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Status Quo

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Two days after Ichigo leaves the hospital, he wakes up breathless with terror, reaching for a sword that is not there, for enemies that are not as gone as he thought, with Rukia's hand in his hair.

"Hey," she says, fingers tightening briefly for a second before she releases him and sits back in his desk chair next to his bed.

Ichigo shudders and closes his eyes, bringing up a hand to cover his eyes, trying to get his breathing under control.

"I keep telling you, Rukia," he mumbles, curling his toes into the sheets. "It's fucking weird to watch other people sleep."

"Yeah," Rukia says simply.

Ichigo turns his head to the side to look at her, once he's sure he's not going to freak out. She's brought her legs up so that she can rest her chin on her knees, so small that his desk chair, by all accounts average-sized, seems to overshadow her completely.

He closes his eyes again.

"Did I wake you up?" he mutters, fists clenching with how much he hates talking about this.

"You woke Kon up, actually," Rukia's voice comes softly. "And he freaked out and came running to me."

Ichigo lets out a dry laugh, even though the situation is anything but funny.

"Rukia," he says, because he has to say, has to otherwise he'll explode. "I can't-"

"I know," Rukia says and he opens his eyes.

She's pressed her cheek to her left knee now, head tilted to the side toward him. Her eyes are sad, but there's no pity in them, because of course she knows. Rukia always knows.

"Shit," Ichigo says and turns his face back up to the ceiling.

For a long time both of them say nothing, and Ichigo focuses on just breathing and feeling his heart rate go down.

"Hey," he says after a while, glancing at the clock which reads 3:51. "You should go to bed."

"I am not really tired," Rukia blatantly lies. She's looked totally exhausted these past few days, causing Ichigo to wonder what exactly her department store job is having her do.

"Oh, for God's sake," Ichigo groans, throwing back his comforter. "Get in here. You have work tomorrow, you know."

"You worry too much, Ichigo," Rukia complains, but gets in beside him anyway.

Ichigo's bed is not really made for two, but Rukia is so small that she's always been able to fit without much trouble. She curls on her side per usual, short hair falling so close to his face that he can smell her shampoo. Well, his shampoo that she steals from him because Rukia has no sense of private property. Probably something to do with living as a shinigami for so long.

"Ichigo," she mumbles just when he thinks she's fallen asleep, the sleeve of Yuzu's pajamas brushing against his wrist.


"It'll get better."

Ichigo does not believe her.

She's gone when his alarm rings, despite the fact that he has to wake up more than an hour before she does because of his commute. Ichigo drags himself out of bed, makes himself some toast, and is unable to find his graphing calculator, to his great annoyance.

"KONNNN!" he shouts loudly, even though he hasn't looked anywhere else but his desk yet. He has no idea what Kon would want with his graphing calculator, but he has no idea what Kon wants with anything, so...

The stupid bastard is not answering, so Ichigo pulls open the door of Rukia's room, intent on finding him and grilling him.

"Hey, Rukia, get up, do you know whe-"

Rukia, however, is already up and in a state of extreme undress, naked to the waist, bra in one hand and pajama top in the other. For a second, they stare at each other.

"Have you seen, Kon?" Ichigo continues, after he gets over the initial surprise of Rukia actually having managed to find a bra with bunnies on it. "I think he might've stolen my graphing calculator."

"Oh, is that your reaction, you asshole!" Rukia shouts in response and all but throws him out of her room. "Get out!"

"Oww, what the fuck?" Ichigo complains as she slams the door behind her.

"Knock before you enter a girl's room, fool!" Rukia shouts from behind the closed door. "Do you not have any sense?"

"Oh, please, you're not a girl, you're Rukia," Ichigo retorts and to his surprise, Rukia lets out a sharp bark of laughter in reply.

"I cannot argue with that," she says, pleased, and Ichigo can hear the smirk in her voice. "However, do you not have somewhere to be?"

Ichigo looks at the clock. "Shit!"

He ends up finding his calculator stuck between the cushions of their ratty couch later that night and Rukia laughs at him, kicking him in the shin when he makes fun of her pathetic attempt at curry in response. Random nudity notwithstanding, it's a pretty normal day.