Dance With Me
A lot late, I know, but the song Shut Up and Dance by WALK THE MOON just struck inspiration combined with the challenge of 'Dance with Snow White'.
I DO NOT OWN BLEACH! OR ANYTHING ELSE!
"Scared Midget?" Ichigo deftly dodged the kick aimed for his shin. He knew she hadn't meant to actually land the strike simply because she allowed him the spare second needed to do so.
"Are you?" She returned, keeping an eye out for her brother. If he caught them, Ichigo would take the brunt of his irritation while she would suffer his looks of disappointment.
Rukia did not want this night ruined simply because her brother was unhappy with her choice of suitors. Really, after everything they had been though, who else would she choose? Ichigo and she were so much more than anything that could be easily explained that denying what was between them would only make them both miserable.
"Not with you," he replied. He was also keeping an eye out for anyone that would ruin this for them.
His father would embarrass the both of them. So would a number of their friends, a few without meaning to but he still had no patience to deal with them on this very important night. Ichigo felt he would have enough to deal with Byakuya and Kenpachi.
Byakuya, because the man disliked (Ichigo did not think the man actually hated him) him and they were circumventing any say he had in the matter of Rukia's future as it pertained to significant others. Kenpachi, because that slice of insanity was very much a dog with a bone whenever Ichigo was around and not involved in a fight already.
There was no doubt whatsoever that they were going to gain the attention of every spiritually aware person within a hundred miles by the time they were finished. Renji, Chad, Nel, and Yoruchi had already taken up their positions to keep Hollows from interrupting. Ishida had drawn the short straw and was keeping the living side (or those who remained in the Living World at least) of their group occupied. Grimmjow (and Ichigo hoped the 'reformed' Arrancar refrained from going too overboard) was Ishida's counterpart in Soul Society.
Both were very well aware, however, that once they entered Shikai it would send out alerts. When they proceeded into Bankai, there would be fits and people would be a rush to find out why. That reason alone was why they needed the distractions. They had to finish what they were planning once they began or everything would unravel.
Neither of them wanted to live in a world where even after the villain had been defeated he still won. Neither of them wanted to suffer through being powerless again.
So, they were going to finish what Rukia had begun when she first stabbed him with Sode no Shirayuki. As it had been explained to them by members of the Zero Squad, that connection would always be there no matter what occurred. What they had planned would fully and completely bind their souls together in this life and every life that came after it. Such an action was desperate and a decision to take such an action had not been easily done.
When Ichigo looked at Rukia however, he saw his future in her eyes. This was their chance, in this life, to get it right. This was their chance to stop whatever power there was out there that wanted them separated. Ichigo felt, deep in his chest, in his heart, that he and Rukia were what were best for each other. They fought, sometimes they rarely agreed on anything, held vastly different opinions on certain things, but there was no one Ichigo trusted more in anything. Rukia was his destiny.
For her part, Rukia felt much the same way about Ichigo. He rarely listened to her about certain things, there were times he still ran off half-cocked thinking he was invincible, but he also always came back. In her heart, she knew there was no one else for her. He was her partner, her protector, her other half. Even if they did not do this, they would still be the other half to the other's whole.
She took his arm. They were already out of their Gigai, a fact she had not been pleased with when she found out. Ichigo already had the music (not that it mattered, the dance was what was important) going. It was something they could fall into without it distracting them from the ritual.
"Last chance to back out," he commented, although his grip said he was only going to let go if she said so.
"Don't you dare look back," she said as she moved closer to him. "Just keep your eyes on me."
His grin was absolutely idiotic, but Rukia doubted hers held any more intelligence.
It felt odd, at first, to dance in their uniforms. They had practiced in nothing more than their usual human clothing, not wanting to alert anyone or chance accidentally starting the ritual by practicing otherwise.
"You're holding back," he teased her with a smirk as they moved.
"Shut up and dance, fool," she told him, whispering her shikai release as he spun her. Not all of them had enough power to constantly be in Shikai, and pretty much everyone else could contain their power to seal their blades. It was a point she liked to tease him on, since no matter what Ichigo did he could not keep his power below Shikai.
Vaguely, they registered the song changing. Their concentration was more focused on how their energies were swirling together in whirls of black and white. The power wasn't blending together so much as the colors were twisting and twining around each other into a continuous loop.
They had stopped thinking of anything but each other in this moment. Both knew, in that deep instinctual part of their minds, that they were meant to be together. It had been inevitable from the moment they had first met. They had faced many challenges together and apart, but since that meeting they had been each other's constant. Even in the seventeen months both never wanted to repeat that had been true. As they went through the twirls, twists, and turns of the ritual dance, both silently vowed that it would never change.
"Bankai," they spoke in unison.
There was absolutely no going back now. Red strands of light flitted through the bands of power now encasing them inside their own little bubble of reality. Unnoticed by them, ice and frost coated the clearing they had chosen for this. The cold formed as quickly as it was banished by the heat of Ichigo's power.
Now would be the point that, if they were unsuited or not fully committed to this action and each other, it would backfire in their faces. Their own power would consume them. There would be no more lives to live. Their souls would be destroyed just as surely as if Ishida struck them with one of his arrows.
Ichigo knew there was one final step. One of his hand caressed Rukia's now bare back. He loved how her Bankai left her dressed, a deadly ice queen who could withstand the heat he emitted just as he ignored the subzero temperatures she gave off.
"You're holding back again," he whispered into her ear.
"Never," and her power flared. "So shut up and-"
He silenced her with a kiss even as his own power flared. He parted from her, the cloth now covering the lower half of his face hiding his pleased smirk.
Fire flared in her eyes, promising retribution in the future. Ichigo was looking forward to it.
Rukia felt she should have expected something like that from him in that moment. Ichigo, however, had a habit of doing things that most felt were unexpected. She dearly hoped he never stopped surprising her. She doubted that was possible, no matter how well she knew him.
She leaned into him as their dancing began to slow. She listened to his heartbeat, a much easier feat for her given her height compared to his. She let that become the music she danced to. She felt him match her.
Ichigo held her closer even as cloth rearranged itself upon their bodies with their power levels waned down. It was both a faster yet slower process than the buildup had been. They eventually came to a stop, silence enveloping them.
"Do you think it worked?" Rukia asked him softly. She didn't feel any different and she had sort of expected to. They were still alive and at almost full power. It must have worked as that was true.
"I believe it did, and that's the import thing." Ichigo replied, bringing them to a full stop.
They were once again back to normal. Sode no Shirayuki rested on Rukia's hip, sealed once more. He felt Zangetsu on his back in the blade's proper place. He did not feel any different and as Rukia looked unchanged Ichigo assumed the same for himself.
"What in the flames of Hell was that?" Urahara's voice broke their attention from each other.
Before Ichigo could say anything, Yoruchi took care of it for him. She slapped the back of her lover's head.
"Way to interrupt their moment Baka," she admonished him.
"Rukia," that voice brought all their attention to the fact that their actions had been more than noticed, "what is going on?"
Years ago, Ichigo's first response to Byakuya's tone would have been to push Rukia behind him and draw Zangetsu. He had more control over those impulses now.
"I asked, she said yes," he answered for her instead. He was not afraid of Byakuya. What he said was the truth.
"Nii-sama," Rukia clasped Ichigo's hand, "we did what we felt needed to be done." She did not need to explain what was immensely private between her and Ichigo to anyone, not even her brother.
Neither half of the couple felt any remorse for what they had done. It was, indeed, what they felt they needed to do in order to be happy and to ensure their friends and family received the happiness they deserved.
Byakuya's face was impassive. Kurosaki Ichigo was not the man he would have chosen for his sister, his pride. However, Hisana was not the woman that the Elders (including his parents) would have chosen for him. He could not and would not fault Rukia for following her heart on this matter.
"Very well," he said at last. "Kurosaki, we will discuss this upon your return to the Seireitei."
"Looking forward to it," Ichigo responded, this time partially lying.
"Do you realize the consequences of what you've done by this soul bonding?" Yamamoto asked them.
"Yes," they answered.
"We will discuss this more in depth tomorrow. For now, clean up Karakura Town." He left, taking the stunned Shinigami that had arrived with him and Byakuya when the alerts went off.
"I hope you're proud of yourself Strawberry," Rukia told him.
"Immensely Midget," he told her impishly, swinging her up onto his back after transferring Zangetsu to hers. "Now, where's the first Hollow?"
"North, then east." She told him, shaking her head at his antics. "You get to tell your father."
"Karin's already done it, why do you think he didn't make an appearance?" Ichigo might have been heading towards battle, but that was par for the course for them. "She and Yuzu have him contained."
"Yuzu slipped him sleeping pills again, didn't she?" Rukia smirked. Yuzu, kind and considerate Yuzu, could often be the most devious of the Kurosaki children. It was, Rukia acknowledged, because no expected her capable of being so.
"Yep, and Karin's been using him for kido practice." Ichigo drew Zangetsu even as Rukia slid off his back and drew Shirayuki. "Left or right?"
"Left," she answered, conversation ending as they began a new sort of dance.
It was, Ichigo thought with a smirk, just as it should be.
And that's it! Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I do suggest the following songs for listening as you read, or if you haven't heard them. If you haven't seen the images for the 'Dance with Show White' challenge submitted on Tumblr, I highly suggest you go find some. No one image was a direct inspiration for this fic, but all of them are impressive in their own way.
Heartbeat by Carrie Underwood
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon (as mentioned before, this was part of the inspiration for this fic)
One Call Away by Charlie Puth
Homeless Heart by Amanda Scott
I'll be There for You by The Rembrandts