Body Heat

Disclaimer/Notes: Very simply put...Bleach is not mine. Anyway, I really wanted to write a little fic for Christmas! I couldn't bring myself to write a gaping-at-the-Christmas-tree fic, so I tried to write something...different. I hope you enjoy! And someone...PLEASE kill me for updating so often! As for this story...I'm totally like a cat. I wander around coughing up balls of fluff all day.

Ichigo had never heard of a Christmas where it rained, but today, that's exactly what it was doing. Forget sheets. The stuff was too violent even to categorize it like that. Each drop was a piercing blade.

And to top it all off, he was sure that if he didn't keep walking, his feet would freeze solidly to the ground.

Oh yes. That wouldn't have been a problem if the tire of the bike he'd been riding on hadn't been shredded by a broken bottle, forcing them to carry the items it had been carrying for them. He'd insisted on holding the bag but Rukia had hefted it onto her shoulder, growling something about paying attention to the street signs.

Somehow the Christmas spirit just wasn't flowing in his frozen veins today.

The temperature...just above thirty-two degrees and dropping with startling speed. The freezing cold rain had been falling for a long time already, so even if snow or ice did come down, they'd only disperse in the puddles across the streets. Wind like an icicle razor sliced straight through the two travelers' bodies, leaving its mark in their bones.

"I don't think...I like this Christmas of yours very much," Rukia said, trudging forward steadily. Even over the wind, her teeth chattered audibly.

Slender eyebrows fell dangerously low over her eyes. As usual, she'd worn loose clothing. Ichigo still hadn't been able to teach her the importance of jeans. The skirt she wore was a soft tan wool, but the warmth its makeup might have provided had been lost because it barely reached her knees. The only things fitting of the weather were the boots she wore and the tightly fastened red sweater and scarf.

Ichigo had been wearing a cap, but he'd given it to her when the rain started falling. She needed it more than he did.

They continued walking.

The rain never turned to snow.

No matter how much colder it got, it continued raining. Soaking, piercing, numbing rain...relentless. It took a while for them to realize they'd wandered into the edge of town. They must have missed Keigo's house—damn him for convincing the two to join him and the others for the holiday—and now...

"Where are we?" Rukia said. Her scowl was gone. It took too much effort to be angry in this blinding cold.

"Ahhh...I dunno," Ichigo said. He looked around, but all he saw were nearly collapsed buildings and old, cracked sidewalks strewn with trash. The rain had made his shirt even tighter than it already was, so both it and the jacket over it had been soaked to their saturation point. He couldn't feel his feet and it took a huge effort just to open and close his fists. He looked back at Rukia, surprised despite everything to find her lips a stark purple-blue from the cold.

Whether he liked it or not, the temperature was becoming far too cold. Though spending Christmas in a dilapidated shack wasn't his top priority, it seemed like it was their only choice if they wanted to get out of this with their toes and fingers intact. "Rukia?"

Her eyes were glazed and her walk seemed just a little bit shaky. She managed a watered down glare. "Yes, Ichigo?"

"I know...this isn't exactly the best Christmas. I swear we'll have a better one next year. It's was screwed up. We're gonna havta stick in one of these buildings until the rain stops. We'll die of frostbite out here."

She objected very little and followed him as he tried to find the least out-of-shape building. Once they had settled into a little shack, Ichigo pulled the small bag from Rukia's fingers. "'s not like Keigo and Mizuiro are gonna care if we eat this stuff. Chips and soda, right?" He tore the bag open. "Heh...the soda's getting slushy from the cold." He took a long drink of the soda, then put it down, eyeing Rukia. "You're not a germophobe, right? We don't got any cups."

She took it from him and took a sip. "So do people usually spend this Christmas of yours huddling like bums in old buildings and eating junkfood? Or would that just be us?"

Ichigo chuckled. "Ah...Let's just say it's usually not as moldy where we spend Christmas." He looked over at her. "Chip?"

She took a handful from the bag. "Not as cold?"

"Not that, either."

Suddenly realizing that they were the only two people in this little place, Ichigo quickly scooted away. He and Rukia had been sitting so close their arms touched. Of course, moving away wasn't the best thing. Not for him, and not for Rukia. There was a large chance of hypothermia or frostbite in this cold. In fact...

A huge blush spread over his face just thinking about it.

He'd die before he'd go that far.

Rain spattered against the roof, and Ichigo wondered if it would ever end. This filth, that damned rain...he had wanted Rukia to have fun. He'd wanted to show her something that would make her smile. Not this. She was shivering, curled up against the relentless cold. "Rukia," Ichigo said softly. "Come here."

She stood up slowly and walked over, looking down at him with a weary expression. Her clenched fists trembled at her sides. Ichigo reached forward and grabbed her fists until they loosened. God, her hands were cold! He rubbed her small fingers between his hands. Lifting his hand away from her for a moment, he stood next to her and pulled her against him, then he sat back down slowly. "Don't scream rape or anything, dope. When it's cold like this, ya gotta share body heat. I'm warm. I'm not gonna let you freeze over there."

In his lap, Rukia curled up and leaned against his chest.

Ichigo took his jacket off and wrapped it around her back, wrapping its arms around his waist so no cold air got in. "Warmer?"

"Mmhmm," she murmured sleepily.

The rain continued to fall outside. The clothes ever so slowly dried. Rukia had stopped shivering quite a while ago. He'd made sure she was okay before letting her drift off against his chest.

"Ichigo?" Her voice surprised him.


"Thanks," she said slowly. "Can we have more of these, Ichigo? These...Christmases?"

He smiled. "One a year," he said. "You better show up, okay?"

She smiled wryly. "And should I bring blankets?" She saw him scowl and start to describe that 'conventional' Christmas, but she stopped him. She curled up tighter, her arms going around him. "Are you cold? I have your jacket..."

Ichigo told the truth. "Nah, I'm warm, Rukia. Don't worry about it." He pulled the cap down over her eyes and absently stroked the stray ends of her hair. It was nearing noon, and the storm still hadn't abated.

For once in his life, he wished that the rain would never stop.

Author's Notes: Talk about an unconventional Christmas! Curling up in a dirty shack, barely warding off hypothermia... hehe, but it seems like one of the only ways to get those two close...literally. This is my first time ever writing a fic to a holiday so I hope I did it okay. (wonders if there are any rules about writing holiday fics) Anyway, I wrote this for the IchiRuki Christmas contest on BleachForums. Wish me luck! Reviews would be hugely appreciated!

P.S. If the part where Ichigo got all embarrassed didn't make has to do with how to keep a person with hypothermia warm. I won't go further. I figured he'd probably know that, since his dad's a doc, though.