Author's Notes: This fiction will be a humorous piece, and readers should prepare themselves as I will strive to do my worst. Pairings will range from semi-conventional to outright crazy (depending on who you support), with emphasis at this point on Rukia-Renji, Ishida-Nemu, and others to be introduced shortly.
Disclaimer: I do not owned Bleach or the characters contained therein.
Chapter One: "I am giving my daughter's hand in marriage…"
T'was a peaceful night in Soul Society, where after the defeat of the Aizen and his henchmen peace and order had descended once more. How and when this came about is of little importance to the story, suffice to say that some member of the protagonist's camp, most likely Kurosaki Ichigo, underwent yet another one of his law-of-the-universe-defying level-ups and wasted the baddies, managing to do so without killing them, like always… does it ever happen any other way? Deep within the formidable walls of the Seireitei (Pronounced Sei-rei-tei, methinks), the inner court where the shinigamis dwelt, who amongst themselves liked to refer to it as the Labyrinth, a quiet celebration was taking place to commemorate their victory and survival of the latest war.
Well, it was in fact more like a festive riot of Babylonian proportions, or with a more modern reference, what occurs in downtown when the Los Angeles Lakers win the championship. There was singing and dancing and wine that flowed like the river, albeit no arson and looting took place, in contrast to the Lakers' scenario. The wild goings-on spilled out into the court yard, where the rest of the lesser, unnamed shinigamis had their fun. In the main hall was where the higher-ranked death gods and their human friends held their party.
Indoors, our main character and his host sat in a relatively quiet section of the room, for mighty protectors of peace and justice though they were, they were still only fifteen years of age, and thus not allowed to participate in the drunkenness happening all around them. Not that any of them were disappointed by this, since they were all model students and good boys and girls. The sovereign authority of Japan's legal drinking age was not impressed upon the crowd of male shinigamis however, who relentlessly tried to press drinks upon Orihime, like a swarm of pesky flies until either one of three things happened:
1. Chad cracked his knuckles.
2. Ishida pulled on his archer gloves/hand guards.
3. Ichigo pushed up the hilt of his zanbaktou, or soul cutter, audibly.
The effects of these actions were immediate, and all through the evening, the three gentlemen were occupied by this task of chaperoning the oblivious flower within their party. But where was Rukia? At the moment, as she was free from limits imposed by the legal drinking age, being more than old enough, she was owning the competition in a drinking contest and now up against her fourth challenger, vice-captain of the third division, Kira Izuru, former lapdog of the former third division captain, Ichimaru Gin. The crowd surrounding the two contestants gave out an approving bellow as she downed yet another cupful and cheered when Kira's eyes became first unfocused and then flipped backwards to reveal the whites as he toppled over. Hanatarou was soon on the spot with another member of the fourth division as they placed the unconscious Kira on a stretcher and carried him off to a room next door that was being utilized as a temporary aid station for treating overdrinking and its related ills.
A little while later, Ikkaku Madarame, the shiny-topped third-seat of the rowdy eleventh division stepped up to the elevated podium in the front of the room and spoke into the mike. "Alright people, you've had your fun, and now its time for the night's main event, the raffle!" He was answered by an enthusiastic roar from the crowd. "As per chief commander Yamamoto's orders, all captains and vice-captains contributed a prize item, and I tell you, some of you lucky sons-of-guns are going go home really happy tonight! The person's whose name I draw will come up to the front, where he or she will get to choose one of these numbered panels behind me which will reveal whose prize they won. Are we all clear?" Satisfied that enough of the audience was sober enough to make this work, Ikkaku proceeded, "Let's get started then, our first lucky guest tonight is…" thrusting his arm through a hole in a tall box and withdrawing a wooden nametag, "… Shihouin Yoruichi! Our gorgeous goddess of speed whose swiftness is matched only by her beauty! Let's give her a round of applause!" Yoruichi made her way towards the front with a lithesome sway and a coquettish grin that elicited whistles and wolf-cries as all eyes followed her. Even the MC himself was flustered and required a moment to recover his wits from her dazzling appearance, "Umm… please take your pick, Shihouin-dono."
The cat woman regarded the panels in front of her deliberately, then picked one out and handed it to Ikkaku, who browsed through the list of prizes in his hand for the corresponding number on the panel. "Let's see now… and the prize she wins is… 'One-week's worth of private training sessions with Captain Abarai Renji!'" The room erupted in raucous cheering and applause, though not a few male Shinigamis glared at the newly-promoted redhead, whose jaw hung agape in a rare display of stunned silence. Rukia, who was sitting next to him, noticed the look on his face, and feeling it an unfitting display of discomposure for his newly gained st+ature, sought to gain her childhood friend's attention.
"Renji." No response. "Renji!" To no avail, and had their relationship been that of just "old friends" like they both claimed to the curious public, it should have ended there, but Rukia did not take her boy… I mean, old friend's reaction to Yoruichi favorably at all, and expressed her displeasure by elbowing the spaced-out captain in the ribs, hard.
"Oww! What'd you do that for, idiot?"
"Close your jaw, drool is dripping out." Rukia replied, without looking at him.
Renji's face turned a shade red with embarrassment and he quickly wiped away the tell-tale trail of saliva with the back of his hand. "… You could have just told me."
Rukia turned and cocked an eyebrow at him for a second and then shook her head sardonically. "You're acting like an excited sixteen year-old."
"What! I'm not excited…" His words were cut short by the sudden presence of a body pressed firmly against his back, and turning his head his eyes widened to find the smiling face of Yoruichi right next to his own, her chin resting against his shoulder and her arms draped over and across his chest. For the second time in two minutes, Abarai lost use of his verbal faculties and was once more reduced to dumb-struck ness.
"Well well… and what will the handsome captain be teaching me in our private sessions, hmm?" Said Yoruichi, in a manner not unlike a purring cat.
"Gah?" Said Renji, his brain reduced to mush by the warm breath he felt tickling his ear.
"Perhaps… you can help me get my own one of these…" And as she spoke she traced a finger lightly over a pattern on Renji's exposed chest, causing him to shiver. "I've always loved tattoos… and men who wear them."
"Gah gah?" Said Renji.
Yoruichi chuckled and beamed at the dumbfounded captain. Placing a free hand against the overwhelmed redhead's cheek, she turned Renji's face so that their eyes were locked at pointblank range, and continued in a sultry voice dripping with sugary overtones, "I will look forward to our training sessions. See you after the party… captain." And with that she vanished in the same way that she appeared, with movement too swift to be tracked by the eye. A while passed before Rukia saw fit to bring Renji out from la-la-land once more.
"Renji." No response. "Renji!" No avail, and when she failed to rouse him by elbowing him in the ribs, she lit one of his shirt sleeves on fire with a demon art incantation, which had the desired effect. Renji jumped up and fumbled about for a second before dousing the flames with a bowl of simmering hot miso soup.
"Oww! What'd you do that for, idiot?"
"Your nose is bleeding." said Rukia without looking at him.
Two seats down, Ichigo was clutching his stomach and shaking with laughter at the redhead's plight, who due to their startling number of similarities he held little affection for, ironically. Up front, Ikkaku drew out the next nametag, "Will Kurosaki Ichigo please come up to the stage!"
"Wow! You won, Kurosaki-kun!" said one excited Orihime.
"Maybe you'll get a new refrigerator!"
"I doubt that they'll give me a refrigerator."
"Or maybe coupons to a hot spring resort in Soul Society!"
Ichigo walked towards the podium, a sense of foreboding creeping into the back of his mind as he became aware of the number of sympathetic looks cast his way from men whom he recognized as members of the thuggish eleventh division. On stage, just before he was about to make his pick, he was startled to have Ikkaku pull him close and shove a panel into his hands when their backs were turned against the audience. Surprise grew into alarm when he heard Ikkaku whisper in a conflicted voice, "Forgive me, I have my orders." Before he could respond, the bald-headed young man turned towards the audience with an abrupt change of pace and with a beaming smile announced, "And the prize for Mr. Kursoaki is twenty sparring matches against our very own captain, Zaraki Kenpachi!"
Ichigo blanched, "What the he…!"
"Let's give him a big round of applause!" The crowd responded enthusiastically.
"Wait a sec…"
"Congratulations to our lucky recipient!"
"Hold on! This is a setup!"
Ikkaku sweat-dropped, turning his face away to avoid eye-contact with his hapless victim before replying in an uncertain tone which belied his conscience, "Hmm? What ever are you talking about?"
"You thrust that panel in my hand!"
"Did anyone see me do such a thing?" Ikkaku turned towards the audience, whose front ranks were suddenly occupied solely by members of the eleventh division, who replied as one in the negative. "Guess not, Kurosaki, you must be overly excited is all."
"I'm being framed!" Ikkaku whistled an innocent tune while in the meantime two ugly brutes from the eleventh division clasped around Ichigo's ankles two sets of ball and chain. "What the heck do you think you're doing?"
"Sorry, Kurosaki-dono, it was either you or us." Said Thug-A.
"And you have a far better chance of surviving against the captain than we do." Said Thug-B.
Ichigo grew frantic, but the ultimate blow to his composure came when the deep, chilling voice of that fearsome man, Zaraki Kenpachi entered his ears. "What's the matter, Kurosaki, my gift not good enough for you?" The tower of a man, with his pink-haired adjutant riding on his shoulder and a vicious grin stretched across his face, loomed over Ichigo like a dark specter.
Survival instinct took over; unleashing his zanbaktou, Ichigo blew a hole in the closest wall and leapt through it running like there was no tomorrow, with ball and chain in tow. The abruptness of the gesture left Kenpachi speechless for a moment, before Yachiru spoke up in her childlike voice, "Ken-chan, your toy just ran away."
"What? After him!" The pair leapt through the newly created exit and chased after the sound of frantic flight now fading fast into the distance.
Orihime beamed and turned to the bespectacled Quincy seated next to her, "Kurosaki-kun looked so happy!"
Ishida, not wishing to disappoint her, replied, "Yes, I'm sure he's very pleased."
After the buzz generated by the unexpectedly entertaining raffle thus far had subsided somewhat, Ikkaku drew another nametag. "And our next winner is… The Quincy archer, Ishida Uryuu! Let's give him a hand, ladies and gentlemen!"
The Quincy was full of dread after seeing what horrible fate befell his companion. Chad patted him on the shoulder sympathetically before he made his way to the front with a downcast spirit. Due to his heritage, he was not exactly on the best terms with the shinigamis, even if they were now at a truce, and he could think of several of the officers off the bat with ample reason to wish him harm, especially…
"And the prize for Quincy-san is sponsored by… twelfth division captain, Kurotsuchi Mayuri!"
… that particular individual. What were the odds that out of all the people, he would be picked for his prize? Oh there was nothing personal between them; he tortured and performed human experiments on members of his kin, and he blew a ten-inch hole, center-mass, in his abdomen for it, tit-for-tat. But all that aside, even if he could forgive the man for his cruel dealings with his people, there was something he could not forgive, and that was Mayuri's fashion sense: The man was creepiness personified, and this was utterly repugnant to Ishida's perfectionist soul… though he could hardly feel the same way towards the man's lieutenant, his "daughter," Nemu Kurotsuchi, who now accompanied him to the front stage with her hands folded in front her. Mayuri spoke a few quick words to Ikkaku, who then announced, "Captain Kurotsuchi says he would like to personally present Quincy-san with his prize." Handing the mike to the ever-grinning mad scientist, the MC stepped off to the side, but not before casting Ishida a sympathetic glance.
Mayuri turned to address the curious crowd with a disturbingly sincere tone, "As you all know, Ishida Uryuu and I have had our differences in the past. But I have come to realize the errors of my ways; it was wrong of me to eradicate the Quincies." Ishida fought to contain his revulsion at these words as the man continued. "I wish to remedy the harm I've done in what little way I can, therefore…" Mayuri turned to take Nemu's hand and join it with that of a startled Ishida's, "I am giving Ishida Uryuu, the last Quincy, my daughter Nemu's hand in marriage."
Deafening silence descended upon the room, and the drop of a dish could be heard way back in the far corner. Orihime scooted over to Chad discreetly and motioned for him to lend her his ear. Whispering, she asked intently, "Does… does this mean that Ishida-kun and Kurotsuchi-san are… getting married?"
Chad nodded, and Orihime turned pink. Unable to contain her excitement, she squealed, "THAT'S SOO CUUTE!"
In the back of the room, standing with his back against the wall, tenth division captain Hitsugaya Toushirou observed the drastic build up of spiritual pressure and sakki from over half the of the male shinigamis present in and outside the room. His expression was grave as he remarked, "This is going to turn really ugly."
To be Continued