing a hold of his broken wrist, "I'm outta here!" He scurried away, leaving his friends behind. Two gave shrills protest, but remained on the ground. Ichigo let his smile drop, finding the battle was finally over, and turned towards the corner, prepared to leave the alley and possibly find help.

But he found himself colliding with someone once more. He frowned as someone gasped silently in front of him. Looking down, he locked eyes with large honey ones.

"You…" He whispered.

Without further ado, she dropped a bag – his bag? – and slapped both of her small hands on his face, her mouth falling open in shock. Her eyes widened, widened some more, until they appeared impossibly big on her pretty face.

Still, she did not utter a word, did not make a sound, and this confused him.

Worry was etched onto her pretty face as she leaned upwards, her face becoming closer to his. He frowned at the heat in his ears, and clenched a fist. Placing a hand on her shoulder – such a small shoulder – and pushed her back to the sidewalk.

His eyes narrowed, "What're you doing out here so late?" Was that really the only question he could ask with a beat-up face, and to a girl he did not know? Probably not. But that was all he could think of at the moment.

She blinked at the question, but did not drop her hands. Her touch made his skin tingle, and he wasn't sure if it was the good way or bad way. For some reason, her silence irritated him.

"Oi. Say something, would you?"

With those words, she dropped her hands. And he wished she hadn't. With a soft, sad look, something flashed in her honey eyes. She opened her mouth, hesitated, and then closed it again.

"…You okay?"

Her eyebrows came together before something seemed to light up in her mind. With another gasp, she hurried to pry open his school bag. He watched with captivated, questioning attention as she pulled out a red notebook – his Geometry notebook – and one of his mechanical pencils – which Rukia always wanted to use. She wrote something down, her small, pink tongue dancing across her plush lips before she stood straight again and held it out for him to see.

It was difficult to read in the dark, but he did not mind. He read her clumsily scrawl out loud, "Are you…okay?" The specific word was underlined. He scowled, raising his eyes back to hers and she gazed at him determinedly.

"What's wrong?" He asked instead, "Can't you speak?"

The same look passed in her eyes before she shook her head timidly.


(but she smiles

and that is enough for him)


Said teenager dodged out of the way in time for his father to sail into the wall. Somehow, he'd managed to keep Renji out of the way of the kick also, since he was supporting the redhead.

"I-I have…taught you well…my son…" Isshin gasped out.

"Oi!" Ichigo hollered, more heated than usual, causing Karin to raise her brow at the dining table, "Don't do that shit when I have guests, idiot! You could've hurt her!"

Yuzu paused by the entrance to the kitchen, ladle in hand, "What're you talking about…E-Eh? Abrai-san! Are you alright?" She rushed towards the unconscious teenager.

Ichigo scowled and looked towards his stupid father, "Don't even think about touching her," Ichigo motioned a thumb over his shoulder where he was sure that girl stood. Isshin popped up from the wall, and glanced around.

"Who're you talking about, Ichigo?" The doctor's smile fell slowly.

Ichigo grimaced with him, "That girl! Her…" The words died on his lips as he turned, and found the spot she'd been empty. No large hazel eyes and pale skin with rosy cheeks and amber hair.


Ichigo let go of Renji, who fell to the ground with a weak groan, and Yuzu hollered in surprise and worry. Ichigo leaned his head out the door, didn't find her, and ran out until he reached the gate.

"Just great," he grunted angrily. "She fucking ran on me."

And she has my school bag…

"DAMMIT!" The orange-haired wanted to kick something.

From inside, Karin rolled her eyes and sighed, "Ichi-nii's having a rough time again…"

"Kurosaki! Where's your bag?"


"What was that?"

"A girl with long, long hair took it when I got beat up yesterday with Renji, and she was mute, and annoying, then she ran away because my dad attacked like a fucking idiot as soon as I got home."

Rukia blinked.

Ochi-sensei did not.





(she hides from him

but he always finds her)

After detention, he walked down the halls, no bag or books to carry around. For this, he was agitated. A girl he did not know had his things, and he'd got in trouble for it.

As soon as he made it to his shoe locker, he took out his older converses – which the teachers hated – and stripped from his white, scuffed shoes. Placing them in the cubby, he slipped into his comfortable shoes and sighed, stretching his long arms over his head.

So far, this week had sucked. He'd failed a test, gotten detention twice, argued with Rukia (that was on a regular basis), bought ramen, gotten into a fight for a friend, and met a strange, beautiful, mute girl that had taken his school bag, along with his cell phone, wallet, and books.

These thoughts brought another scowl to his face.

"Seventy! Am I right?" A voice startled him, but he did not jump. Instead, he turned his head to see Renji, face covered in Band-Aids, but he was grinning widely as he jabbed a finger at Ichigo, "You're scowls should be at seventy now."

"You left early today," Ichigo ignored him, "Did you skip?"

"Yeah," Renji nodded, rubbing a hand over his ribs that his Old Man had bandaged up, "I'm in bad shape. Anyways," he lifted his free arm to show Ichigo's dark bag. The orange haired's eyes widened. "That girl dropped it on my lap while I was sleeping outside and then ran. I think she was scared or something."

Ichigo took it from him, peeked inside, and was slightly surprised to see everything still there – though a few of his binders appeared neater than before, the papers sorted and pencils in the pockets of his bag. Yet, he knew he shouldn't be very surprised. Even though she was beautiful, he had felt an aura around her, as if there was something pure about her beauty. Something he found very, very endearing.

"Oi!" Renji suddenly snapped his fingers, breaking Ichigo from his thoughts, "I could've sworn I read this in one of Rukia's mangas…Yeah! Sou ka! Except, the guy was the one running after the girl…Or were they both guys…? Yeah, I think they were. Rukia's into that kind of shit."

Ichigo's scowl deepened as he closed his bag.

"You're really an idiot, aren't you?"

"Blame my parents. They're the ones who didn't use a rubber."

"Shut the hell up."

"Since you're such an innocent, how about I enlighten you on the body's functions?"

"Please don't…and…! WAIT! I AM NOT INNOCENT!"

"So defensive~"

"Shut up!"

"Why? Shouldn't I tell you how soft Rukia is under me? Or maybe that time I—O-OW! THE FUCK, ICHIGO!"



Both looked up in confusion at the new voice, Renji continuing to clutch at his bruised cheek, which Ichigo had just bestowed upon him. Ichigo managed to lean back in time for a dark bag – similar to his and everyone else's in the school, but it had a Limited Edition Chappy Bunny 3000 attached to it, and his eyes narrowed, he'd been listening to Rukia too much – to whirl past his face in frightening speeds.

Renji was not so lucky. The bag smashed into his face and he howled at the force. Ichigo watched, slightly wide-eyed as Rukia came running down the hall, twirled in mid-air, raised her foot, and slammed it into Renji's face. The redhead flew a few feet away and into the wall, creating a deep imprint of his body.

Ichigo raised a hand to his mouth, for Renji was ways away, and called out, "Renji, do you want to go out for ramen later?"

Renji's head shot up, "AREN'T YOU WORRIED ABOUT MY WELL-BEING?" He shrieked in a high tone. Rubbing a hand against his red face, he scowled, "Ya know, Rukia, I did just get my ass kicked yesterday," he groused as he sat up, "You could go easier on me."

Her eyes glowed red, "DON'T TALK ABOUT OUR PERSONAL LIVES THEN!" And crashed her foot into the back of his head, sending his face hard into the floor.

Again, Ichigo raised a hand to his mouth, and called, "Renji, did that hurt more than the first one?"

"D-Damn you…!" Renji growled weakly against the ground.

Rukia finally calmed down enough to stop attacking Renji, and turned to the orange-haired, her demon aura rising to new levels, "You saw none of this."

Ichigo blinked, "I…saw none of this."

"Good," she tapped his arm with a small smile, her eyes continuing to glow their frightening red. Reaching down, she scooped up her bag, the bunny charm clinking every once and awhile. "See you guys later."

Ichigo raised a hand.

Renji gave a wave also from the ground, "Ja ne."

(why does he wish

when he knows it's useless)

The next time he saw her, she was walking in the graveyard.

And as he passed, glancing up at his mother's grave, he saw her walking through the graveyard, slim arms outstretched as if she were flying through the sky, like an angel.

His fists clenched hard in his pockets, but he walked towards her. When he was close enough, he saw she was wearing a pink jacket, zipped up, and bunny ears on the hood.

Her legs were not so lucky.

He felt his nose burn, close to a nosebleed.

Her pale ivory legs were exposed, long and slender, lean claves and soft thighs that his fingers itched to touch. The shorts she was wearing were way too short for public – but he vaguely couldn't blame her because it was over ninety degrees today, but still.

She had a very nice body, not just a beautiful, innocent face. Her breasts were full and large, larger than her pretty, pretty eyes and that said a lot. Her waist was small, but her hips flared out, causing her shape to appear akin to an hour-glass.

And it wasn't fair.

Ichigo's jaw clenched.

She did not say anything, and he knew why.

"What're you doing here?" he questioned quietly, "You should head home. It's already past six."

She merely blinked up at him before reaching down a hand to grasp onto the slim zipper of her jacket. Ichigo blinked this time, watching with absorbed engrossment as she pulled it down, subtle sweat glistening on her pale skin, as flesh was exposed and curves were burned into his mind, and he followed the trail of cleavage and a camisole that was too fucking small

He jerked the zipper back up. She blinked again as he pulled it to her chin.

Heat convulsed up his spine and lit up his face. He glanced away, mortified, as she watched curiously, oblivious. With a timid look, she brought the zipper back down a few inches.

And it was up the next millisecond.

Orihime tried once more, but Ichigo stopped her hand, clasping it firmly with his.

"Stop it," he grunted, and her eyes blinked up at him, too thick lashes surrounding the gaze.

And then, he watched in shock as she smiled. Just like that, she transformed from simply stunning to positively magnificent. Like the sun when it broke through the horizon, or then rain that came suddenly without any warning. He felt something go through him again, and he wasn't sure if it was a shiver or something else.

She did not laugh, but he felt it. He felt her happiness in the air, her mirth at his actions. Her smile widened until she was beaming, and the sun could not compare anymore.

With a hard swallow, and a jumping heart, he tightened his grip around her hand, pulled it from the zipper, and yanked her forcibly towards him. She was startled, and the smile fell until her lips formed a little 'o'. His fingers moved from her palm to her wrist – such a tiny, little thing – and tightened their grip.

"C'mon," he said, "I'll get you something cold to drink."


"You're flushed."

(when she smiles

the sun fails to light up his world)

"Lemonade or ice-tea?"

She glanced up at him, and seemed puzzled.

Ichigo sighed, running a hand through his thick, messy, damp hair, "Dammit. I should've brought some paper." Turning back to the shop clerk, he ordered two lemonades, paid, and Orihime watched curiously.

When he walked back to her, he pressed the cool can to her flush cheek. She jerked, but did not move away, instead gazing up at him with her wide, wide eyes. Ichigo sighed, and continued to hold it for her.

"So you can't speak?"

She shook her head silently.


Again, that look. That sad, soft look that made his insides hurt. Scowling, he pressed the can more firmly to her cheek. When she gave no motion to answer him, he grimaced.

"I have a feeling Chad would like you."

To his surprise, her lips moved. He had been staring at her eyes so he crooked a brow and stared at her lips. It was not uncomfortable to stare at her lips, but it made heat rise up his neck. She moved her rosy, plush lips again, and he understood.

"Chad?" He repeated for her, and she nodded, "He's my friend. I've known him for years now."

With that, she smiled softly and took the can from his hand. Her fingers brushed his softly, and the muscles in his arms clenched. With clumsy movements, she opened the can and it fizzed a bit, bubbles popping. She lurched in surprise.

Ichigo smirked at her reaction, "They sale weird lemonade here. It's kinda like soda."

She nodded quickly and sipped delicately. For a moment, he watched her. Innocent beauty and shy movements, and quiet. For once, he was glad for the quiet. That was what he'd thirsted for a while now, just peace and quiet. And even though she was bright under brighter hair, he felt like he could find it with her.

Turning back to the bored employee, he asked for a pen and paper. The employee gave it with no emotion crossing his face. He went back to the girl and placed it on her bare lap. She glanced up at him curiously.

"Your name," he said, "Write it down."

She blinked and then placed down the cold drink. As she scribbled on the paper, he watched her keenly, and when she was done, he felt something akin to desperation lick into his stomach, just to see what to call her. Silently, she handed it to him with her wide eyes and small face and long, heavy hair.


His eyes went across the paper, "Inoue…Orihime?"

She smiled.

"Orihime," he repeated softly.

And she beamed.

Softly, he smiled with her. It was awkward, but somehow endearing on his handsome face, "I'll remember that."

(her name

brings stars)

He twirled the pencil between his fingers and scowled.

Sitting in his room, he leaned over the wooden desk, and twirled the pencil again. He should be worried about his studies, he should be worried over the test tomorrow, he should be worried about colleges and completing his homework.

But he doesn't.

Instead, he worried, yes, he worried over that girl. With the long, russet hair, wide, wide honey eyes that peered up at him, plush lips that formed words that could not be spoken, and ivory, smooth skin. He had wanted to touch that skin, he had wanted to look into those eyes, he had wanted to touch that hair.

Suddenly, he leaned back in his desk chair and shouted, "Argh!" while mushing his hands against his face. He hadn't seen her in a week, a week where he scowled and worried and worried and scowled.

Sighing, he placed his pencil on the desk and stood. Most of the time, he could distract himself with something else or perhaps find a way to laugh with his friends. For some odd reason, though, he couldn't get the girl out of his head, couldn't stop thinking of when she smiled or her silence that he found so appealing, so brand new to his loud, fucked-up world.

As soon as he left the house, he felt the gust of hot wind and the stink of outside. Sighing once more, he started to walk slowly, hands tucked deep in pockets. Suddenly, something crunched underneath his foot. Frowning curiously, he glanced down and saw the sheet of paper. He plucked it up, examined, and scowled.

Orange hair, firm line of the mouth, and narrowed brown eyes.

Is this some kind of joke?

"Rukia…" he started to growl, but paused. No, this wasn't one of Rukia's drawings. She usually drew his nose crooked, but still called it a masterpiece. His nose was straight in this picture, but his eyes were off by a scant and his hair looked a bit redder than orange. He lifted his eyes only to see another drawing, a bit better, but also just as sloppy.

He followed the trail of drawings and only hoped someone else didn't pick them up. As he folded them into a neat stack, he grunted and growled.

Kill Rukia. No, it might be Keigo or Ishida…Or Chad, at that thought, he shook his head, No, Chad minds his own business. Plus, he doesn't even know how to fucking draw a circle.

So, it was decided, he would probably end up killing someone in the near future. As soon he reached the breach of the hill, just up his street, he watched the cherry blossom trees move and swish through the wind, pink petals catching his clothes and face.

And then he dropped the pictures.

Sitting under the cherry blossom tree, the redhead girl was curled into a ball, leaning against the tree as she leaned around and grabbed up an orange marker, scribbling on the paper she held in her lap with a small, pretty smile. His heart picked up speed and his stomach did little flips. As he walked closer, trying to gather the pictures once again, he scowled.

"What're you doing?"

She paused and glanced up curiously. Her lips moved silently, and he watched them, until he was able to make out the word, or name.

"Kurosaki…kun?" He frowned. He'd never been called that, well, once in elementary school, but that was it. "How'd you know my name?" He'd never told her, he was sure, he was never really focused on his name, he just wanted hers.

She frowned, her eyes growing before she pointed to her hand, holding it up for him to see, and then mouthed.

Ichigo repeated the word once again for her, "Bag…? You went through my bag?" His eyebrows furrowed, but he did not comment.

She nodded vigorously, her locks bouncing as she did so. Happily, she rose her small hands, both this time, and allowed him to see her artwork. It was just like the rest – him – and it was sloppy, but at least he could tell it was him.

"The hell…" He sighed, "Why're you drawing me?"

Her eyes widened a bit before she bit her bottom lip, averting her gaze. Ichigo instantly missed it on him, but tried not to reach out and grab her chin, just to force her to stare at him again. With a small movement, she brought down the picture and wrote something down in the corner before she raised it back to him.

"I…" He frowned, struggling to read it, "missed you…"

His frown deepened, but his stomach flipped. Licking his dry lips, he stared down at her pretty face, her cheeks redder than usual. But she was looking up at him, her lips parted, her eyes wide and earnest.

"Y-Yeah…" he scratched the back of his head awkwardly, allowing the thick, messy spikes to merge with his fingers, "…I did too."

First, surprise formed on her face before it slowly moved and she was smiling, and it was beautiful, and her lips stretched big. She was not laughing – like the last time – but he could feel it.

"Oi, are you making fun of me, Orihime?"

She glanced up at him and made an 'o' with her lips before shaking her head vehemently. Suddenly, she brought up her hands – such small things – as though to stop traffic. Ichigo watched curiously as she reached into the pink bag next to her and pulled out an apple, red and ripe like her cheeks. It was almost too big for her palm, but she held it out for him, like an offering for peace.

"No thanks," he replied, "I already ate."

She frowned, pouted really, and despite the circumstances, he thought it was cute. She bit into it, and it made a satisfying crunching sound. Daintily, she chewed on it, and then swallowed. With a soft smile, Ichigo found himself leaning down to her.

With petals stuck in her long hair, hibiscus clips holding back her bangs, non-matching clothes, pink skirt and neon green shirt, and pale skin, he found her the most beautiful.

He snagged her delicate wrist – small, delicate thing – and took a bite, exactly where she took hers. It was sweet, but probably sweeter because of her. He glanced back at her as he chewed, and she licked her lips before another smile lit up her face.


It had never been so nice.

(oddly, he can't keep away

and he doesn't want to)

He wasn't sure when it happened.

When he'd established a relationship with her.

Perhaps it was when he'd first met her, or when she drunk his lemonade, or when she told him her name, or when she tripped and stained his favorite pair of jeans with ketchup, or when she touched and pulled his hair for attention, or when she made a bento for him with Jell-O sandwiches and wasabi/red bean dip. He didn't question it, and he didn't find it really important.

Friendship was a good thing between them. She was simple to understand. His friends didn't understand; they all liked Inoue, but they did not understand how he could completely communicate with her. Ichigo's eyes narrowed. Communicating was never a problem between the two, sometimes Ichigo felt like he could tell what she was thinking, or what she tried to say in certain predicaments. As he'd said, it was easy to be with her.

The only difficult thing was her. He liked her. And not the like he would usually use to express his like for Rukia – which was limited – no, he really, really liked her. He liked her hair, he liked her style, he liked her pretty, innocent looks, he liked her embarrassing falls and rapid, non-spoken words, and he liked her silence. As weird as that sounded, he did like how quiet it was between him, since Ichigo was a man of few words, and she did not speak at all, their relationship was easy. But it was getting harder to control, harder to ignore. When he stared too long, she would glance up curiously, blush, and it would become awkward, quiet, but awkward. And when he said something he'd been thinking in his head for too long, she would flush a delicious red, and stare at him shyly. He waited for those moments, but he also dreaded them. He was glad she didn't go to his school; apparently, when she wrote it down on his arm – which he didn't want to wash off, for he liked her clumsy scrawl, but did anyway – she went to a private, all-girls' school, and he rarely saw her during weekdays. But when he did, they would walk together, and he'd leave her on the corner, where she insisted. Of course he worried, and he never got to see her home, but being with Orihime, if just this way, was enough.


Breaking from his thoughts, Ichigo turned his head to see Renji. The redhead jerked a thumb to the door. Lunch was starting.

"Inoue is here."

His eyes widened.

"And she's creating a crowd."

The orange-haired was out of his seat before he knew it.

(he was there

always there, she'd begun to realize)

He stripped from his tie, and loosened a couple of buttons, exposing his blue shirt underneath. Ishida's eyes tightened as he watched his friend walk past him and the rambling Rukia – she was speaking of her rabbit at home and Ishida did not care – this is bad, he thought.

"Huh?" Rukia grimaced, "Ichigo?" Of course, being the good friend she was, she followed. Ishida sighed, readjusted his glasses, and followed also. He was Student President, and he didn't have a problem reporting anyone.

When Ichigo made it to the forming crowd in the courtyard, he saw Chad standing there, safely perched a few feet from Inoue, ready to break anyone that touched her. Too bad people had already started to grow wild.

Ichigo's eyes widened again and he came to a slow stop. He hadn't seen her in the all-girls' school uniform in a while. It was navy blue, a jumper that was short – it barely reached her knees – and a white shirt underneath, the red bow at the neck looped, the design for a girl, and the white socks that went up her calves, and the school's logo on her left short, white sleeve. But the material was made out of the best kinds, and Ichigo did not want to know how much it costs.

She stood there awkwardly, her knees slightly pressed together and her hands clenched under her chin. Ichigo nearly snarled when he heard a voice. Too close to her, and then the words.

"…don't go here?" he heard the rough voice, "What's wrong? Scared? Don't worry. I'll be gentle." Ichigo had probably fought the guy before, his ugly blonde hair was visible. A couple other guys backed him up, laughing as the leader got closer to Orihime, who took a few steps back, eyes widening.

I'll be here.

Ichigo's eyes tightened.

"Damn, you're hot," he heard the man muse, "You've got nice legs." He grabbed onto her wrist and Orihime gave a small, silent gasp as Sado moved, fully prepared to step in.

Too late.

The foot slammed into the side of the guy's head. A shout of surprise and pain rose from the guy, and he landed on the ground hard. Before he could lift his bruised and battered face, Ichigo slammed his foot again into the back of the teenager's head.

"Bastard," Ichigo grounded out roughly, "Don't fucking touch her."

Orihime's eyes grew larger.

Another foot came out of nowhere, and landed on someone else – who had been behind the blonde guy – Rukia spun in mid-air as the guy fell, slamming down onto the ground, just like his friend. The black haired girl whirled around to face Orihime.

"Are you alright, Inoue?" She asked worriedly. She glanced at the student she had kicked, "You better not have damaged her cuteness!" Ishida sweat-dropped; of course Rukia would said something like that.

Orihime blinked at her and then offered a small, nervous smile, but it was pretty, and she was fine. Rukia bought it, but Ichigo did not. Leaving the unconscious male on the ground, Ichigo walked over to Orihime, and held out his palm.

She blinked again, and looked up at him.

"Let me see your wrist," he didn't miss the way she tried to hide it behind her back. He was not an idiot – no matter how many times Rukia and Ishida called him that. She opened her mouth – but of course, nothing will come out – but Ichigo jerked his palm towards her, cutting off whatever she was going to mouth.

Rukia's eyes widened. Wow…he really does…

Timidly, Orihime brought out her small, tiny thing of a hand and Ichigo took it gently – a great contrast to what he'd just bestowed upon the blonde guy – and scowled when he saw the red ring around her wrist. Orihime lifted her free hand and poked the wrinkled skin between his brows, peering up at him curiously.

At these actions, murmurs rose around them. The scowl deepened as he turned, his glare harsh enough to burn a hole through someone's head, "What the hell are you all looking at?" He barked furiously.

Instantly, it was quiet.

"And I suggest," Ishida prompted heavily into the silence and students jumped, "if you all don't want detention for a week, to disperse." Of course, everyone listened to the President and rushed back to class, lunch, or wherever the hell they went during this time. Ichigo looked back towards Orihime, who was staring up at him with her wide, wide eyes.

"Ishida," Ichigo called shortly, refusing to break eye-contact with the girl, "I'm skipping."

Ishida nodded, pushing up his glasses, "I'll give an excuse to the teachers."

Sado gave a thumbs-up, "…I'll get your homework."

"I'll give you a copy of my notes."

"Thanks," Ichigo said and Rukia shrugged, Sado resumed his thumbs-up, and Ishida turned away. "C'mon, Orihime," he grabbed her arm carefully and then yanked her to him. She followed without a protest. The friends watched the two leave the school yard and vanish from their gazes.

Renji, oblivious, walked towards the group, "Oi, oi, oiiiiii!" He raised a lazy hand over his head to wave at them. He had failed to notice the blonde in front of him, and his foot hit the big guy's head. Renji paused and looked down at the limp body, "W-WHAT THE SHIT!"

The trio watched as Renji bent down and grabbed the man by his shirt, lifting him from the ground easily.

"Thank, Kami-sama!" The upperclassman howled in relief, for his face had gone through the concrete. "I thought I was going to diiiieeee~!"

"Oh. If it isn't Reiichi." Renji grimaced at him. "Ya know what?" The redhead dropped him, "I'm not even gonna ask."

Rukia, Sado, and Ishida sweat-dropped.

(maybe it was because she had

specks of gold in her amber eyes)

Ichigo was pissed.

Well, more than pissed, and he didn't usually get that way.

It was odd. He'd only felt like this once in his entire life, and that was when his mother died from that terrible illness, and he'd hated himself for not taking better care of her. But now he was angry for a completely different reason, he was angry with her, yes, but he was also furious of the thought of someone else's hands on her. On her soft skin and delicate bones and pretty, pretty face.

His eyes tightened.


He felt a sharp tug on his shirt when he passed the street leading to his home. He glanced at her over his shoulder as saw her anxious, confused expression. He did not stop his walking, though and she tried to keep up.

"We're going to your house, Orihime."

She jerked in shock and shook her head vehemently, trying to wrench her arm from his grip. He held tight.

"We are," he growled out, "Stop fighting and hiding things from me." She struggled unhappily with him, and they seemed to play tug-of-war for a while before Ichigo growled in frustration. Stooping over – and confusing Orihime, who paused in surprise – he grabbed onto her full hips, lifted her easily, and placed the girl on his strong shoulder. Orihime gasped sharply and flailed, her face catching fire. And Ichigo continued to walk as if she weighed nothing. When she finally stopped wiggling, he tightened his grip around her smooth, creamy thighs and tried to push down the blush threatening to consume his cheeks.

"Boke," he sighed, "You should know better than to fight me. And come to my school."

She did not reply or move.

"Did someone bully you?"

She raised a foot and shook it.

He crooked a brow.

"Were you hungry?"

Another shake.


Her foot hesitated and then dropped.

He decided to let it go as he stopped at her apartment. She pulled his sleeve when she saw it was hers, just to confirm his theory. As he let her down gently, but kept his hands on her shoulders, he asked,

"Are you parents here?"

She shook her head, giving a small smile.

Both his brows went up this time, "Not even your mom?"

That same soft, sad look crossed her face and then passed, as if it weren't there. She reached into her dark brown bag and pulled out her customary pen and paper. As she wrote something, her eyebrows wrinkled together and she turned it in her palm for his eyes to read.

"…I don't have…any parents…" He grimaced almost instantly and locked eyes with hers, "What the fuck do you mean? Who do you live with?"

She made an 'o' with her lips and scribbled down something before presenting it to him again.

"No one…?" To her surprise, he gripped her arm again and jabbed a finger to the apartment, "Go to your apartment, show the way." And she did, and by time they made it 403, she slid in the key and Ichigo pushed her gently inside. With the light switched on, it was quiet, but bright, and that was enough for him.


So very quiet.

"Sorry for intruding," he muttered, slipping off his shoes on the genkan.

As he stepped further into the room, he saw it was also small. A television was in front of the room, and stuffed animals were around the shelves in the room. The kotastu table was directly in the center, along with pink pillows and a tan sofa in the corner, facing the TV. When he turned his head, he was shocked to see a memorial, the picture, and small offerings.

On the corner of the shrine were chibi faces and carved words,

Sora-nii + Hime-chan forever!

Ichigo's hands tightened into fists.

No parents…no brother…

Slowly, he turned his head to face her. A white paper blocked her face, but her small hands clenched around the paper and quavered. He stepped forward and read the words out loud.

"I'm lonely."

The paper ripped in her trembling grip and fell to the floor.

Quivering lips, red cheeks, and tears.


The tears continued, and fell, like rain that would never stop. She bit her bottom, shaking lip and lowered her wet eyes to the ground. She lifted her small hands – soft gasping noises leaving her lips – and pressed her palms to her leaking eyes, her small body shaking.

Stop crying.

Her lips opened, as if to sob, but she could not.

Stop crying.

A tear fell on her brown, school shoe, and another, and another.

Stop fucking crying.

Without another thought, he stalked towards her.

Screw the consequences.

Gripping her wet chin, he forced her face upwards. She paused from her shaking and the wide, teary gaze met his.

Her hands hovered between them, unsure, and he grunted softly,

I'm lonely.

"Not anymore,"

With that, he leaned down and kissed her.

(but if you keep

doing this, I'll become addicted)

Her lips were soft and pliant under his. She did not fight or struggle, but her eyes were wide open, and staring into his. When he leaned away, she gasped and grabbed onto his shirt, pulling him back.

He moved closer and lifted a hand to touch her head gently, allowing the orange-red strands to fall through his fingers. He was glad she did not freak out over him touching her so familiarly and did not fight when he kissed her. He knew her like the back of his hand, really. He knew she ate peculiar foods, she watched TV a lot, but was not lazy, and she wore weird, bright colors, and smiled even when she was sad – which wasn't often – and she disliked hot days and loved the rain. He knew her favorite color was brown and it was because the color of his eyes, and she did not like pizza with onions but with red bean paste. And he knew she wasn't always 'alright', as she would write on paper, that she missed her voice and she wanted to speak.

"I'll be your voice," he murmured against her smooth forehead.

She was quiet.

"I'll be your voice," he repeated softly, "I'll talk for you. Even if you forget how, Orihime."

She tightened her grip in his shirt, but leaned back so he could see her face. She was smiling and it was soft, but happy. Again, her eyes filled with tears, thick and warm and trailing like rain.

"I'll be here for you, and I'll stay with you," he continued and tightened his hand in her hair. He did not say the magic words, but her smile widened. "So fall in love with me. Fall in love with me and I'll—" To his surprise, she leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him again. Her lips made him lose his tight grip on control.

He leaned into the kiss, a groan stuck in his throat until she became limp under him. He dropped his free hand to her waist, squeezed, and pulled her closer. She was so soft and warm and he wished to feel more. He pressed his lips harder against hers, gaining control of the kiss. She gasped at the ferocity as his tongue swept through her mouth. His toes curled as she clung to him, pulling him closer to her yielding lips. When he pulled back, and she was flushed, but smiling.

She mouthed the words.

His world wouldn't stop spinning.


(I could take you

away from here)


His eyes fluttered.


"…The hell…?"

He peeled his eyelids back, but was unable to see anything. Something was covering his eyes, and after a second he realized it was someone's thin arm. When he peeled that out of the way, he felt the warmth emitting from the person next to him. Instantly, he felt a nosebleed coming.

He wasn't able to sit up with her positioned like this. Her arm – the one he'd move from his eyes – had maneuvered to his mid-section and squeezed there. The other – her hand – was attached limply to his hair, small fingers sinking into the spiky locks. Her legs were another problem; one leg was draped across his waist and lifted the burrowed shirt a few inches on his stomach – he'd burrowed the shirt from Orihime, who said it was Sora's – and the other was pressed against his.

She was like a monkey almost, clutching to him so tight. He scowled and tried to rein down the blush in his cheeks, neck, and ears. He knew he shouldn't have agreed to spend over, especially when they hadn't even established a relationship and when she was too irresistible to not touch. Carefully, he maneuvered his way to the end of the bed, and sat up. Orihime did not move for a few seconds and Ichigo got an eyeful of her naked legs, dainty shorts the other things covering her necessary assets, and a long-sleeved, loose shirt.

Despite the circumstances, he smiled softly at her sleeping, drooling, beautiful face. When her tiny, desperate hands started to grab for him in the empty sheets, he took an extra pillow and wedged it in his spot. Instantly, she calmed, and the furrow between her brows vanished.


His head shot up and his eyes narrowed.

He knew something had woken him up. Standing, he readjusted the draw-string pants on his hips; they were slung low and he knew Sora was slightly bigger than he. He creaked open Orihime's bedroom door and padded down the hallway, cursing on the way.


It was coming from the front door. Carefully, he squinted in the dark and stalked towards it, ready to kick anyone's ass. He unlocked the door, peeled it back, and opened his mouth to yell at—

He blinked. A girl – who oddly reminded him of Rukia – stood in the entrance, a hard look in her dark eyes. She had short, spiky hair and lean with a strong body. She was also dressed in the navy blue jumper of Orihime's school, so he did not yell at her, yet. She stared up at Ichigo defiantly and crooked both narrow eyebrows.

"Are you Kurosaki Ichigo?"

He crossed his arms over his chest, "Yeah."

Much like Rukia, she lifted a leg with a battle cry, threw her body into the air, and caught Ichigo's chest with her small foot. Ichigo cried out in shock as his body was thrown backwards and he skidded to a stop on the carpeted floor, a few feet away.

When he regained his senses, he lifted up with a growl, "What the hell was th—" He was jerked up by the shirt and another hand slapped over his mouth. He met the girl's narrowed eyes.

"You'll wake her up," she hissed, "C'mon." She dragged his limp body to the doorway, glanced around suspiciously, and continued.

(if I told you now

would you care)

Ichigo glanced over at her with a somber gaze.

"So that's what happened."

Tatsuki – as she introduced herself after another roundhouse kick – licked her lower lip. They sat on the swings together, not even a block from Orihime's apartment.

"Sora was a very important person in her life, her brother. That's how she lost her voice. When he'd crashed the car, she was with him, and she didn't have any injuries, but when I came to the hospital, she wouldn't speak. The doctors called this some kind of trauma, but I knew it was something else," she brought in a deep breath, "That was seven years ago…"

Ichigo sighed. "It's not your fault."

"I know!" Tatsuki snapped, and Ichigo had a feeling Rukia and her would be good friends. "And it's not her fault either!"

"I know that," Ichigo snapped back.

"Well, act like it, idiot!"

"Damn you…!"

She sighed and looked away, her anger dissolving, "Anyways, when she came to school one day, all excited and shining," she scoffed and slanted him a look, "I was confused. She was only like that with Sora, and I asked her at lunch. She drew you, and I thought you looked like an ogre, though she isn't that good in drawing. She wrote down what you were like and smiled and I was shocked."

Ichigo scowled and crossed his arms over his chest.

"She was never like this with anyone. You remind her of him," she blinked and looked at him again, "You remind her of Sora." Softly, she smiled, "I'm glad."

It was silent for a few moments, "Me too."

"Glad we could finally talk," she stood and stretched, "Oh, yeah," she turned to him, seeming to remember something. Sweetly and slowly, she smiled and Ichigo felt a shudder run up his spine, "What were you doing at her home so late again?"


Her fists crunched.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that."



Damn, he was tired of eating dirt.

(spring time is


A finger tapped his shoulder.

Ichigo lifted his heavy head from the desk and blinked weary eyes.

"What is it, Rukia?"

"She's here for you."

Ichigo shot up from his chair and grabbed his things, just like every day. Rukia rolled her eyes, the idiot should be used to it by now.

Renji watched his friend leave the room, just after everyone else since the bell had already rung.

"Goodbye wild heaven," he said mysteriously, with a strange somber tone. Ishida looked up from his book, Sado frowned, and Rukia's eyebrow twitched.



When he'd arrived, she already had a sign for him prepared.

Kurosaki-kun, good afternoon.

Leaning down, he captured her lips in a fiery kiss and allowed her to become soft under his touch. When he leaned back inspect his work, he found her cheeks warm and flaming and her eyes fluttering.

"Yo," he said in reply, taking her bag from her so he could carry his and hers.

She was used to this, so she did not fuss.

"Hungry?" he crooked a brow.

She nodded.

"Good," he smirked and they began to walk together.

Silence filled the air between them.

And for him, that was enough.

(summer's coming, she would whisper

yeah, he would reply)

YAY! I finished. Just like all my other, well, most of them, one-shots, they're long and longer than that, but I know most of you like them that way. Anyways, I hoped you liked it, I spent a great deal of my time making this one. I had made it a couple of months ago, but I could never find the right ending.

I think this is good, but I had been thinking Orihime should talk, but nope. She's an original character this way and it would be kind of cliché if I just made her speak at the end, but I did leave sort of a hint that she would one day in the last two lines.

Please review. It makes wasps explode in my belly…Oh, wait. I mean, butterflies.