"What? You forgot it?" She looked inside his bag, trying to somehow find her game in there.

"Yeah, sorry. Guess I'll bring it tomorrow."

She didn't pay much attention to his words when she noticed something else that was in his bag. There it was, the thing that separated him from the rest of them even now. His Substitute Shinigami badge.

Substitute Shinigami. It had sounded alien when she had heard it the first time. And yet she had been relieved once he had explained everything to them. Not because she had finally understood what had happened to Orihime. Not because she had finally understood what had happened to him. It was because he had looked refreshed once he had let it all out. He had looked just a little bit liberated, somewhat freer than he had been before he had started speaking back then.

A thought entered her mind. Maybe she should also try just letting it all out? It certainly would help.

She looked up and spoke while peering into his chocolate brown eyes. "Nah, that's fine. Come to think of it… it's been a long time since we hung out together. Why don't we go to you after school?"

The look he gave her told her that she had probably succeeded with her suggestion. And the words he said next confirmed it. "Why not?"


"Come on Ichigo! Are you that scared I'll beat you in a game?" Tatsuki said while taking the game controller into her hands and starting up the game.

She had to prepare herself a little. She couldn't just start speaking about these things out of blue.

"That's not-" Ichigo complained, but she cut him off before he could finish.

"If it's not that, then choose who you'll be playing with!"

The orange haired teen sighed as he picked up the second controller. She followed the movements of the blue circle on the screen until it stopped on the single most overpowered character the game had to offer.

"Hey!" She almost yelled, but somehow managed to control her voice and not make it a yell of a wronged child. What came out of her mouth next was not much better, but she still kept herself from outright yelling at his unfairness. "Him? Seriously? That's cheating!"

Calming herself down and thinking rationally got her to conclusion that Ichigo had never been better than her at videogames. Still, he had been playing that game the past few weeks and she hadn't touched it for over a year.

"Well, I guess it doesn't matter, I'm going to beat you anyway." She stated calmly and almost boastfully. If she really applied herself here, he had no chance.

The other teen smirked in return. "We'll see."

"I've always been better than you in games, that didn't change." If he felt so confident here, it was practically her duty to crush his hopes of winning this match. The fact that it would bring her that almost forgotten taste of victory over Ichigo was one of the bonuses.


The situation kind of reminded him of when two of them were little. When his mother was still alive, Tatsuki had often come over to play. After his mother had been killed, things had changed, but eventually it had all gone back to the way it had been. For some time it had continued that way, up until he had left dojo.

From that time Tatsuki had never come over. They still spent time together occasionally. But the Arcade and school were the only places where they saw each other. At some point even the arcade became a rare occurrence.

It felt really nostalgic for many reasons. He sat deep in thought, reminiscing about what he still remembered. Thinking of it, his power to see spirits was what had driven them away from each other.

Now that he had none, things weren't really that different, but somehow it seemed that their relationship was becoming more and more like it had been before. He was kind of happy about that. Having lost his powers, he had distanced himself from Chad, Inoue and Ishida. He couldn't really say why he did that. It was just something he felt was appropriate. Just like that his usual company narrowed down to Keigo, Mizuiro and Tatsuki.

"Cheer up!" Startled by the sound he looked at Tatsuki, only to receive a pillow to the face.

Catching the pillow right before it could hit him he stared at the brunette girl with an annoyed frown on his face. "What was that for?"

Tatsuki was smiling unrepentant. Somehow it really annoyed him. He looked at the pillow in his hand then back at his friend. Ichigo closed his eyes, inhaled and threw the pillow with a growl.

Somehow this grew into a full-blown pillow fight and at some point it was a pillow fight no more. They rolled on the ground for a few minutes, both laughing cheerily. It was fun, he couldn't deny it.

At some point two of them stopped. Ichigo stared at Tatsuki, not daring to break the eye contact. The first thing he noticed was how her eyes were seemingly shining. Then he heard her panting from all that rolling around. His eyes involuntarily traveled down her face to her flushed cheeks and slightly parted smiling lips.

He then noticed just in what position they were. He was on top of the brunette, her body on the floor between his legs, her arms pinned down by his. Noticing his hands gripping her wrists he immediately blushed and muttered. "…s-sorry."

"…stay." That was unexpected. He had honestly thought it would be anything but that. He didn't even think she could say something like that, more so with such a gentle voice.

"Stay like this…" She continued with the same tone. It made him blush even more and his heart started beating faster, pumping his blood like it did during a fight. What he felt was familiarly exhilarating as well.

"Tatsuki…?" Ichigo asked quietly, not sure of how he should respond to her words and the voice she used.

"…I'm tired of it…" He instinctively felt where this conversation was heading. His heart responded with the speed it chose to beat with, his cheeks responded with a flush. His brain however couldn't quite process the thought that something like that could be happening.

"What?" The teen muttered while his eyes traveled back to hers.

"I'm tired of this all…" Tatsuki went silent for a moment, forming words in her head. "You. Me. Everything."

She was tired? Of their relationship? When the young man was about to respond the brunette continued speaking. It seemed like she wasn't quite done yet. "…of being careful… yeah, everything."

He again wanted to respond, but when the girl's face suddenly, or maybe not that suddenly, moved closer and closer to his, he couldn't really do anything. Her lips met his a moment later, and then there was nothing but her taste and her warmth on his mind. He didn't think her lips could be that soft or warm. But then again, he wasn't a kind of person to think about such things until they were right in front of him.

Their contact ended and the girl lowered her head back onto the ground and he was left speechless for a moment. Ichigo swallowed hard, trying to get his mind in order. He wasn't sure how to react, but one thing he was sure of: something unbelievable was happening and it was in his hands how things went from there.

"Tatsuki…" The orange headed ex-shinigami whispered. Words were hard to form for him at the moment, just as hard as it was keeping his mind from going to weird places.

Not letting him finish whatever he wanted to say, Tatsuki spoke just as before. The same look in her eyes, the same smile on her lips, the same tone in her voice. "I just want to change it… the way we are."

As she spoke his mind told him that it would be bad to interrupt her. She was putting her heart and feelings into it. If he said something now, he wasn't so sure the situation would end well. She was already embarrassed, judging by the red of her cheeks and the look in her eyes. If she was pushed any further it might be the end of it. So he remained silent and listened.

"You're a great friend, Ichigo… but… but I'm an egoist, you see… I don't want you to belong to anyone but myself…" The volume of her voice was so low he barely heard what she was saying. Yet there was no need for him to really hear anything, he knew what she was talking about without even listening. Letting her speak was just to let her get that out of her head.

"Maybe I've just realized it… maybe I've just accepted it… but I think I've loved you for a very, very long time…" What she said sort of made sense. The situations where he was left wondering if there was something else were rare, but they were there.

The most recent one was long time ago, but he still remembered it vividly. He remembered the pain in the back of his head. He remembered the sound of glass shattering. He remembered her anger and the look in her eyes. He remembered her words.

What am I to you?

The situation hadn't ended the way he would've wanted it to end, but at the time he had been stressed beyond the point where he would care about such things. There had been a lot on his mind at the time. There had been a lot he could've done. There had been a lot he should've done. There had been a lot he blamed himself for not doing. He turned his attention to Tatsuki when she continued speaking.

"There always were excuses for me to use… first it was just: 'he's a crybaby', then it became your mom, then came Orihime… then there was Rukia and that whole Shinigami thing… you became so distant, sometimes I thought you were going to disappear…" Her voice was breaking at this point and tears were threatening to fall from her eyes.

After she inhaled and continued, the tears had finally started falling. "…then Orihime disappeared. I went to you and you were acting like we were strangers. I have to thank Urahara-san for giving me some insight on what you went through…" The girl stopped for a moment and wormed her hand out of his grip. She wiped her tears away and continued with a slightly strained smile on her face. "And then there was that… I don't even want to mention it."

"Tatsuki…" Ichigo involuntarily muttered under his breath even when he didn't want to.

No matter how quiet he tried to make it she still heart and said. "Don't interrupt me, please. Just listen for now." Tatsuki inhaled and exhaled, gathering her thoughts and then spoke. "After that everything seemed to go back to the way it was before Rukia appeared, but you've been becoming more and more distant… I started having that feeling again… the feeling that you might just up and disappear."

That was somewhat true, as he himself was feeling that he was getting more and more distant to his friends lately, and not just Chad, Inoue and Ishida. All of them. Add the fact that he wanted to gather money as fast as he could and move out, the reason she chose to seize the moment became pretty clear. He had a feeling that even if there was no rolling around and pillow battle part she would've brought up the subject anyway.

"I guess it's finally got to the point where I can't hold it in and hide behind some lame excuses. I don't want to see you go. I don't want you to disappear. I don't want to be left behind. And most of all, I don't want you to end up being taken by someone else. I always cheered for Orihime, but as I said I'm an egoist… I'm also selfish and greedy. So when I realized what it was that I was feeling for you, all bets were off…"

Her smile finally stopped being strained and turned a happy and genuine one once again. The brunette spoke with her voice matching her smile. "I don't want you to end up being someone else's…" She wormed the other hand from his grip and spoke as she was putting both of them around his neck. "…so be mine."

He did the one thing that he had no choice but doing. He had a feeling that he would've done the same even if the mood was different. As Tatsuki pulled herself up while hanging on his neck, he lowered his head with their lips making their way towards each other.

This time the kiss was different. Their inexperience showed. Neither of them knew how it was properly done and they spent several moments trying to figure out just how exactly their tongues had to move. When they did, it became that sort of anything goes. Their tongues twisted, turned, unsuccessfully tried entwining around the other and danced while battling for dominance.

His heart beat faster and faster and his mind seemed to be finally catching up to it. He felt almost intoxicated by the taste of her lips. Unfortunately the lack of air in their lungs had them both pull away and catch their breaths.

"Is that your answer?" Tatsuki asked while panting with her face flushed and eyes shining with joy.

His smile matched hers as he replied. "Yeah…"

Having restored their breathing they went for round two. Both being a little more experienced now, they didn't waste time. Somehow during all this Tatsuki's legs found their way to his back and entwined there. Somehow during all this he fell to his side. Somehow during all this Tatsuki found her way on top of him.

He had no illusions that this wasn't what she had intended to do from the moment she started moving her legs. He watched her smile turn mischievous and slightly teasing. Her eyes matched her smile sparkling with playfulness and eagerness.

"…wanna do it?" She said with a voice similar to the one that made his heart race so much just moments before. This time it was much more arousing and erotic though.

"Too soon?" He gave a weak reply, not even trying to deny her desire.

"I've waited long enough already." Tatsuki began unbuttoning her shirt slowly grinding her crotch back and forth while on top of the orange haired teen.

The brunette seemed deep in thought as she frowned for a second and returned to her previous smile a moment later. "And yeah, I want you to call me Tatsuki-chan again and say 'I love you' plenty of times while we do it. Actually, always call me Tatsuki-chan from now on."

He was surprised; she was still on about that. If what he remembered was right, he had stopped calling her Tatsuki-chan when his mother had been killed. They had dropped the subject after some time and hadn't brought it up that ever again. But to think that she still cared about such details…

"…aaaaaaaaaaaaand I'm going to be on top. It's my first time, so sorry, but I want to have a little control at how fast we go." She was already on top of him and he wasn't exactly complaining. In fact, he was happy letting her do as she pleased.

If she wanted to be on top and control the speed they were going at then he was fine with it. It wasn't that big of an issue. It was their respective first times, so either way things probably wouldn't go exactly as they wanted them to.

Besides, she had said she was an egoist. He had to indulge her egoism and selfishness from time to time.


That scene was originally supposed to be part of my Bleach fic Dreamer, but thinking about it, I decided it worked too well as oneshot to pass up the opportunity.

Anyway, please review. If you can tell just what was the source of inspiration for this scene, then kudos to you.