Careless Wonder

A girl with strange light red hair, borderline pink, appears out of nowhere from Ichigo's past and demands that she speaks with his father... and why is Urahara looking for her? Ichigo/oc

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13. Chapter Thirteen: Snow Day!

Careless Wonder

Chapter Thirteen: Snow Day!

Ichigo groggily walked down the stairs, his hands trying to wipe the sleep out of his eyes. He was ready to go, he had his school uniform on and scowl already in place; he was all set. He walked into the kitchen while scratching his head, his eyes closed as he yawned. When his show of tiredness ended, he looked around him seeing that Yuzu and Karin were not eating breakfast like they normally would at that time of day. He wondered if they slept through the blare of their alarm clocks.

He turned to go back upstairs to wake his sisters but stopped when he noticed someone was in the TV room flipping through channels. His eyebrow raised as he walked over to inspect. His head peeked over the couch and saw Yuzu and Karin flipping through the channels with opposite expression. Ichigo was confused.

"What's going on?"

The two looked up to see Ichigo towering over them, Karin instantly seeing he had his school uniform on and snickered. "It's a snow day you know, why do you have your school uniform on? Planning on going to school to suck up to your teachers?"

"A snow day," Ichigo began, growing more confused. He couldn't remember the last time his school cancelled because of the weather. "Why wasn't I told?" Karin shrugged.

"I dunno, ask Aria, she's the one who told us." Karin went back to flipping through the channels.

"And where is Aria?"

"I think she's outside."

Ichigo grumbled while walking to the door. He clearly was not in a good mood now since he got dressed for nothing. Another hour of sleep would have been great for the tired, orange haired teen. Opening the door, he peered outside to see everything covered in white. If he had to guess, it looked like they got about a foot of snow. He spotted Aria instantly, seeing her outside with her usual… she was wearing his favorite number fifteen shirt again.

But she didn't have a coat on.

Normally, he would have been annoyed, but seeing her without a coat in the freezing weather wearing nothing but a short sleeve shirt and sweat pants, he only sighed, letting her win that round. He walked forward and closed the door behind him. It was cold, he was already shivering. He walked to where Aria was standing and put his hand in his pockets as he approached.

"You're going to catch a cold if you don't put a winter coat on," he said with worry, but was heavily laced with annoyance.

She turned her upper body around to look at him, her rosy cheeks seemed to stand out more against her slightly pale skin. She smiled, and it wasn't her normal small one that was barely visible, but an actual smile that even reached to her eyes.

"Look at all this snow!" she said gleefully, turning back around and bending forward to grab some snow with her already reddening fingers. He rolled his eyes. "I'll have to admit, I never seen this much snow before. When I was alone, I usually had to travel somewhere where it didn't snow, just in case I had to spend a couple of weeks sleeping outside." She stood up and fully turned with the snow in her hands. He wondered how she wasn't shivering, she was red all over.

"Hey," he took a step forward and grabbed her wrists, forcing her to let go of the snow, which she did without much effort on his part. He stopped, feeling her hands shaking rapidly, almost like she was on a caffeine high. He firmly wrapped his fingers around her wrists in an attempt to stop the shacking, but failed. "Look at you. You look like your freezing to death, I doubt you want to spend the rest of today and the weekend sick in bed. Come back inside." He tugged her forward, a pout forming on her lips.

"I guess not…" she looked behind her and watched the small flurry of snow fall from the sky. "I wonder if tomorrow will be a snow day, too. It doesn't look like it's letting up."

He pulled her inside by her left wrist and over to the kitchen. When he let her go and turned to face her, he could clearly see her shacking, her face, hands, and arms turning redder from the warm air. He narrowed his eyes.

"What were you thinking going out there without a coat or something?!" He reached down and grabbed her hands. "I was going to run your hands under warm water, but seeing as they're practically frozen, that wouldn't be a good idea. Not unless you enjoy pain." He rubbed his hands against her right on both sides, he could practically feel the cold seeping through her skin. "You're an idiot sometimes." When she didn't comment he looked up to see what she was doing. Her head was turned, looking out the window with shimmering eyes. "You really like the snow, don't you?" She nodded. He grabbed her left hand to begin warming that one as well.

"I remember when I was real young, my dad and I use to make snow men. We made so many they took up the whole back yard. Forts was another thing we made together. He would make the walls higher than my head, and we would hide in them at night when my mom was looking for us. She would always find us because of my loud giggling…" she trailed off. Ichigo looked up again and saw she was now frowning as she replayed the memory in her head. He could see her pain clear in her eyes.

That was the first time he saw her walls slip. Seeing the pain she harbored, he found it hard to believe that she was capable of putting up such walls. Seeing her eyes, she looked lost and scared.

And just like that, it was gone.

She was staring hard out the window, like she just realized where she was at. She turned her eyes to him, then she looked down and narrowed them – then slyly smiled. "Why Ichigo, I didn't know you had a thing for me." Ichigo looked down and saw he was now grasping her now normal colored hands. He pulled back, his face flustered.

"What?! N-no, of course not! I have no idea what you're talking about." He crossed his arms and turned to the side, his trademark scowl back in full swing. She smiled.

"Soooo, do you have any winter coats and hats that would fit me?"

Karin sat up and looked over the couch. "I have a coat you can have and a hat with gloves. There too big for me because they use to belong to Ichigo until they were handed down to me." She got up and disappeared around the corner. In a minute she came back out with said coat, hat, and gloves. She handed the article of clothing over to Aria.

"Thanks Karin, I appreciate it."

"No big deal. You don't have to thank me, not like I want to wear Ichigo's old, raggedy coat anyway." Aria thanked her again, anyway. Karin just shrugged her shoulders and went back to the TV.

"Aria!" The said girl whose name was being called, lifted up her arm, fisting her hand just in time for someone's face to smash into it before he could almost kill her with a bear hug that she despises. Isshin crumbled to the ground, twitching all the while with his hands on his nose.

"Why? Why!? Why is the world so cruel!?" he cried out. He got up to his feet and ran over to the poster of Ichigo's mom, smacking his body to it to continue his unusual twitching while asking the poster why life was so cruel to him. Ichigo's eyebrow twitched uncontrollably at the sight set before him. He would think that he would have been use to his wild antics by now.

"He's humping the poster again," Aria grumbled. She watched with displeasure, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes at the old man. Ichigo didn't reply.

Then, like nothing happened, Isshin popped up between the two and wrapped his arms around their necks. "So, what do you two have planned for this wonderful snow day? Just make sure you dress properly, I wouldn't want any of you to get a cold…" He went on and on and on, spewing out nonsense. He laughed, tightening his arms around the two until, at the same time, they both elbowed him in the stomach. He hunched forward, repeating his words from earlier.

"Will you stop doing that already? You know Aria doesn't like to be hugged," Ichigo walked away, shaking his head at his annoying father. "What are you doing anyways? Shouldn't you be working right about now?"

"I took the day off!" Isshin said proudly. "I want to spend the day with my son and three daughters!"

"I'm not your daughter," Aria muttered.

Tears fell down his face from hearing those four words. "My fourth daughter doesn't love me!" He was going at the poster again. Aria rolled her eyes.

"Why do you call me your fourth daughter anyway? Who's the third?"

"Rukia, apparently," Ichigo sighed.

"So," Aria started, crossing her arms. "What do you want to do today?" She asked Ichigo. He shrugged.

"Go back to bed."

"Your such a downer, no wonder everyone calls you a prude."

"Hey! Stop with the insults, will ya?"

"Hey," Yuzu called, now standing in the kitchen with the three. "Since your not doing anything do you want to make a snowman with me, Ichigo?"

"Uhhh…"

"I can," Aria smiled down at her warmly. "I'm the master at making snowmen." Yuzu smiled brightly with her response, both now looking at Ichigo. "He's coming, too. He told me earlier he likes to make snow angels in the snow when no one's looking." Karin popped up, smiling up at her big brother teasingly.

"Is that so, never knew my brother had a soft spot for that sort of thing." All three girls laughed at the now scowling Ichigo.

~*~

Yuzu had Ichigo's hand in hers as she dragged him to the park with Aria and Karin ahead of them talking. Everyone had the proper winter gear on, even though Ichigo had to lecture Aria about wearing her gloves. If she was planning on making a snowman with Yuzu, she was going to need the gloves.

Ahead of them, Karin and Aria made snowballs as they walked and chucked them at random things like signs and mailboxes. He could hear Karin laugh and occasionally heard Aria chuckle. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but he could see the smile on Karin's face. She was enjoying herself. Ichigo couldn't help but smile to himself.

Yuzu swung her bag of snowman material as she walked next to Ichigo. "I haven't made a snowman in a really long time. I think the last time was with mom." Ichigo stared down at his sister, she was looking forward with a small, sad smile.

"It's really been that long?"

"Yeah, I can't wait. I have all the material," she brought the bag in front of her and looked down at it. "Buttons for eyes, black rocks for the mouth, a hat, scarf, and even a carrot for his nose." She was smiling again.

"Hey!" Karin called, waving her hand in front of the park entrance. "Hurry up slow pokes! I'm not getting any younger here!"

"Coming!" Yuzu replied and began to jog to catch up, giggling all the way.

Ichigo sat under a tree watching Karin and Aria push around a giant ball of snow for the bottom half of the snowman. The thing was up to Karin's waist when they decided it was big enough. Aria went to help Yuzu with the middle as Karin made the bottom half rounder and getting any dirt or grass off it. Aria and Yuzu rolled the middle over to the base, all three circled around it ready to pick it up. When they lifted, both Yuzu's and Karin's face turned red from the weight with Aria laughing at their faces. When they took a step though, Yuzu and Karin let go and the un-expecting Aria eyes grew wide as she fell back with the large ball of snow toppling over, completely covering her. Her head popped out of the snow, sputtering some out. Taking one look at her, Karin and Yuzu laughed with Aria soon following.

After another try they finally had the snowman made, Yuzu and Karin put the clothes and face on while Aria went searching for sticks. When she came back with two fairly sized sticks, the snowman was finally complete. All three stood back and admired their handy work.

"If I say so myself, I think this is the best snowman I ever seen." Aria smiled down at the two girls. Karin had her hands on her hips with a smile, while Yuzu had her hands clasped in front of her with a big, happy smile.

"Of course it's the best," Karin gloated, rubbing under her nose with her finger. "We made it after all." Yuzu nodded in agreement.

"I never made one this big before, it's so much taller than me! I love it!" Yuzu giggled.

Ichigo came up behind them and poked his head between Yuzu and Karin, "Nice job you two. Dad would be jealous if he saw your guy's snowman. It's the best one I've seen." Yuzu smile grew. She hugged Ichigo around the waist which surprised him, but recovered quickly putting his hand on her shoulder with a smile.

Aria lightly punched Ichigo in the shoulder. "Oh, so where was I when this snowman was made?" She teased.

"Oh, you're here? Huh – I guess I didn't see you," he laughed when he saw her face scrunch up with irritation. Before he knew it, a snowball smacked into his own face. He blinked, then narrowed his eyes at the smiling Aria.

"Oh, so you want to play that game." He bent down slowly, balling up snow into his hands and looked up mischievously at the still smiling Aria.

"Like you can hit me," She snorted. "You throw like a –" A snowball hit her face, making her take a step back in surprise. She looked at Ichigo to see him looking at her in confusion, then back down at his own snowball. Both their eyes turned to Karin who had her hands on her hips and a triumphant smile on her face. "So you want to take sides, do you?" She smiled as an idea flashed through her eyes. "Let's have a snowball fight." She walked over to Yuzu and placed her arm around her shoulder. "You two against us two. One hit kill. We have a half an hour to build our fort in a random place in the park. Whoever retrieves…" she looked around, looking for something until her eyes lit up. She pulled the hat off her head and smiled down at it. "Whoever retrieves the opposing teams' hat wins automatically?" Ichigo began to shake his head but Karin took the initiative.

"Heck yeah! You're on!" She turned and grabbed Ichigo by the arm "Come on Ichigo, we have a snowball fight to win."

"What? I never agreed to this?"

"Will you stop complaining and just have fun for once in your boring life?"

Aria watched them walk off, Ichigo still complaining. She turned toward Yuzu and smiled down at the young girl. "I have a plan." She winked.

Half an hour passed, both had their basses made and ready for the upcoming battle.

"Okay Ichigo, what's the plan?" Karin asked as she rolled their snowball ammo.

"I don't know. I didn't even want to play this stupid game," Even though he was saying that, he too, was rolling out balls of snow, his eyes shifting back in forth, preparing for a surprise attack.

"I'm glad I can count on you," She said with sarcasm. "I say you stay here and sulk and I'll go look for their base. Aria most likely has Yuzu guarding as she's out looking for our hideout. Just make sure you actually try and defend, I don't want to lose because of your laziness."

"Nice vote of confidence there, Karin. You know, that wasn't really nice."

"I'm only telling the truth. Ever since mom died you've been such a prude. It's okay to have fun once in a while, just let loose and have fun once in a great while."

He didn't say anything. He couldn't say anything. What could he say to that? She was right after all. He did change a lot after she died, he realized that.

A snowball came whizzing over their heads. They both ducked and pressed their backs to the wall of their fort. "She's already here?" Karin was a little more than surprise.

"That's a good thing. We can take her out and the game is as good as ours."

Karin turned to look at Ichigo with amazement. He was hunched over as he poked his head up to look for Aria, his eyes twitching back a forth. He looked determined. Karin smiled.

It was about time.

Ichigo ducked, a snowball whizzing over where his head was. "She's to the right hiding behind the forth tree nearest us." He picked up a snowball and chucked it in her direction before ducking again. "She rolled over to the next tree over. Now she's hiding behind the third tree to the left."

Karin nodded. "Okay, how about we grab as many snow balls we can hold and chuck them in her direction. She needs to slip up sometime." Ichigo returned the nod.

"Sounds like a plan."

They both shot up and chucked as many snowballs they could. They were lucky, she was just creeping out when they stood and started their assault. She dodged and rolled to get out of the way. Both reached down to grab more snowballs, but realized they ran out.

"Hurry, make more! She's coming!" Karin ordered.

They desperately made more snowballs. Then, they heard the snow crunch near them. Karin panicked, she grabbed a snowball and shot up, throwing the ball with her eyes closed.

Then it was silent.

Karin slowly opened her eyes to see Aria was only a foot away from her, twitching on the ground, her eyes spinning, and snow covering her face. Ichigo stood up, looking down at Karin's handy work and smiled.

"Nice job Karin, you got her!"

She shot her hand up into the air with excitement. "One down, one to – "

Splat

They both froze, not believing what just happened.

They both slowly turned around to see Yuzu smiling sweetly at them, her hands clasped behind her back. "Looks like I win."

While they were in the heat of the moment, Yuzu came out from her hiding spot and threw two snowballs, both hitting their backs.

Their eyes twitched at the sweet Yuzu who somehow beat them. Aria shot up from her lying position, smiling wildly at Yuzu. She leaped over their fort, grabbed the hat that was supposed to be the winning piece and ran up to Yuzu grabbing her into a bear hug. She twirled the girl around, both laughing from their victory.

Ichigo watched as Aria twirled his little sister around, her feet not touching the ground anymore. She looked so happy, her smile took up most of her face. She looked like a normal human being, someone who was truly happy with their life.

He couldn't look away. She looked - wonderful. Amazing.

Aria slipped, her foot flying up as she fell backwards, Yuzu flung over her head. Both fell on their backs, but Aria sat up right away to look at Yuzu. "Are you okay? Did I hurt you?" she said quickly and full of worry.

Yuzu was laughing. "That was so much fun. We should play again." She began to move her arms and legs back and forth, making a snow angel.

"I call Aria!" Karin declared. She ran over to the two and fell next to them. All three were moving their arms and legs creating snow angels.

He didn't say anything about the insult. He still had a soft smile on his face as he walked over to the girls. Aria stood up and looked down at her artwork. He laughed when he saw her back and jeans covered in snow. He stood next to her and wiped the snow off her back, (but not going down any lower past her waist). "You're covered in snow, if you don't wipe the snow off your jeans they'll soak through. If that happens, you will get a cold and it won't be pretty."

She smack his arm away lightly and crossed her arms. "I think I can take care of myself." She looked to see his sisters standing up and admiring their work as well. "I'm guessing you're not going to make a snow angel, even if I ask you nicely?"

"You guessed right." She shrugged her shoulders then bent down to her snow angel. She drew a face where the head was supposed to be. When she stood up, she smiled smugly at her handy work.

"Look, it's you." He looked down to see a frown, eyes, and eyebrows set to a scowl.

"Looks just like you, Ichigo," Karin teased, crossing her arms.

His face mimics the angel causing all three girls to laugh. "I don't look like that all the time."

"Then you need to look in the mirror more often."

~*~

They walked home after deciding it would be best to just go and drink some hot chocolate instead of playing another game. Ichigo's sisters walked ahead, Yuzu skipping and Karin following close behind with her hands behind her head. Ichigo and Aria walked side by side as they watched the two girls ahead of them.

"You know," Aria began, breaking the silence. "I've always wanted a sibling." She watched his sisters fondly.

"Well, according to my dad your part of the family now. So basically they are like your sisters." His eyes shifted to look at her. She was still smiling, her eyes shining with warmth. "You care about them, don't you?" She bite her bottom lip, something he only seen her do once before back at Kisuke's shop. Was she nervous?

"Even though I haven't been here for very long, I'm starting to love them like they are my own sisters."

"So, does that make me your brother?"

She acted like she had to think about it, grabbing her chin. "No, I can't see you being my brother."

"And why not?"

""Cause I wouldn't want a brother with freaky orange hair. I would have to protect him all the time from the big and scary bullies." She snickered. "Besides, you're too much of a cry baby anyways, my brother would be tough."

Ichigo put her into a head lock, rubbing his knuckled against her scalp repeatedly. "What was that? Why don't you say that again, I didn't quite hear you?" She pulled free, pushing his hands away with a grunt. She pulled her hand into a fist and punched him straight in the jaw, making him stager back.

He grabbed his chin and glared at her. "You know I hate it when you do that."

She crossed her arm, jutting her hip out and grinned. "Oh yeah? What you going to do about it tough guy? If I remember correctly, I was the one who saved you from those bullies back then."

Eye twitch.

Before she knew it, she was falling backwards, her back hitting the soft snow near the sidewalk. Ichigo loomed over her on his knees, snow in his hands. She opened her mouth to speak but was soon eating snow. She kicked her legs wildly, her arms flailing around. Ichigo laughed at her attempt to move away, that is until her fist hit him square in the nose. He sat back, clutching his nose in pain.

Aria wiped the snow off her face, glaring up at the orange haired teen. "You know," he started. "That really did hurt."

"Yeah, well, you deserved it dumbass." He rubbed his nose and glowered down at her… then he smiled – then he began to laugh. Aria scrunched up her face in confusion, then, out of nowhere and out of character for her, she laughed too.

Yuzu and Karin looked behind them to see what they were laughing at. What they didn't expect to see was Ichigo straddling over Aria and laughing together. "What weirdo's." Karin shrugged it off turning around and walking off. Yuzu face turned pink, but she turned around to follow her sister back home.

The funny part about the whole situation was that the two didn't have the slightest clue what position they were in.

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