Interesting Note: As of chapter 25, this story is exactly 33,333 words. I feel bad that I'll be adding a new chapter soon and ruining the number, lol... I love strange numbers, and was really surprised to see the word count.
Disclaimer: For this and all chapters that follow, I do not own Bleach. I do own a crazy imagination, however, which will probably become apparent as (and if) you read. Suing would be unproductive, though, since I'm poor as dirt. Thanks so much for stopping in! You'll find more fluff than is healthy for your sanity, a fair amount of angst and the occasional story that is nothing but crack.
Rapt, she watched. Nothing entered her mind but the object in front of her. She examined it, pressing her nose to it for better observation.
"Rukia, what are you doing?"
"This is fascinating, Ichigo!"
Sitting at the counter of the little restaurant, Ichigo turned and glared disinterestedly behind him. His shoulders sagged as his eyes caught in the dark-haired Shinigami's wide eyes. A huge grin stretched her face, eager and genuine as her chin rose, tilted and dipped in motion with the spinning object of her attentions.
"Rukia, they're staring."
She pressed her tiny hands up against the plastic as the slushie machine turned the semi-liquid around once more. The bright green slush spun around in the tipped cylinder, a neon waterfall. "What is this, Ichigo?"
He sighed, slowly getting up, walking forward and slapping Rukia's hand away just before she jerked on the nozzle. "You idiot! Don't touch any buttons! Do you remember what I told you?"
She sighed and backed away, childish admiration gone from her voice, replaced with complete cool. "I was just asking a question. What is it?"
Ichigo tapped on the cylinder and sighed. "It's called slushie. It's bits of ice with flavored...stuff. It's boring. Come on. Sit down and wait for the others to get here." As far as he was concerned, it was his misfortune that Ishida, Inoue and Chad hadn't been waiting when he and Rukia had arrived. Something must have kept them. He sighed as Rukia's nose went back to the slushie machine as if magnetically drawn.
"But it's so...green. And lookit! It's so...cute!"
His eyes wandered to the fuzzy white bear emblazoned across the machine.
Rukia touched the polar bear.
Ichigo grumbled and shifted on his feet. "Hey, will you shut it if I get you one?"
Her usually calm blue eyes widened and brightened. "Oh, really? Please!"
Ichigo felt a smile inside that didn't reach any farther than his heart. His face remained unchanged. "Yeah, whatever it takes to drag your stupid face away from it." He self-consciously took a medium-sized cup and started to touch the lever, but he saw Rukia raising herself so eagerly on her toes and stepped back. "Do it." It was a gruff order more than a suggestion. He really hadn't meant to sound that way. Softening his voice—but only slightly—he explained. "The grip there...pull on it and it'll fill your cup."
She seemed amazed with his explanation. Stepping forward, she grabbed the lever and began to pull. There was no care or caution about it. She pulled as hard as she could. The slush poured unbelievably fast into the waiting cup. She was watching the lever, however, and not the cup, and even when it was near the brim, she didn't show any signs of letting go of her newfound toy.
"Rukia!" Ichigo grabbed her hand and pulled it away. Little bits of slush dribbled down the side. Ichigo went to the counter, both to pay and to apologize to the owner. When he returned, he slapped a lid and a straw onto her cup.
"You're more trouble than you're worth, you know that?"
She settled her small, slender body on the counter, happily slurping at the slushie. A rapturous grin split her face, and he supposed he didn't much care about whether or not she made a scene.
She sucked until it became too thick, and then took off the top, finishing it with the aid of a spoon. Ichigo watched the whole time from beneath his eyelashes. He was glad that she was happy. She looked up at him and grinned, lips tinted the most brilliant shade of neon green. Her appearance sort of blew the seriousness of her words away, but she whispered, "Thanks."
He sighed exaggeratedly. "Yeah, yeah. No more buttons for you, though."
Author's Notes: LOL, my first attempt at IchiRuki, one of my most favorite Bleach pairings! I've always thought that the way that Ichigo and Rukia interacted was adorable, and I love the way she is so serious sometimes, and yet so uncertain when it comes to little things in the real world. Hope it was okay! Please review!