Rating: PG-13 (Some shounen-ai themes. Like you expected anything else)
Pairing: ChadxIchigoxIshida OT3-ness
Spoilers: Not really…I think?
Summary: Ichigo- not always the sharpest pair in the drawer.
Word Count: 1,855
A/N: Ooohkay, I'm obviously stretching this out longer than I should and it's very, very boring. I apologize for that, because I know it's especially bad when the writer bores themselves as they write. ;; I think I just need to get this out of my system and things will be okay. Hopefully it's not some sort of boring-sap virus or something like that. Pray for me.
Dedication: Ann, because she read my Bleach fic even before she'd read the manga. And now she's reading the manga. Yay!
Disclaimer: Not mine… if it were, I wouldn't have such a hard time getting the merchandise. ;; Well, theoretically.
Distribution: Just lemme know.
Ichigo knew that he wasn't the sharpest of people when it came to certain things, but when they became obvious enough to the point where even he was beginning to notice, he was pretty sure it meant something had to be done.
He was beginning to notice that there was something going on with Chad and Ishida.
When he speculated aloud to Rukia about it, she'd just given him her special, "are you stupid?" look and shook her head, muttering about how she'd left out on eating lunch with the "dumb human boys" months ago because it was starting to hurt her head.
When he thought about it, she and Inoue really had stopped eating with them for a while now.
When he asked her why that was, she threw something at his head and told him that she was leaving for class early, before the stupid could infect her too.
He shouted after her for being a bitch and rubbed the small lump on his head from where the corner of the manga she'd tossed at him had beaned him.
All he'd wanted was a second opinion. Sheesh.
Well, maybe she'd been the wrong one to ask anyway. Rukia's observations tended to be skewed towards the most obvious conclusion, and Kurosaki was pretty sure there was something more complicated going on here than she could fathom.
Or he could be completely wrong and she knew exactly what was up and had for a long time now. With her it was never really a sure thing, and he sometimes speculated that she was partly to blame for his aversion to the female population as a whole.
Though to be fair, he didn't feel he was sure about anything as of late, Rukia included.
At least he knew who to blame for that.
And it was frustrating to the point that he was beginning to notice a strange, probing tension even when he was around Chad.
If this was what high school angst was primarily made up of, he didn't think he liked it one bit. It was confusing as hell.
He felt especially unsure as to where he stood in the thick of things, knowing that there was something going on with Chad and Ishida but not knowing what to do about it, really.
It was like the both of them knew something he didn't, and had bonded over it.
He was pretty sure he wouldn't have noticed if it had stayed as simple as that, but it hadn't, which made him happy for them or whatever, but it also kind of annoyed him as well.
The secret smiles and the steadily increasing (if seemingly innocent) touches were something he couldn't help but notice, and the weird way they were kind of acting towards him was a hugely obvious clue if he ever saw one.
A clue to what exactly, remained the mystery.
His first suspicions were that they had the hots for each other, or at least big old honking crushes. And he was fairly certain that those first suspicions weren't entirely wrong, but he was starting to suspect that they weren't really entirely right, either.
After he'd gone through all the trouble of coming to terms with it, too.
Really, he'd been ready to concede that the two of them matched well with each other, better than he ever could have, and was ready to wish them well. He'd even gotten over the fact that in being together, he would be the third wheel, and was willing to sever some of his closer ties with them in order to give them the privacy they'd need as love birds.
Call it crazy, but knowing them how he thought he knew them, Ichigo surmised they'd be the lovey-dovey type of couple.
So, knowing how well suited they were to each other, the orange-haired teen didn't want to cramp their style. And he definitely didn't want to end up being the useless kind of guy that threw a tantrum because his best friends were being taken away from him.
Because they weren't. Not really, anyway.
Even if it sort of felt like he was losing something, though he wasn't sure exactly what that was.
Maybe he was disappointed in having to try and be nicer to Ishida out of respect to Chad. Or maybe he was a little sad that he'd have to cut himself away from Chad a little as a concession to Ishida.
He wasn't mad, or even really annoyed about anything. He just figured it would be a little troublesome and that yeah, he was maybe even losing something, but he wasn't really sure what.
Except he wasn't really sure about that either, because for the happy new couple (or at least, couple-to-be if they just hurried the hell up), Ishida and Chad were acting funny.
Ichigo was pretty sure lovebirds of that type were supposed to want to be alone and do cutesy things and speak some sort of secret language or something.
They weren't supposed to hunt down the third wheel every day and drag him to lunch, especially when he was doing his level best to be as out of their way as possible.
Even if that meant either eating alone or eating with Rukia and the rest of the girls while they gossiped.
The point was that he was trying, even if it was really bothersome and Rukia kept throwing things at his head.
But every day, when he was preparing to sneak off, he'd feel the weight of Chad's hand fall onto his shoulder, the other boy giving Ichigo that oblivious smile of his as he steered him out the door towards the stairs.
Ishida was never far behind, and oddly enough, never seemed pissed at all that Chad was dragging Ichigo into the whole deal.
They'd eat lunch, and Ichigo would watch the other two acting kind of strange, and his head would hurt over the whole thing because he wasn't quite sure why he was there.
And he'd thought the most difficult part of all of this would be cutting himself off from them. Not that he was complaining or anything, because he generally liked spending time with one or the other or both of them, but it was all very confusing.
And it wasn't like he wasn't trying to give them some alone time. He was. They just didn't seem to want it.
Later that day, promptly as the lunch bell announced the end of the history lesson, he hastily threw his things into his bag, making to follow after Rukia outside. Maybe today…
The feel of a familiar, solid weight on his shoulder told him he hadn't been fast enough again. Sighing, he let himself be directed out of the room without too much of a struggle, Chad and Ishida both looking amused about something or another as they walked. That kind of annoyed the orange-haired boy, not knowing what the hell was going on, especially since he was pretty damn sure this wasn't how things like this were supposed to work.
Ichigo preceded the other two up the stairs to the rooftop, the bento Yuzu packed in one hand. Eyeing Ishida and Chad, he decided he was considerably put out by their complete (well, for them) normalcy.
This was so not normal.
Upon reaching the roof, Ishida, as per usual, sat down with that prissy posture of his, unpacking his lunch and setting up appropriately before starting.
Chad situated himself in-between both smaller boys and unwrapped his curry bread before opening his water bottle.
Ichigo stared at his lunch for a bit.
Turned and watched Chad and Ishida.
"Sado…you shouldn't eat curry bread every day. It's bad for you."
"…I like it."
Ishida clucked, sounding eerily like a disapproving wife or something. "I'll make you lunch tomorrow."
"That'd be nice."
They shared a brief smile.
"Do you want me to make you lunch tomorrow too?"
The shinigami blinked absently, staring as Chad took a drink of his water before offering the bottle to Ishida. "Uh… yeah, that'd be nice, I guess. I'll uh, tell Yuzu not to pack me anything… thanks…"
"Do you like pickled radish?" the Quincy asked, accepting the water from Chad without a word.
"Uh… yeah, it's okay." Ichigo watched the other boy take a drink before wiping his mouth with one of those hand-crocheted handkerchiefs of his and passing the bottle back to Chad.
Their hands brushed, and Ichigo flushed uncomfortably when they very obviously lingered.
The other two didn't even seem to notice.
Like it was the most normal thing in the world to do next, Chad offered the bottle to Ichigo.
Ishida looked on expectantly. As if he weren't bothered at all with Chad's…love of sharing… or anything.
Ichigo stared at the proffered beverage.
The other two watched him.
He got the sneaking suspicion that they were laughing at him.
He was beginning to get a little bit pissed off.
Chad's hand didn't waver.
They stared at each other a while longer.
And then, "Okay, that's it, goddammit! I can't take this any more!" Ichigo raked both hands through his hair. "What the hell is going on!" he demanded, an accusatory expression on his face as he looked from one suspect to the next. "What's wrong with you two!"
Chad smiled and lowered the bottle, shifting slightly so that he leaned into Ichigo's shoulder. "You could have just said you didn't want the water."
"C-chad?" The shorter boy blinked at him, flushed slightly around the ears. "Uh…what're you, I mean not that I…but…aren't you… Ishida…"
The Quincy's glasses gleamed and he pushed them up on his face, entertained by how quickly Ichigo lost his bluster. "Kurosaki-kun…"
Ichigo shifted away from Chad immediately. "I didn't do anything!"
Ishida couldn't hide his amusement. Having been through the same turmoil (though thankfully not for as long as Kurosaki), he could appreciate the depth of the shinigami's awkward confusion. "I'm not accusing you of anything, Ichigo. Especially if you haven't done anything yet."
Ichigo blinked again. Twice. "Huh? Yet?"
The Quincy sighed and shook his head. "Predictable."
Momentarily forgetting his confusion, the shinigami bristled. "What the hell's that supposed to mean, asshole!"
Unperturbed, Ishida rolled his eyes and leaned across Chad, pecking the orange-haired boy smugly on the cheek. "Thank you, Kurosaki-kun. Even if I was slow about it, the fact that you'll always be slower comforts me," he whispered, smirking up at Ichigo with that infuriating, half-mocking little expression of his that pissed the shinigami off so damn much.
"Asshole." Ichigo frowned, crossing his arms and trying his damned best to be irritable despite the telling blush spread across the bridge of his nose. "I still don't get what the hell is going on, goddammit."
Chad chuckled, a low rumbling sound from beside his friend, and leaned into him a little more. "You'll get it eventually, I think." He shared a look with Ishida.
"Aa," the archer agreed. "Eventually. Now eat your lunch. How do you feel about omelets tomorrow?"