So, just a new idea I had. Thought I should experiment with writing short stories, because the last time I attempted to do so, I wrote about 20 pages. There should be about ten chapters, updated either every week or every other week, and each will have a theme from a different song. Like a musical!

Disclaimer : I don't own the song or the characters or anything really

Pairing : Ichigo/Rukia

Song used : Nothing to Remember by Neko Case


You told me something that scared me to death

Don't take me home I can't face that yet.

I'm ashamed that I'm barely human.

And I'm ashamed that I don't have a heart

You can break…

She used to have nightmares where she was a monster.

They were never exactly the same – sometimes she was in her home and sometimes in the middle of a city – but they were always close. It started with her entering a crowd, all of people she knew. When she looked around she saw her brother, her captain, and the Shibas. Renji was there, and to her own heartache, so was Kaien.

She would call out, and they would all turn to look at her. Just one look. Then, almost in a panic, they would turn and run away from her.

This was where the dreams would change. Sometimes, she would end up chasing them, screaming for them to stop and tell her what was going on. Other times, she would just stay there, bewildered, unsure of what to do.

One way or another, every time, she would find herself by a mirror. Half of her would be intent on seeing herself, while the other half wanted to turn and run. Eventually, the former half won.

Slowly, painfully, she would edge in front of the reflective glass. First her arm, then her torso, then finally her whole body, but her eyes would be screwed shut painfully. She'd breathe in, then out, then in again, feeling suddenly terrified. She wanted to run, but an unknown force wrenched her eyes open.

She never cried out when she saw, but she nearly always started to cry. She was a beast, in every sense of the word. Her normally sheik black hair was now overgrown and ripped, as if she had spent the last years tearing and ripping at it in pain. Her hands are now large and clawed, dripping blood which she knew belonged to her loved ones. Her eyes were no longer the thick, colored amethyst they normally were. They were pitch, dark black, as soulless as a night with no stars and no moon. It was when she looked into her own eyes that she woke up, when she fell into a bottomless void and let out a soundless scream…

She always woke up the same, though. With a jolt and a half gasp. She never screamed, though a few times she felt the remnants of a few drying tears on her cheeks. Her shock and horror was always so quiet that no one heard, and therefore they remained a well crafted secret. While she was never able to go back to sleep after the terror, she had honed how to make herself seem well rested. Although she had never known the joys of makeup and couldn't always hide the circles beneath her eyes, she could always blame those on the constant call of hollows.

The dreams came and went in spurts. Sometimes she wouldn't have a nightmare for months, and suddenly they would show up again. They would plague her for weeks at a time, and then, just as she was beginning to become too tired to function, they would disappear. At least, for a little while.

After she had come to the world of the living, though, these dreams had changed. They were mostly the same, but so many more people were there. Chad, Uryu, Orihime, Tatsuki, even Keigo and Mizurio. There were others, of course, but these were the ones that stuck so fresh in her mind. Oh, and Ichigo. Of course.

He was always there as well, haunting her with those somber amber eyes that seemed to pierce through her skin. Yet even with that ability, he still ran away. His face still twisted in fear, and she was left with the wrenching ache in her gut that maybe she was a monster on the inside as well.

Then she scoffs silently to herself. She's always known what kind of beast she could be – cold and unrelenting. She can hear the voice of Sode no Shirayuki saying that that was what snow was, she shouldn't blame herself. Still, Rukia doesn't listen to that sort of thing, and because Sode no Shirayuki is basically a part of her own soul, she can't help but think it's an almost pathetic excuse for being this way.

"What are you griping about over there?" Snarls a voice, and she glances up from the book she's been staring at, although not really reading. It's a good book, she's sure. Orihime lent it to her happily, a story called Frankenstein, in honor of Halloween. While no one celebrated it, the busty woman had had to do a report on the holiday, and found herself obsessed with it. Rukia had been absorbed with it as well, when she had learned you could go door to door for free candy.

She flicks her stubborn bangs out of her eyes as she catches his fiery gaze with her placid one. "I'm not griping." She immediately snaps in return, part of her irritation over the fact that she definitely was. "Why would you think that?"

He snorts, turning away from the mass of books distributing sloppily around his table. Semester tests are coming up soon, and he's been stuck with his nose in texts for days. She finds she doesn't much envy this constant studying. From the way he's always shifting and fidgeting, whatever he's studying is probably boring as heaven.

"Because you've been sighing and I think you've been on that first page for about twenty minutes now." He states matter-of-factly, staring at her with narrowed eyes.

Her first reaction is surprise. She must have been really distracted if she hadn't noticed him glancing over at her. However, rationally of course, she subdues this surprise be giving in to irritation and anger. "I'm just thinking, that's all." She growls in return, moodily turning pointedly back to the book, as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.

He opens his mouth to snap back, but then simply rolls his eyes, turning back to the papers with a muttered, "moody midget."

For another ten minutes, she continues to ruminate as she stares at the page. Frankenstein. The story of a dead man brought back to life through electricity. She thinks it's a dumb idea. Frankenstein wasn't any different from a modern day zombie, save for the lack of lust for brains.

Finally, she becomes tired of her turn around thoughts of zombies and monsters and nightmares. The more she contemplates, the more she considers Halloween one of the worst of the holidays. It was nothing like Christmas, where people seemed in a good mood and would exchange gifts. In agitation, she creases the corner of the page and tosses it towards the foot of the bed. "I'm going to go for a walk." She announces.

He raises his eyebrows slightly, but she doesn't hesitate long enough for him to ask. He lets out a half strangled, "hey!" before she's out the door. She calls a quick goodbye to Yuzu, the only other one in the house at the moment. The sweet girl tells her to be back soon – it was already dark.

Nodding a promise, Rukia escapes into the night air. It's not warm, but not bitter either. She appreciates the lush feel of fresh air against her flesh, the brisk wind shaking the most bothersome of her thoughts away. She sets off at a calm pace. The moon is full, and the sight of it reflected on the lazy river was one she always enjoyed.

She finds herself on the banks of the familiar place, welcoming the sweet sound of water gushing relentlessly over dirt and rocks and weeds. Patches of clouds hover over the round white orb at times, but then they soon dissipate, and she's left with the silvery glow.

Her thoughts slowly absorb her, coveting her as a warm blanket wraps around the body. She imagines what a real monster would be like, and that almost makes her laugh. Hadn't she faced so many real monsters before? She almost shudders as all of their faces come to mind. The thousands of hollows she had fought, and she didn't need to mention Aizen and his horde of beasts.

So why was she always so terrified?

"So this is where you escaped to." He says, and she's only surprised because her mind had been warped as the reflection of the moon on the water. She doesn't jump, though, and she thinks that's because she was expecting him to come as well.

She turns her head to meet his gaze. In the dark, the full amber color it muted to a dark brown with a slight highlight of silver refraction, but the fire that is always in his gaze is, of course, there. She scowls at him, crossing her arms defensively across her chest. "I wasn't escaping anything." She retorts, daring him to respond.

For a moment, he doesn't. He merely glares at her, just as challenging. A few seconds later he breaks the contact to roll his eyes and let out a snort of disbelief. "Whatever." He grumbles, running a hand through his orange tresses. He doesn't bother to ask as he sits down beside her, laying back on the cool grass. "Well, will you at least tell me why you've been acting so strange?"

She almost balks at this, but chokes it down at the last second. "I have not!" She practically yelps, knowing in retrospect that this most likely wasn't the best way to convince him. He obviously thinks so too, because he raises his eyebrows at her in pure disbelief.

It's too much for her to bear, and to keep her cheeks from warming with embarrassment, she looks away suddenly, focusing on the river. "Whatever." She seethes, wrapping her arms a little tighter around her knees. "What are you doing out here, anyways? Shouldn't you still be studying?"

He shrugs slightly, looking nonchalant as he lets his gaze wander to the infinite galaxies. She knows he's never really enjoyed rivers that much. "I needed a break." He explains, smoothly and tiredly. She believes him. She's watched him be cramped up in his room for the past week, as she's been with him most of that time. Normally they can both count on the occasional hollow to interrupt the boredom, but it was as if the beasts were now attempting to be respectful of his semester end exams. Karakura had been peaceful all week.

They're silent then, both of them watching the moon, but she sees the distorted reflection, constantly flickering and changing on the surface of the moving river. They don't speak for awhile, but suddenly he says, "So does your strangeness have to do with that book Orihime gave you?"

She blanches, and has to resist hitting him over the head. "I told you I'm not acting strange!" She hisses at him, hoping her irritation will keep him from asking any more questions.

Of course, this is a long shot and a fool's hope. He backs down to her fury just as often as she backs down to his – which is just about never. He scoffs at her, now truly becoming annoyed with her fierce denial. "Oh, come on. You're strange to start off with, but even you don't just stare at a book and then go running off for no reason."

He's sitting up now, and she glares at him, secretly hating the fact that even sitting down he still towers over her. He's determined now, she sees it in the way his jaw is set and how his shoulders square. It's his hard headed stance kicking in, and she dreads when that look is directed at her.

"Even if I was acting strange," she begins, fixing him with her fiercest glare, "it's none of your business, now is it?" She's attempting to dismiss him quickly, although she has a feeling that this is futile.

Indeed, her feeling is correct. He glares back just as strongly, refusing to back off. "Of course it's my business." He growls in return. "We spend just about every day together, and you live in my home. If you're acting strange, I get to know why."

She practically gapes at him in disbelief. Is his logic always this flawed? Still, under his fervent gaze, she finds herself backing off slightly. With a small sigh of annoyance, she blinks back at him. "Okay, so that book was a little strange. That's all." She insists, turning away from him as a sign that she's ended this conversation.

Unfortunately, even if Ichigo could understand social cues, she doubted he'd ever care to follow them. Instead he leans forward slightly, as if trying to stay in her peripheral vision. "How would you know if it was strange?" He says. "You hardly read one page?"

The snarky remark sets off her anger again. She turns back to him with annoyance, a vein pulsing in her neck angrily. "Orihime told me about it." She growls at him. "Plus there's the description on the back as well!"

"So why did a simple description make you so weird?" He says immediately, and she can feel her fingers ache with the desire to slap him.

They glare at each other for a moment, when finally Ichigo lets out a snort. For once, he's the first one to turn away, although he doesn't look up this time. "Look." He says, "I know you don't like telling people things, but I'm serious. Something has got you acting weird, and I can't focus on my studying if you're being all strange. Plus, you should be okay with telling me anything, since you have no problem snooping around in my life."

He glances at her to add a little emphasis to his last barb. Her eyes go a little wide, but his sudden insult seems to add some normalcy, and she finds herself almost smiling. "Only because you deserve it." She snorts in return, but she finds herself complying. Damn, she thinks. When did it become that he was suddenly able to make her surrender like this. Hopefully it's something she could do to him as well.

"Fine." She sighs, the closing statement now used as a beginning acquiesce. "The story was about Frankenstein." She glances at him to see if he knows what this is, but his face looks blank, so she explains. "You know, this doctor wants to see if he can bring people back to life so he takes this dead body and brings it back to life by using a lightning bolt."

She pauses after this for a moment. Then, however, she shakes her head and continued. "It wasn't just Frankenstein, though. It's all of the monsters."

After that, she clams up, and refuses to say anymore. How could she tell him about her nightmares? They were merely images of the subconscious, but they were intense enough that she thought if she spoke of them aloud they would reduce her to tears, and that's the last thing she wants at this moment.

He's staring at her intensely, as if trying to figure out what she means. He knows her well, and knows she's not scared of those monsters.

To her surprise though, he doesn't pry. In fact, he doesn't really say anything else. Instead he simply stands up, offering her a hand for her to rise as well. They walk home together, and find Yuzu on the couch where she's fallen asleep waiting for them. Tenderly, Ichigo picks up his sister and tucks her into her own bed as Rukia changes into her pajamas. She then proceeds to climb into his bed, and tuck herself under the covers.

When he comes in, he practically shouts in shock. He looks ready to kick her out, but then she gives him her best puppy-dog eyed pout, and he's ashamed when all he can do is let out a string of grumbles before he climbs into the bed next to her. She smiles triumphantly, although what she doesn't tell him is that her decision is an experiment, really.

The next day is Sunday, and she doesn't wake up until the early afternoon sun starts to leak in through the window. She smiles softly against the pillow when she realizes her experiment was a success. No nightmares, her sleep was deep and restful.

It takes her a moment to realize that someone is hugging her, and she blinks her amethyst eyes open wide as she realizes the position they are sleeping in. Sometime in the night, Ichigo had wrapped both arms around her waist to pull her close. In an almost instinctive reaction, she had curled her fingers into the fabric of his shirt, and could feel the smooth yet scarred skin of his chest. His eyes were closed, and his face was smooth with the peace of sleep. He's still fast asleep, and she contemplates if she's lithe enough to escape his grip without waking him.

Then, just outside the door, she hears the familiar sounds of Isshin calling for his son as Yuzu loudly wonders where Rukia is. Suddenly turning pink in the face as she fights the urge to laugh, she closes her eyes and snuggles deeper under the covers, waiting for the ensuing chaos to begin.

I owe you nothing,

that's what I've got for you

And you'll borrow nothing,

that's what you'd expect of me

So you send me your love tied up in sailor's knots

And I fear underneath your radiant thoughts

My footsteps now,

they will echo too loudly.

Well? Was it awesome or awful or averagely ordinary? Drop a review and let me know.