title. mad, madder, madness
disclaimer. Bleach © Kubo
warning! post-canon, language, strong mature content, one sided (other)pairings, and Hichi! i am not a proofreader expert so there WILL be mistakes ok
note. o wow 2 updates in 1 month, go me! o right, this iz old, lying somewhere in my folder, forgotten, but was revived! this iz a companion piece/sequel to chocolate mock tale no. 14. Posted separately because it gotten too long
ok now proceed with caution amigos! this is just wacky and Ichigo's … heh, he's got some issues ;p thank u v. much! xx
At eleven forty five, the bell rang.
With unnecessary force, he tore off the page, crinkling the edges. Later, he crumpled the ruled paper, the third unfinished letter, shoved it to his pocket and grabbed his bag.
She did not look up as he passed.
In a hallway, there were five stripes of sunlight and five stripes of shadow between them.
"Let's go, Orihime. The girls are waiting outside."
Tatsuki and Rukia exchanged nods and spun around, Tatsuki trailing after Orihime, Rukia trudging behind Ichigo.
The distance stretched longer – six stripes of light, seven, eight, nine.
At four forty five, the bell rang.
Students sprang to their feet, chatting and packing their things, some shuffling out of the room to the hallway.
"Hey, you ready to go?"
Orihime raised her head and smiled up to Tatsuki with a nod. "Ishida-kun will take me to the ice-cream store. Do you want to come?"
It had been going on for around one week and a half but Tatsuki still found it bizarre. Don't get her wrong; Ishida was definitely a good guy. She thought it was probably because she had known for years how Orihime felt for a certain orange-haired boy.
She was not a romantic, but even she believed in things like true love and happy endings. Sometime ago, she dreamed once — that love was worth it.
At the thought of her childhood friend, Tatsuki felt her brow crease in irritation. That bloody idiot… When will he notice?
"I see." Tatsuki shrugged. "Well, I don't want to be the boring third wheel so I'll skip."
She had already started towards the door, saying over her shoulder, "See ya on Monday. Call me if you wanna hang out tomorrow. Enjoy your date." She wrinkled her nose. "But not too much," she added, grimacing inwardly. Orihime laughed lightly before returning to the task of packing her books. Tatsuki slowed down and eventually stopped, glancing at the center of the room from the corner of her eye with caution.
Rukia was standing by Ichigo's desk, arms crossed.
Sticking a hand in her bag to appear as if she was busy with something, Tatsuki strained to hear a snippet of their conversation.
"You go ahead." Ichigo was saying.
"It's okay. I'll wait."
"No need. I need to have a quick word with the captain of the soccer club."
Tatsuki stopped feigning and strode quickly over the door. Just as she left the doorway, Ichigo stepped out, appearing at her shoulder, startling her. He frowned at her, looking bemused, and then gave her a nod before trudging off, disappearing into the noisy crowd.
The vision faded, reality seeped in. Orihime shook her head, wistful, and put on a smile as she turned to face the speaker.
Ishida wore a small apologetic smile. "I'm sorry. There's going to be a slight delay. The student council is going to have a meeting."
"Oh. Is there something wrong?"
"Just a quick conference for the graduation." Ishida averted his gaze, looking awkward. His glasses caught late afternoon sunlight. For a second, she saw amber eyes, not blue. Her breath seized inside her lungs.
"Do you mind waiting for me?" he asked, now looking at her, still looking self-conscious.
Orihime blinked, saw blue eyes, breathed, and smiled.
"I don't mind." Ishida looked visibly relieved. "I'll be in the library, Ishida-kun. Or you can just text me to tell me where to meet you!"
Ishida nodded. "I apologized again for the inconvenience."
She waved off his apology. "It's alright! Really, I don't mind waiting at all."
"See you later, then?"
As she turned to leave, Orihime caught a slight crack in Ishida's unruffled expression. Studying his face, she stepped closer to him. "Ishida-kun?" she said. "Are you okay?"
He opened his mouth to reply, paused and inhaled. He then gave her a grave look, the one he wore when he asked to walk her home two weeks ago.
Orihime started when Ishida put a hand on her shoulder, eyes growing wide at the shortening distance between their faces. Stiffening, she was hit by a sudden barrage of memories, blazing eyes and constellation of scars. They triggered a rush of emotions, a dam bursting inside her, swallowing up her heart, swollen with pain and longing and love until she felt full, drowning in her own memories.
She was drifting away, seeing brown eyes and orange hair, feeling hot skin under her fingertips, her lips, between her teeth. Broad hands on her ribs, hips and thighs, arms caging her in, protecting her.
A small smile in the dark. Then.
A squeeze on her shoulder brought her back to the present, the agonizing reality.
Out of breath, Orihime refocused her gaze and saw Ishida's eyes, the way he looked at her as though waiting for consent.
She was not ready for this, still bearing the marks he had left in and on her. And inside of her lived a part of him. In her veins, in her heart, she cradled them with care. She was not ready to let them go, did not want to let them go, will not let them go. This stubbornness made her wake up at nights crying, frustrated, aching, missing him and wishing he was there with her.
But she had promised to herself that she will move on. She had to begin somewhere if she wanted to recover from heartbreak. Because no matter how hard your heart was broken, the world will not stop for your grief.
Orihime smiled in encouragement, even though her body, all of her being, craved for someone else's face, touch and presence.
A look of relief lit up Ishida's face, although he tried to project a cool façade. Very softly, he pressed a gentle kiss to her lips, the touch lingering for a few seconds before pulling away.
"Thank you," said Ishida.
Numb, Orihime nodded wordlessly.
"I'll see you later." She managed another nod, afraid to open her mouth, afraid she'll speak of someone else's name.
As he walked away, Orihime was not seeing Ishida's back, hair and posture. Saddened and ashamed, she shook her head to banish the image.
When she allowed Ishida to kiss her, Orihime had hoped for passion, prayed for a blast of feelings, wished for her heart to race, her breath to catch. Anything would have sufficed. Just to prove she was not as ruined as she thought she was.
But to her genuine dismay, she only felt guilt and shame. For when he kissed her, she saw a glimpse of orange hair and eyes dark with both savageness and tenderness.
Squeezing her eyes shut, she pushed the pictures away, wishing she was as strong as him. It was so easy for him to forget, to simply end things between them. He acted as if nothing had happened. As if they did not happen. As if everything was just a hazy, insignificant dream. So easy to forget.
Orihime smiled sadly. He had always been the strong one.
"Alright, I'm off to the library," she mumbled to herself as she swung around, brushing away some hair from her face.
Suddenly, Orihime staggered with a gasp, breath catching as she finally realized she was not alone in the corridor for the entire time.
Oh, why, why didn't she feel his presence? With the way his reiatsu was pulsing, it was impossible to miss him.
Fingers curling tighter around the strap of her schoolbag, she shook. Her breathing had fractured, choppy. Even the pulses in her neck and wrists were uneven, the throbbing visible underneath pale skin.
Mouth dry, body taut, Orihime raised her head, shoulders and breasts lifting and dropping at every breath she took. Despite the searing strength of his reiatsu, she relished it hungrily. Sometimes feeling it from afar would make her feel sad, reminding her of their distance. Yet it made her feel safe and content, wrapping around her like the warmest blanket.
Wetting her dry lips, she watched as he lifted his chin, tracing the length of her legs with his eyes. Her thighs trembled at the heated storm in his eyes. Blood pounded through her veins, gathering between her legs.
Finally, their eyes met. Orihime caught her breath. A violent tremor tore through her, streaking straight to her core with a force that made her wobble backwards and shudder.
Anger, heat, desperation, lust, betrayal, hurt – all of these were present in his eyes, each as strong as the other.
"You kissed him."
"Wh-What?" she stammered.
Ichigo pushed himself off the wall.
Ishida was and will be always be his friend.
But his hollow thought differently. It didn't care if Ishida was a friend or foe; he fucking touched his woman and it wanted to make Ishida bleed.
He and his hollow were one, two sides of one coin. And as much as he hated to admit it, Ichigo did feel the same. He did it before, didn't he? He had hurt Ishida before, made him bleed before. But this time, he was conscious.
He wanted to hurt him.
Sometimes it was frightening how truly in sync he and his hollow had become. The more terrifying thing was that Ichigo did not mind anymore. He even, to some degree, trusted his hollow. How fucked up was that?
I don't give a shit about your trust issues, it snarled. I want that woman. And I want that bastard dead. Do you hear me?! Or do you want me to do it for you?
Ichigo ground his teeth, fighting off the bloodlust, cursing himself. He really was fucking bastard. What had he become? Had he really sunk so low that he'd hurt a friend over a girl?
But that's the problem. She was not just a girl. She was never just a girl. She was the girl. And she will always be the girl. And because of that, his basest instinct was screaming for blood.
It was a cruel twist of fate.
He wasn't stalking Orihime, he really wasn't. In fact, after the quick discussion (of payment) with the soccer captain, he had taken into strolling without thought, too busy brooding to notice his surroundings.
Not busy enough, though, because he heard her voice, that sweet, hypnotizing sound, and he followed it like a shark after a droplet of blood.
"It's alright! Really, I don't mind waiting at all."
"See you later, then?"
To say he missed her was a stupid understatement. His body, his senses, everything he was, every fucking molecule in his body yearned for her. Her voice, her odd stories, her laughter, the way she ate her weird food, even the way she blinked and breathed – he missed all of that. He could not stand her absence. He needed her, needed to hear her voice, her laughter, needed to see the light reflected in her eyes, in her luminous hair.
But he needed her safe. And her association with him will only endanger her.
He would not be selfish. He will never give his enemies the slightest chance of hurting her because of her connection to him.
Ichigo was a very determined man. His number one priority will always be the safety of his loved ones. His happiness mattered little to him. He had learned so early in life the pain of losing someone because of powerlessness. He would not let it happen again.
That's why when he broke up with her a month ago, two days after a surprise attack from a group of vengeful arrancar, even when she pleaded, tears wetting her cheeks, making her five times more beautiful, he didn't relent.
Even when he felt like crying himself, he didn't cave.
"I'm sorry. All this time, I was – I was a responsibility. I'm so sorry, Ichi– Kurosaki-san, for the inconvenience. Thank you for being honest with me."
He was strong man, a man of strength. But when Ishida and Orihime had started to spend more time together, Ichigo felt his world tremble. When she gave Ishida a chance, his world had collapsed.
And now, he had witnessed their kiss, and all he wanted was to punch something, kill something, devour something.
Before he could give in to his hollow's violent urging, he ducked out of sight, and forcefully smothered his leaking reiatsu. The last thing Ichigo wanted was to be found, confront, charge forward and hurt Ishida. His hollow had clawed and banged against his subconscious but Ichigo held himself back. He loved Orihime and he wanted her to himself but he will never hurt her on purpose by hurting Ishida.
As soon as he felt Ishida's presence leave, he emerged from where he hid and leaned against a wall. Taking deep breaths, Ichigo watched Orihime, her hair almost crimson under the strips of red sunlight.
As tormented and hurt as he was, the sight of her calmed him down. Tracking the flutter of dazzling hair across her face, he wondered if she missed him as much as he missed her.
Of course not, he thought bitterly, remembering the scene he had stumbled upon. At that thought, he glared at the floor, wanting to hate her but can't. It was not her fault that he was a weak, faltering idiot who could not properly protect the girl he loved.
When she turned towards him, he braced himself, fortifying his defenses. But his eyes wandered, gazing hungrily at her legs before looking up to her face, their eyes meeting. The eye contact was staggering. Ichigo felt as though a hand tore through him, seized his heart and twisted it like a wet towel – over and over.
Clenching his fists, he cursed himself for being goddamn weak that with just one look, he felt his world crumble and get alive at the same time. All the twisted feelings and reasons came flooding at the sight of her.
She fucking ruined him. He let her fucked him up.
In his distress, he spoke without thinking.
"You kissed him." He had no right to accuse her as if she betrayed him but at the moment he did not care.
He pushed himself off the wall and said through clenched teeth, "You fucking kissed him."
Shaking off her surprise, Orihime averted her gaze. "Y-Yes, I did."
Ichigo ground his molars, blew out a curse and ran a hand through his hair, messing it more. He needed to kill something. Someone, Ichigo. Kill someone – kill that bastard who touched our woman! He easily ignored his hollow's hissed suggestion and focused on Orihime.
This was the first time they got alone together since that night a month ago. They were careful not to attract attention from their friends. So, even though the sight of the other hurt, they spent time with their friends, vigilantly avoiding to be seated next to each other. The agony was unbearable, a physical and mental pain. They could not stand each others' presences but both yearned to touch the other. The distance was unbearable yet they stayed away from each other.
It was a cycle, a painful, twisted, shitty cycle they fell into.
He needed to get out of that damn cycle lest he lose his mind and start doing something he'll regret later.
"Why?" Ichigo had no right to ask but he was not able to stop himself. The answer was painfully obvious. He must be some sort of a sick masochist. Or perhaps he got addicted to pain because he still asked.
A small smile spread over her face, sweet with a hint of sadness. The sight of it made the emptiness inside him become deeper.
"I wanted to know if it would feel the same as when you kissed me."
Ichigo went rigid. Fuck. And shuddered and tingled all over that he shook, cursed and gritted his teeth. His hollow shifted, growled, hissed.
"And did it feel the same?" he asked quietly, clenching and unclenching his fists in an effort to calm himself. If he wasn't careful, he might end up taking her against the nearest flat surface if she so much as licked her lips.
"I can't remember," she answered, voice shaky. "It's been a long time since you last kissed me."
In big, heavy steps, he was flush against her, strong arms like steel bands around her, their bags on the floor.
Orihime gasped, trembling at the sweltering warmth pressed against her. Her hands landed on his sides, fingers digging deep until she could feel every pulse that ran through his muscles. Closing her eyes, she bit her lip, feeling very afraid he'll change his mind and leave.
She remembered wanting so badly to touch him, wishing for a simple hi, a nod or a one-second glance from him that she cried at times. Gripping the back of his shirt, Orihime pressed her face on his shoulder, taking in his scent and warmth, committing this moment to memory.
A hand stole under her thick hair to cup the back of her neck, tilting back and lifting her head.
"Orihime." She shivered at his tone as she opened her eyes. When was the last time he spoke her name?
With his other hand, Ichigo cupped her cheek, his gentleness a sharp contrast to the savage hunger in his eyes.
"I'll help you remember."