Ichigo and Ishida have trouble getting along but a few blank pages summarize what's really between them. Light fluff and some swearing. Can be read as Ichigo/Ishida or just friendship.
Ichigo scanned the delicate and crisp note. The printing was impeccable and dark against the thin sheaf of paper.
'In the end I did end up killing more Hollows then you could manage to take out, but I suppose you handled the small number of enemies you fought against quite well. Though I was in no real danger at all, your actions in trying to guard my back were adequate. -Ishida.'
The letter was calmly placed back in it's extravagantly decorated envelope, which was then put into Ichigo's backpack. After that was taken care of, Ichigo proceeded to glare in Ishida's direction.
"You consider this a thank-you note? What the hell is wrong with you, huh?" he asked, crossing his arms and leaning back against the rooftop fence. Ishida chewed on his egg-salad sandwich and looked at the ground near Ichigo's knee.
"It's not my fault that you can't appreciate my words. Take them however you like." The Quincy packed up his bento box and stood up, a signal that he had had enough of the happy little rooftop group. Ichigo scowled at his back but let the boy go.
"Oh Ishida-kun, you're so fantastic! I can't even tell there was a rip in the first place! Maybe. . . could you teach me sometime?"
"It's obvious you don't have the skill necessary for this kind of work. Trying to teach you would simply be a waste of my time." With those harsh words the poor girl's heart was crushed. She clutched the newly mended stuffed bunny to her chest and ran off before her tears could be noticed. She needn't have bothered as Ishida didn't even think to look up from his sewing kit during her dramatic moment. He did look up when a spiky-headed shadow invaded his desk.
"What do you want, Kurosaki?" he asked coldly, annoyed at being bothered so much in such a short period of time.
"You're an idiot," Ichigo commented, watching Ishida return to his task of putting needles and thread neatly away in his kit. "She was giving you a compliment and trying to spend some time with you. There was no need to turn her down so roughly."
"I have no interest in someone like her." He put his kit back in his backpack and returned to studying the book they weren't even going to discuss until next week. Ichigo leaned his elbows on the desk, covering the text up and causing Ishida to push his glasses up on his nose in irritation.
"Looks to me like you don't have an interest in anyone," he remarked with a sneer. Ishida pulled out another book from his bag and started reading that instead, letting Ichigo remain leaning across his desk.
"Well if I have no interest in anyone then I certainly have no interest in you, so why don't you just scamper on over to your lackeys and leave me be, hm?"
"Ch. Whatever, bastard."
"Oi, wonder-nerd. Looks like you forgot your lunch."
"That's quite the way to show you care. I did not forget my lunch, I just didn't have time this morning to make anything. One day with no lunch is hardly going to kill me." Ichigo and Ishida having their verbal spars had become such a normalcy that the other students on the rooftop only paid them brief attention before returning to their own lunches and conversations. Only the eternal peacemaker, Orihime, was concerned enough to step in.
"Um, Ishida-kun, you can have some of my lunch if you'd like. I brought enough to share and I'm sure you'd feel better having some food in you," she offered, showing off her bento box creation. Ichigo couldn't see what was inside from the angle he was facing, but he could see Ishida's face turn a rather unpleasant shade of green.
"Ugh, put that away. I'd rather go hungry," he declared, covering his mouth and turning away from the friendly offering. At Orihime's hurt noise, harsh stares were pointed Ishida's way. Before Tatsuki, Rukia, and Ichigo could possibly enact vengeance on Orihime's behalf, Ishida stood up in a rush and escaped the group. When he was gone, Ichigo frowned just a tiny bit. That was twice now the Quincy had walked away from their rooftop lunch meetings. Ishida was supposed to be enjoying having friends, not running away from them.
He had been hiding behind a row of lockers during the scene, but after Ishida and his sobbing admirer had left the premises he felt it was safe to step out. He had heard an underclassman braved the icy front that was Ishida Uryuu and gave the boy some homemade Valentine's Day chocolate yesterday. That must have been the sobbing girl. Wandering over to the sight where Ishida had confronted the girl with a crush on him, Ichigo found a crumpled note on the hallway floor.
'Don't think to win me with such paltry affections. I have no intention of dating you or even liking you. I'm only interested in those who can take care of themselves. Please refrain from speaking to me again. -Ishida.'
Well, no wonder the girl had been sobbing. That damn Ishida really needed a talking to.
"This is supposed to be training for US. As in specifically for you, an idiotic Shinigami, and me, a powerful Quincy. Training so we can work together and so I don't have to constantly worry about how well my back is being guarded. This is not a gather-fest for those crazed oddities who call themselves your friends to flock to and show off their pitiful powers. This is a serious business and I have no reason to even be here unless it's just you and me, Kurosaki."
Ichigo rammed his sword into the dirt and snarled at the ranting Quincy. "You think you're important enough to get me reserved all to yourself? If this is supposed to be training for someone to guard your back then you better let Chad have at it. Hell, we need to call Rukia and Inoue here too. You know why? Because we're a TEAM, Ishida. We all guard each other's backs."
Ishida was having none of it and recalled his spirit bow back into his body. "If you want to train as a team, then you train without me. Have fun with your flunkies."
Chad held Ichigo back as the Quincy left the training field.
"It's ok, let him go. He'll come around," Chad advised. Ichigo relaxed but had not let go of his anger quite yet.
"This is the last straw. I'm making that bastard come to my house so I can set him straight once and for all."
"You know, I think I'm actually convinced that nothing nice or civil can come out of you. I save your ass in a fight, you tell me my skills are 'adequate'. Some girl gives you a compliment and tries to get to know you better and you tell her she's not worth your time. Inoue offers you lunch when you come without food and you turn her down in disgust. . ." Ichigo paused and thought about the kind of food Orihime had probably offered the Quincy. She had offered Ichigo some pickled snapper topped with vanilla frosting a few days ago. Ichigo couldn't help the small shudder running down his spine. "Well, I suppose you're excused for that one, but you still could have been nicer about the whole affair." Ishida ignored Ichigo's glare as he always did.
"I read that response you gave to that underclassman when she gave you chocolate on Valentine's Day. You were too cruel. She threw the note on the ground and ran away crying And then you harassed Chad for trying to train with us when he needs the training to gain skill more than either of us do. All this was in just over a week! I don't think I've ever heard you say anything nice or seen you write a pleasant letter to anyone! Maybe you should just shut up and and keep your thoughts to yourself until something positive can come out."
After his rant Ichigo was expecting a counter attack to come from the Quincy. He expected the whole thing to start off a shouting match to reach epic proportions. He was even readying himself for battle if the argument came to blows.
What he didn't expect was for Ishida to clench his jaw, turn around, and silently leave. The immaculate boy in his white outfit made his way to the door, pausing only to open it.
"I-Ishida. Wait," Ichigo muttered, completely thrown back at the way his sometimes rival and sometimes partner was acting. The orange haired Shinigami took a step forward to try and stop Ishida, but the Quincy had already stepped outside and shut the door without turning around to see the despondent look on Ichigo's face.
"Ish. . . shit!" he shouted, slamming his fist into the wall next to the door, leaving a large crater that someone else would sort out and fix later. Right now Ichigo had more important things on his mind. What the hell had come over Ishida that made him quietly accept such scorn from a Shinigami? And how was he supposed to make up for it? Pride wouldn't allow him to just go up and apologize - he had been right about the way Ishida was acting - but maybe he shouldn't have called Ishida out on it. It wasn't as if Ichigo was Mr. Sunshine himself. He couldn't go to Rukia for advice either, she wouldn't understand why they were fighting in the first place and would probably just tell him to be a man and apologize.
Ichigo trudged to his room deeply in thought and threw himself down on the bed with a sigh. Laying face up with his head cradled in the fold of his arms Ichigo prepared himself for a long time of thought on how to make things right with Ishida again.
The next day in school Ishida seemed like he was trying his damnedest to ignore Ichigo and any stuttered attempt at reconciliation. The black haired boy just turned his eyes away and stayed silent, immersing himself in his books or a random sewing project. During lunch he stayed in the classroom and started eating when the others made their trip up to the roof. Orihime and Chad tried inviting him to come along but Ishida just shook his head in the negative and took a bite of his salmon-salad sandwich. By the end of the day everyone was curious about Ishida's reluctance to speak or hang out with the normal group, but they didn't know him too well and were used to him just doing his own thing. None of them knew about the fight he and Ichigo had the previous day, but by the Shinigami's more-so-than-normal downtrodden mood they could easily guess something was up between the two of them. So for that day Ishida was left alone to cool down and hopefully things would be right again the next morning.
Three weeks after Ichigo had chewed Ishida out for his negative comments and harsh criticism the Quincy was still remaining a silent pillar of ice. Girls from class and from the sewing club had tried to cheer him up and talk him out of this funk to no avail. Orihime had been her normal happy self and glued herself to Ishida's side for one of those weeks but all she got in return for her strange brand of spunk was silence. When it was thought that he had lost his voice, some of the boys in class had told him to write out the answers to homework for them that he sometimes deigned to give them verbally. Ishida had just stared at the pen as it rolled across the paper the desperate boys had supplied him with.
Ichigo had gone through some interesting stages during the three weeks. First was his regretful stage when he tried to make vaguely friendly actions towards Ishida and was disappointed but not surprised when they were rejected. Ichigo had been in fights with people before and figured after a few days he and Ishida would be back to their normal ways. When that didn't happen the Shinigami got angry. Who did Ishida think he was, ignoring the people who cared about him like that? And who was he to ignore any even slightly friendly offerings from Ichigo when he hardly ever offered such a thing? This stage lasted for roughly over a week and had students all over the school running for their lives from the furious destruction caused by random flying kicks and punches thanks to Ichigo's dark mood. Rukia, Chad, Tatsuki, and Orihime were about the only ones who dared to come near him for that week. The large chested redhead had tried asking what had happened between the boys so that they could all work together and fix things, but Ichigo had just growled at her. Even after Rukia and Tatsuki had given him a once over for being rude to Orihime he refused to say anything. The group was beginning to think things were hopeless. Ishida wouldn't even respond to their existence and Ichigo was a raving madman about the situation.
Finally, after he had worked out quite a bit of aggression and caused a hefty amount of property damage, Ichigo moved on to the third stage, which he was currently bogged down in. The Shinigami was dealing with all-out guilt. Though he would never admit it to anyone even to save his soul, Ichigo liked Ishida. He liked having someone who had power and knew what they were doing with it. He liked having someone to fight back against. Rukia and he fought all the time, and before that he and Tatsuki would argue, but it was easier to be aggressive with another male. Plus he didn't have to restrain himself if a punch worked its way into the fight. Chad never fought back and didn't like arguing. Ishida was the only one even near his level that he felt comfortable dishing it out to. Besides that, he wanted to know more about the Quincy. More about his powers, more about his past, more about why he harbored such hatred, more about why in the world he chose sewing as a hobby. . .there was a lot to Ishida Uryuu and until this eternal silence had come about, Ichigo had slowly been learning what he wanted to know. For three weeks he had felt a noticeable absence at his side and what bothered Ichigo the most and eventually dragged him down into guilt was that his own actions had created the rift between himself and Ishida.
It was absolutely true that Ishida had never uttered a positive sentiment once in his presence. There had been positive aspects to some of the things he said, but they were squashed down by the overwhelming criticisms and negative things. That thank-you letter Ishida had given him had at the end called Ichigo adequate. At the time, being considered only barely good enough when he had made sure Ishida wasn't gored by a Hollow, had been infuriating. Now that he was in the guilt stage, Ichigo was starting to realize that being considered "adequate" was actually quite a step for the boy who had relied only on his own power for the whole of his life. Ishida even made the effort to attempt eating lunch with people he hardly knew just because Ichigo (forcefully) suggested it. Now that the Quincy was absent from his side, Ichigo was finally starting to see all the sacrifices made by him and the little hints of opening up Ishida was trying to show. The fact that he had even agreed to training together with a Shinigami was proof of that. So maybe nothing positive came out of the boy, but he was still trying.
It was March 14th when Ishida finally confronted Ichigo on the rooftop after school. The others had left Ichigo to continue moping about the situation so the rivals were alone. The orange haired boy just stared up at Ishida with confused and slightly hopeful eyes.
"Here," the Quincy said softly, throwing a thick envelope onto Ichigo's lap. He then sat down next to Ichigo, close enough so their knees barely brushed together. Surprised and happy that Ishida had finally spoken to him after all this time but also wary of what Ishida had written on so many pieces of paper, Ichigo pulled out the content of the envelope and readied himself to read it and somehow make up with his. . . friend.
The top of the first page was labeled "To Kurosaki Ichigo," but there was no writing under it. He quickly shuffled to the next page only to find it blank as well. Only on the eighth page was any more writing found, and that was only a neatly signed "Ishida Uryuu." Ichigo held the eight blank pages in his hand and looked over at Ishida.
"What. . .?"
Ishida breathed out in a huff. "You were right. Nothing positive can come out of me." The Quincy left it at that and Ichigo was about to sigh in frustration when it clicked.
He could have filled the pages with negative comments and all his usual snarky attitude, but instead Ishida had left the pages blank. Eight full pages of blankness. Oh. A grin spread across his face and Ichigo tucked the blank pages into his coat pocket.
"Yeah, well, I like you too," he said lightheartedly, nudging up against Ishida's shoulder and staying there. Ishida looked like he was about to protest but then shut up and enjoyed the warmth forming between the two of them. Ichigo gave a disapproving hum. "You know, you can talk even if it's not nice. I kind of missed your voice and all."
"Of course I know I can talk, I just didn't feel like it."
Ichigo smiled and leaned his head against silky black hair. Ishida let him.
Well, there goes my first Bleach fic. Ichigo/Ishida need more love. ^_~ Here's to Valentine's Day inspiration! If you enjoyed it, I'm glad. If not, I'm sorry! And now I'm off to study.