Author: Ragna (afteriwake)
Spoilers (if applicable): The latest chapter (can't remember the number), mostly because of the gorgeous Orihime pic.
Warnings (if applicable): None
Summary: All the waiting has lead to a perfect moment.
Authors Notes: I wrote this very quickly so I apologize for any mistakes. I couldn't not enter this challenge, but it's my first time writing this ship so be gentle? Thanks for such a wonderful challenge!
He doesn’t understand the need that drives him, but every night he goes by her apartment. He never goes to the door, never even steps onto the property off the sidewalk, but he’s there. Some nights she’s home and he can see her kitchen light on. Some nights she’s not, and the kitchen is dark. Or maybe she’s there and just sleeping…he never knows. But for a few moments on the way to his own apartment, far away from his father, he stays and looks at Inoue-kun’s apartment.
The time she catches him doing it, it’s raining. He walked by earlier than usual, she was running late. In fact, she was running to get out of the rain, and collided into him, knocking them both over. She started to apologize and pushed her long hair out of her face, and even in the rain she smiled. “Ishida-kun! I’m so sorry, you should come inside and warm up.”
He had never been inside her apartment. That had been an honor he hadn’t been granted yet, not even after everything in Hueco Mundo, even with everything on the dome. He let her help him up, and he realized it was a good thing he hadn’t been carrying anything except an umbrella because the rain had gotten harder and everything would have gotten soaked. She didn’t let go of his hand, and that filled him up with a curious warmth.
She pulled him into the apartment building, only letting go of his hand to let them in. And the minute the door was opened she’d grabbed it again to get him inside and lead him to the bathroom. She let go before she opened the door, and he stared at her for a moment while she rumaged around in the room and handed him some towels. His brain was getting fuddled and it was unusual for him.
“I have something you can change into, Ishida-kun,” she said. “My neighbor is tall and thin like you and he told me I should always have one spare set of mens clothes in case something like this happens. Isn’t he smart?”
He just nodded and went into the bathroom to dry off. She handed him the clothes and then closed the door behind her, and he finished drying off, taking off his sodden school uniform and putting on the sweatpants and T-shirt. He did not normally wear such informal clothing, but here, with her, it felt all right. He opened the door. “Where should I put my wet clothes?”
“You can leave them there, on the shower,” she said, and then she began to hum. He put them up and went out, taking his first good look at the apartment. It was small, but it had warmth and light, even on a cold and rainy day. It was nothing like his own place, which was cold even on the sunny days. Sometimes he wondered if he was simply too cold of a person.
He looked into the kitchen and saw her making something. It looked like tea. “Do you need any help?” he asked, not only because it was the polite thing to do but because he needed to do something.
“No, that’s okay. The tea is almost done.” She turned and smiled at him. “I hope you like jasmine tea. It’s my favorite.”
“That’s fine,” he replied with a nod.
She finished making the tea and set it on the counter that had two stools next to it to add some sweet smelling pastry next to the cups. “Did you want to talk to me today?” she asked, motioning to the couch nearby.
“No, I was just in the neighborhood,” he said, sitting down. She set the tray on the table and he saw it was a cupcake. It must be from her job, he thought to himself as he picked up his tea. He took a sip, enjoying the warmth and the fragrant smell that eminated from the cup.
“Please have a cupcake. I baked them yesterday, but they’re still good. I bring them home sometimes, the ones that don’t look perfect.” She smiled at him again.
“It looks perfect to me,” he said, looking at the cupcake. “What did you think was wrong with it?”
“Not enough icing,” she said with a nod. “I think there should be a lot of icing on every one, but we ran out.”
He smiled slightly at that before picking it up and taking a bite. Her culinary skills had seemed to have improved in the time since they came back, and if she had made a cupcake that tasted this good, he should find a way to get some more. “This is very good.”
“It is? Really?” she said, beaming.
“I do not like icing very much, so this has just the right amount.”
She nodded. “I can bring you more with less icing, if you want, Ishida-kun.”
“I would like that,” he said with a nod before taking another bite.
“Sometimes I go by where you live after work and think that I should leave a box of them outside your door, but I’m afraid people will take them and you won’t get any.”
“You know where I live?” he asked, surprised.
She nodded, and then looked down at her lap, where her hands were folded. “I go there in the morning, before school, and sometimes I hope you will come out and we can walk to school together, and other times I hope you don’t because I wouldn’t know what to say.”
The look of surprise deepened, and then he looked down as well. “I come by here in the evenings, sometimes, and I think maybe I should come up and say hello.”
“You should!” she said. “And I will come by earlier and we can walk to school together, even if we have to walk in silence.”
“I don’t think we would have to walk in silence,” he said, looking at her. She must have realized this, and she looked up and smiled. “I will listen to anything you have to say, always.”
“That’s good, Ishida-kun, because I want to spend every morning with you.” She blushed slightly. “I mean…I want to walk to school with you every morning.”
“We can do that,” he said. “But…may I do something first?”
“Okay,” she said.
He reached over and touched her face gently as he pushed her bangs back and tucked them behind her ear. “May I kiss you?”
“Yes,” she said with a slight nod. “I’ve wanted you to do that for a while now.”
“Good,” he said, and he leaned in. When their lips met he heard her sigh slightly, and then he knew that all those nights of waiting outside had lead to this one perfect moment, and hopefully this perfect moment would lead to more in the future.