“Come on, Ichigo. You can tell me.”
He scowled at her behind the rim of his glasses, quickly stuffing ungraded tests and papers into his briefcases. “There’s nothing to tell. Quit badgering me.”
Rukia pouted, her lips drawing into a disappointed frown as she settled both hands on her hips, glaring up at him. “It has to be someone,” she insisted, knowing this for a certainty. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in such a hurry to get out of here.”
He snapped his briefcase shut, reaching up with the other hand to curl a finger in the knot of his tie and loosen it. “There’s such a thing as wanting to go home, Rukia.”
She blew air out of her mouth, not believing him for a second. Rukia was certain that Ichigo had a girlfriend. They were childhood friends! She knew him a lot better than he wanted to admit. But this… this, she didn’t know, and it bothered her.
“Not like this,” she argued back, folding her arms across her chest.
Ichigo didn’t give her another look, grabbing his briefcase and sliding past her towards the door. “See you in the morning,” he dismissed and flipped a hand over his shoulder. “Don’t be late again.”
She really felt a bit like kicking him, but Rukia refrained because they were adults now and teachers to boot. She couldn’t be seen kicking her fellow co-workers. The students were too amused the last time she was caught and talked about it for weeks.
Giving a harrumph, Rukia couldn’t help her curiosity. She wanted to know. Ichigo didn’t rush out of school to go home to the emptiness of his apartment. He was definitely meeting with someone. But who? She knew most of their friends, and they were already either matched up or of no interest to Ichigo.
Who was it?
From the window, she could see Ichigo leaving by the main gate, and to her astonishment, he didn’t turn right as he was supposed to. But left and away from his apartment. In fact, away from pretty much anyplace she could think he would go. Perhaps to his lover’s place?
She had to know!
Determination growing, Rukia didn’t think twice about her plans. Thank goodness the grounds were already empty of students. She didn’t need anyone seeing her climb out of the window. She didn’t want to lose sight of Ichigo, not that having orange hair was usual or anything. She would easily be able to pick him out of the crowd.
This was hardly dignified for her position. And if her brother saw her acting so recklessly, he would have surely chastised her. But well, this was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. If Ichigo wouldn’t tell her, then she’d just have to find out for herself.
Rukia jogged out of the front gate and immediately turned to the left, scanning the streets. She didn’t immediately see him and hurried down the sidewalk to where it broke off in four directions. She caught sight of him down the left fork, already in the midst of shucking off his outer coat and slinging it over his arm. It really was hot out here, reminding her that summer was coming soon.
It was pathetically easy to trail Ichigo, her dear friend not knowing any better to think that he would be followed. He should have known that she was tenacious, that she would not rest without finding the truth. If he had just gone home, she would have also. But this deviance from routine, it was highly suspect. And Rukia was determined.
A good twenty-minute hike through the streets of Karakura later and Rukia found herself hiding on the other side of a busy intersection, watching as Ichigo strode towards what appeared to be a scrapyard. What business he would have there, she didn’t know. Rukia waited until he’d stepped through the gates before hurrying across the street, carefully avoiding the traffic. She paused, peering within and finding a handy-dandy pile of junk to hide behind.
And there was Ichigo, striding with purpose towards one corner of the lot where a loud clatter of noise was echoing through the yard. But as Ichigo approached, the noise stopped. Rukia peered around a rusted car, finally laying eyes on the person Ichigo had come to visit. Vivid blue hair matched by vivid blue eyes, tattoos on the face, and a generally loud disposition that Rukia thought she recognized.
His name was Grimmjow, and if she remembered correctly, he’d been one of the punks from their own high school days. One that had liked to attack Ichigo all the time just to prove he was stronger, and one of the key members of the Espada gang. She had always thought he didn’t like Ichigo much and the feelings were mutual. Clearly, this was not the case.
“Slumming it, Kurosaki?”
“Ah, shut it, Grimmjow,” Ichigo returned, swiping a hand over the back of his forehead in the heat of the sun. “You’re the one that wanted to meet here.”
Grimmjow smirked, his teeth slightly fanged like Rukia remembered. “Just cause I wanted to see if ya’d actually do it.”
“And ya love me anyway.”
Rukia had only a second to let her jaw drop at this behavior before she was given yet another surprise when Grimmjow grabbed her best friend and proceeded to kiss him. It wasn’t a chaste, quick peck on the mouth either. It was harsh and passionate, Ichigo submitting to the invasion of tongue for a few moments before turning the tides and shoving Grimmjow against a nearby stack of junk. It rocked precariously but remained standing.
Despite herself, Rukia couldn’t help but think that it was just a little bit hot. Unexpected and damn surprising. But very, very hot.
She watched as they kissed like they didn’t have an audience. Which really, they didn’t because the junkyard was deserted except for Grimmjow. She heard noises from other workers, but they were on the far side and hidden by scraps of metal. No one was there to bear witness to their… molesting of each other, for lack of a better word. And there Ichigo was, grinding against Grimmjow as if it was an everyday occurrence.
She never would have expected this.
Just when Rukia worried that they were going to go at it then and there, the two ended their violent kiss and broke apart. Grimmjow was grinning like a moron, while Ichigo scowled at the sight of his dropped briefcase, now splattered with mud.
“Let me clock out, and we can finish this elsewhere,” Grimmjow stated with a leer, and he practically swaggered away, leaving Ichigo to reclaim his stuff from the ground.
“Yeah, whatever,” Ichigo muttered, but there was a bit of a smile on his face. One Rukia was pretty sure she had never seen before.
She wasn’t sure what to think about this. Ichigo and Grimmjow. Together. Like lovers. How had that happened? And when had Ichigo become – for lack of a better term – gay?
Man, Renji would blow a gasket as soon as he heard it. And Orihime would squeal with fangirliness. Rukia knew that the busty girl collected shounen-ai manga left and right.
Thoughtful, Rukia did her best to sneak away from the scrapyard without getting caught, her curiosity satisfied. It wasn’t that difficult, and before long, she was back on the streets heading towards home.
Ichigo and Grimmjow. Together. It was like a broken record in the back of her mind. Who would have ever guessed?