A/N: File upload is working for me again yaaaaaay!

This will be the inaugural entry for a collection of bonus scenes expanding on things implied to have happened in the main story. I've considered doing something like this for awhile now but never really had anything to start with. Well, except for fragments of things that haven't happened yet. I don't know if/when this will get new chapters but this will be like the deleted scenes on a DVD of a movie.

While this is not a holiday scene, I wanted to give readers of my main story a holiday gift for their patience. And the document upload wouldn't work for me lol. And then life happened. I technically have another two chapters typed up, but I want to be farther along before I post one. So here's some fluff I had lying around. ;)


Sibling Nerd Bonding Time

A follow-up to Chapter 61 of As N Approaches Infinity- what happens directly after Ichigo's heart-to-heart with Homura. Vaguely existed in my head but got fleshed out after chatting with reviewers.

* If you want to watch the video Homura and Ichigo are talking about, search YouTube for "ballet romeo juliet fantasy overture" without quotation marks. It's the one that's 20:20 long. It's not necessary to watch it to read the story. My ballet terminology/analysis may not be perfect.

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Ichigo was sitting on the floor in front of the smart TV with Homura. She was kneeling and holding the remote, turned to half-face him with her back mostly to the door. He was sitting cross-legged, angled to see the TV and the girl, holding a notebook and a pencil and watching Homura intently. His eyes drifted over her shoulder and spotted a smart phone at the bottom corner of the doorway, held by his father's hand. Isshin was probably laying on the floor recording them in secret. He did this occasionally when he thought Ichigo or the girls were being cute and would stop if they knew he was watching. Usually, his father doing that pissed him off to the point of charging him and chasing him around to grab the phone. But this time...

He turned his face from the phone without calling attention to it. This would be the only way his future selves could "remember" this moment. And it was a remarkable moment. It was the most relaxed and... teenagery he had seen Homura. Ichigo wished the camera could capture her face, but he knew she was sharp enough to notice movement in the window if Isshin tried to get that angle. And no audio would get through, besides.

Work with what you have, Ichigo told himself.

Homura used the remote to pause the video. "Note the use of flute as Juliet dances by herself. And that the melody sounds stressed and is played as countering the strings. This implies the distress the feud causes her."

"Right," Ichigo said with a nod.

Homura unpaused the video and said, "The way Juliet dances from side to side between the two lines of backup dancers represents her inner conflict between love and hate after Romeo kills her cousin to avenge Mercutio."

Ichigo watched the screen with interest and muttered, "My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain, And Tybalt's dead, that would have slain my husband. All this is comfort. Wherefore weep I then? Some word there was, worser than Tybalt's death, That murdered me. I would forget it fain, But oh, it presses to my memory, Like damnèd guilty deeds to sinners' minds. 'Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banishèd.'"

Nerd, the Hollow sneered without any heat.

"Precisely." Homura sounded pleased. "Now, when Juliet exits and Romeo enters, his dance is an expression of his lamenting in Friar Laurence's cell."

"When he's getting all melodramatic about how being banished may as well be death and the friar is all 'calm down, you idiot'?"

Homura's shoulders twitched as though she was stifling a laugh. It made Ichigo grin.

After observing for a moment, Ichigo asked, "So is the music getting all intense again and the backup dancers doing their thing the scene of the Capulets pissed off about Tybalt and planning Juliet's wedding? Like, plotting against Romeo and Juliet without realizing it?"

"Yes. Ah- see how Juliet appears and weaves through them? They determine her path, yet she also avoids them. Evades their plans."

The two sat and watched the screen for a minute. Cymbals suddenly clashed.

Ichigo smirked as the dancer playing Romeo threw himself into the scene. "And here comes Romeo, all boom! Screw the law, I'm gonna visit my wife!"

Homura actually snorted.

"Oh, hey," Ichigo muttered under his breath, leaning forward and squinting at the backup dancers, who had taken still positions as Romeo danced around them. Their stillness let him focus on them better. "It's hard to tell when they're moving, but they're really breathing hard. I see what you mean about it being strenuous."

The girl sighed softly and looked wistful.

Crap crap crap. Think before you speak! Ichigo wanted to kick himself. He forced a cocky, conspiratorial grin and said, "Your magical girl stamina will let you crush them once you get around to dancing."

Homura's eyes darted to his and she favored him with a dry expression like a mild you're terrible at subtlety but I appreciate the sentiment, but she didn't comment. Instead, she turned to the screen as the music calmed and complained, "This camera angle is terrible. It should be showing Romeo and Juliet flitting around the balcony set before they come down to center stage."

"Camera guy needs to learn how to keep the shot focused, too," Ichigo observed. "I hope the dance people didn't pay this person to film this." He noted her amusement and looked at the screen like he knew he usually looked at his college textbooks. "So like... I'm guessing it's significant that the backup dancers left and it's just the two of them?"

Homura nodded. "This is their wedding night and the beginning of a grand pas de deux."

Her pronunciation sounded so authentic that Ichigo laughed, "You weren't kidding about being able to speak French!"

The girl fidgeted, but didn't otherwise accept the compliment. "A pas de deux is a dance performed by two partners. The term means 'step of two.' Note how they begin by slowly mirroring each other's steps to get in starting position."


"This is the entrée, or entrance. Now comes the adage or adagio, the slow main body of the dance."

"Wait- that music sounds so familiar!"

Homura's lips actually curved into a small smile. "That is the love theme. It has become popular as stock dramatic romantic accompaniment in a variety of media. To the point of cliché, really."

She's a nerd, too, the Hollow said with something that sounded as close to affection as it ever got- usually regarding Karin and Yuzu. The Hollow tracked Ichigo's thoughts and drawled, What's yours is mine, King.

Of course. And it didn't hurt that the girl had helpfully painted a bright red target on the thing that had created the poor Witch who had practically stamped a Property Of mark on him a year previous; the enemy that also swindled his sisters' souls. Which the Hollow was also possessive of.

Ichigo scribbled in his notebook before going back to watching the dancers do... stereotypical graceful ballet stuff.

"Now they are miming kissing," Homura explained.

Ichigo nodded, then knit his brows in confusion. "Why are they rolling on the floooorrrOHHHHH. Wedding night."

The briefest of laughs escaped Homura's mouth. She immediately covered her mouth with one hand.

Ichigo grinned then gave her a fake stern look. "And what would you know about wedding nights, young lady?"

Homura paused the video and raised a brow at him. She airily said, "It's Shakespeare," as if that was sufficient explanation.

Which it was. Ichigo barked out a laugh. "He was the king of dirty jokes and skirting around sex."

"Mother gave me an annotated high school level copy of Romeo and Juliet when I was nine without reading it first. I had many questions for her. "

The mental image of an innocent little Homura asking her mother about maidenheads and the torrent of bawdiness that was Mercutio's dialogue made Ichigo remember his own father's face when he had asked at eleven. Ichigo laughed harder.

"Shall we continue?" Homura asked.

"Sure, sure."

The video played. Homura said, "Note how a few backup dancers dart across the stage behind them. That is the thoughts of their families' feud and their impending separation because of it. Their continuing their pas de deux despite the backup dancers signifies their defiance of the feud."

"Oh, I get it." Ichigo watched studiously. "Oh, is the way they're reaching their arms like that like... the part where they're all I need to leave, I want you to stay, okay I'll stay, wait no you should go?"

"Yes. Now, the variations."


"Each dancer takes a turn dancing by themselves to show off technical skills."

"Ohhh." Ichigo scribbled in his notebook, sloppily writing his own shorthand with brief glances at the page as he watched the dance. "Oh, they're by themselves and that love music is back."

"Yes. This is the coda, which is essentially a recap of the pas de deux leading to this point, building to a dramatic climax." Homura gestured at the screen, swinging the remote way up with the music, then drawing it down toward her and back and forth with the dancers. "The way the music suddenly gets loud as Romeo lifts Juliet several times between parting and coming together implies the consummation of their marriage."

Ichigo slowly turned and looked at her. She was watching the screen with scholarly interest that would be at home in an art gallery. He looked at the screen and suddenly saw the sexual innuendo in the graceful moves he had never really attached significance to before.

Climax, the Hollow snickered. Coming together.

Shut up. She doesn't know what she's saying. Of course his Hollow could laser-focus on the bawdy double entendres.

That woman is upside down and her skirt is flipped up by her shoulders. Over the guy's face, the Hollow said with a leer. Ask the kid what that means.

Ichigo glanced at Homura again and decided he didn't want to have that conversation.

Coward, the Hollow cackled.

"They part, and Juliet is alone as the backup dancers representing the obstacles to their love move around her ominously. This is her family insisting on her marriage to Paris." Homura leaned closer and pointed at the dancers as they formed a circle around Juliet, who paced and waved her arms in distress. "Juliet is surrounded and feels trapped. There is no escape. Then she takes the potion and feigns death, which makes all the backup dancers stop- it's her escape."

Ichigo watched as Juliet fell backwards into the waiting arms of the male backup dancers and lay spread-eagled; the music became somber as they raised her up like pallbearers. "And here comes Romeo," Ichigo said morbidly. The danseur took the ballerina from the bier of backup dancers and held her over his shoulder, imitating staggering slowly backward in devastation as she lay lifeless. Then he set her on her feet, dipped her, and lifted her. The ballerina subtly cooperated with his movements, eyes closed and body loose. Romeo propped her up against his chest; her head lolled against him as he lifted her arms for her.

"Oh, God, is he dancing with her 'dead' body?"

"Yes. Essentially pleading for her to come back to life."

"My heart."

Homura paused the video as Romeo eased Juliet onto the stage and reached for his hip. "This is a common mime for retrieving an object and showing it to the audience. In this case, it is the vial of poison Romeo purchased to commit suicide." She unpaused; Romeo swung his arm in a horizontal arc as though to display something in his palm, then swiftly jerked his arm toward his face.

"Oh, and that's like charades for drinking!"

Homura gave him a look. It wasn't an angry look, so he ignored it. He'd found The Thing to gently tease her about. A potential inside joke for them. It was immediately scrawled in his notebook and circled.

Turning back to the screen with a sniff of disdain, Homura said, "Juliet's arm movement here is a common mime for waking up."

"Oh, hey, I just thought that was a universal thing. Like stretching and rubbing your eyes."

"That is why it is an effective mime. Though it is a bit of a chicken-or-egg sort of thing."

"Aww, hell, she's gonna do the same dramatics with his dead body, isn't she?"

"A bit."

Ichigo watched a kneeling Juliet shake her head in denial, then cradle Romeo's head to her chest as she rocked him in despair. Then she eased him down and straightened, reaching skyward and swaying her entire body as though to wail to the heavens.

"My. Fucking. Heart."

Juliet ran her hands along Romeo's body and made a motion of surprise, then grabbing near his hip.

"Aw, hell, she found the dagger."

Juliet brandished a fist with a rigidly straight arm, then mimed stabbing herself in the ribs and gracefully rolled onto Romeo, coming to a rest spread-eagled on top of him as the drums rolled and the curtain closed.

The screen went to the usual selection of videos and replay options. Homura squirmed and looked at him hesitantly. "So..."

"So what?" Ichigo asked brightly, meeting her eyes with a smile.

Homura looked down and fidgeted with the remote. "Is it... boring?"

"No way," Ichigo said.


"Really," Ichigo reassured her. "Let's watch it again now that I got your crash course so I can look for more things."

The girl looked up at him through her bangs and slowly straightened. "Are you... sure?"

"Why do you think I wouldn't want to?"

"Most people say ballet is boring and old-fashioned."

Ichigo scoffed. "Most people say Shakespeare is boring and old-fashioned." He made a motion as though to shove something aside- oh, hey, a pantomime- and said, "Ignore them. They don't know what they're missing."

Homura blinked at him and seemed to have a slow realization. All she said, though, was, "Oh."

"So, you gonna hit replay?"

After searching his face like she had never seen him before, Homura shook herself and turned back to the screen. "Yes. Are you ready?"

"Absolutely, professor!"

She didn't turn to look at him, but he could definitely see a smile in profile. Victory.

By the time Karin and Yuzu loudly tumbled in the door from school, Ichigo and Homura had watched the same video four times and Ichigo had three pages of scrawled notes which Homura was picking over with him in studious contentment.

He completely forgot his father was filming them. Every other "him" would be glad of it.

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A/N: If I wanted to go a cracky angle, I'd have Homura brandish a DVD set of Princess Tutu and demand Ichigo study it as a beginner's primer lol.

After chapter 61, some people I talked to didn't know that Ichigo's interest in Shakespeare is obscure kinda-canon. Waaaaay back in the first volume of the manga, Ichigo's character data sheet listed William Shakespeare as a "person he admires / looks up to." I just expanded that.