Not even thinking, Ichigo batted something light and poky away from his head.
Li blinked at him, almost too mild. As if his fingers didn’t have a trace of cheap ink on them. “The light’s about to change.”
He’d almost walked right into traffic. Great. Just great. Live through Aizen, get taken out by dump truck.
Ichigo waited for the light, feeling the weight of Li’s gaze on him. Not the steady pressure of Uryuu staring at the back of his head in yet another droning class. Not the pale, lip-biting looks his sisters threw his way when they thought he wasn’t looking. Just a careful, subtle feeling of attention.
So he sat on his damn temper and waited until they were by a near-empty playground before he exploded. “Why do you even care?”
“Carmine looked like that.” Blue eyes darkened; glanced away. “She wanted to live. She was trying. But the things she’d seen, the things she’d done….” Li shook his head, hands shoved into jacket pockets. “It was too much. I didn’t know what to do. I… hurt her.” A heartbeat’s pause. “And then someone killed her.”
Ichigo stared at the little fountain near one edge of the playground, gripping the fence in one hand; not sure if he wanted to keep himself from hurling a punch or just hurtle the low chain and keep running. “Did – did the cops-?”
Li was silent.
“…That sucks,” Ichigo said at last. “But I’m not her. I’m okay. Ask anybody.”
“Okay.” Li’s voice was quiet. “But I thought that, maybe… I like climbing.” One hand came out with a pen and a scrap of notepaper; he scribbled, then folded the slip, offering it. “Maybe you could show me some good spots around here, sometime?”
A/N: Yep, Hei is leaving out a lot of details about the Carmine mess. Mind, he did feel sorry after interrogating her….