Fandom: Bleach (manga)
Seasons/Spoilers: Spoilers for The Lost Agent arc (or The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc, whichever you prefer to call it).
Summary: He was torn from his thoughts, when her mumbles of nothingness turned into soft cries and she started shaking her head back and forth.
Author's Notes: For kanjo_girl who requested Orihime & Ishida - by your side at hyouhakuzai_fic.
Ishida opened his eyes and glared up at the sickening white ceiling of his hospital room. He didn't need to look around to know that he was alone and that the chair by his bedside was empty. He knew that he didn't have many friends, it was something he acknowledge and it didn't usually bother him much. But surely there was an unwritten rule somewhere that said people should visit someone in the hospital.
"Apparently not in your case, Ishida." He mumbled to himself, before he closed his eyes and forced himself asleep again.
- - -
Sometime later, hours more than likely given the way the sunlight shone in through the partially open blinds, he was woken by a noise inside the room. He turned his head to see Inoue sleeping in the chair by his bed that had previously been empty. She was mumbling in her sleep, but the only words he was able to understand were "red bean paste".
Instead of waking the girl, he watched her sleep. It was comforting to have a presence in the room other than his own. The fact that it was Inoue only made it better. But aside from that, he could tell by the dark circles under her eyes, that she hadn't been getting much sleep at home. Not that he could blame her, really, given what she had been through in Hueco Mundo. Even if it had been more than a year ago, he knew that the damage she had suffered was still fresh, as it was with all of them.
He was torn from his thoughts, when her mumbles of nothingness turned into soft cries and she started shaking her head back and forth.
He carefully rolled over and with his good arm, reached out to brush some of the hair that had fallen across her face. "Inoue..."
With a start, she woke. It took her a few moments to realize where she was and when she did, she smiled at Ishida.
"Ishida-kun... Did I fall asleep?"
Ishida nodded, before he rolled over onto his back. "I was going to wake you, but you looked like you could use the rest."
Her smiled faded and turned into an embarrassed frown. "Yes," she said quietly, in a way that left Ishida wondering if she was answering him or confirming it to herself.
"Do you want to talk?" He knew it was a long shot. She probably had talked to Kurosaki about her lack of sleep. And if not him, then Arisawa. So he was surprised when she began speaking.
"I have nightmares," she whispered. "I don't remember them when I wake up, but they leave me feeling sick and I know they must have been horrible, if I'm left physically ill."
He nodded and waited for her to continue.
"Tatsuki-chan stays with me sometimes. She knows about the nightmares, but she doesn't really understand. They aren't as bad when she's around, because I know that I'm not alone."
"Would you like to sleep with me?" As soon as the words left his lips, he immediately regretted it.
"Ishida-kun..." Inoue said, with wide eyes and a deep blush settling on her cheeks.
"I don't mean like that! What I meant was, here. In the room. With me. The hospital has cots for families stay on sometimes. A nurse could set one up for you, so you wouldn't be alone."
Inoue visibly relaxed, though the blush remained. "Would your father be upset if I did?"
"I don't care about Ryūken. I care about you."
Inoue's eyes widened again. "You...do...?" she asked.
He nodded once. "I do. I have, for quite some time."
"I care about you too, Ishida-kun."
"Call me Uryū. After all, we'll be sleeping together." He said with a grin.
"You can call me Orihime, if you would like." She said, blushing deeper.
- - -
Later that night, Ishida watched as Inoue slept on a cot that had been set up earlier in the evening by his bedside.
"I'll protect you, Orihime." He whispered. "I will get strong again and I will help you fight your nightmares. I promise."