Chapter 2

"And my heart will go on and oooooooonnnn---"

Kurosaki Ichigo slides his bedroom window open, blood shot eyes wary at the Plus. "SHUT UP! It's three in the morning, asshole!" As if placing a stress on it, he aims his hard back copy of 'The Taming of the Shrew' to the ghost's head, where it just goes through and lands tersely on the asphalt.

Pale and almost translucent under the crescent moon, the soul blinks back at Ichigo, whose vein were throbbing in each temple. He clears his throat and opens his mouth, and Ichigo almost winces. "Love can touch us one time and last for a lifetime---"

"GAAAAH!" Ichigo slams his window close with a bang, and trudges indignantly to his closet. Opening it, he finds the shinigami asleep on her side, nuzzling a stuffed bunny. "Oi, Rukia! Get up!" He shakes her body roughly, ignoring the falsetto, spine-chilling voice that protrudes through his window. "I need to do the Soul Burial or at this rate I'll lose more sleep!"

There is no significant response until he snatches Chappy away from her grasp. Asleep. Rukia looks almost adorable—but at the moment she snaps her eyes open, Ichigo find no time to guard himself from any bodily harm. He collapses to the floor, clutching his stomach and grumbling incoherent foul epithets. The bunny is back in its owner's hands.

"I need my beauty sleep, jerk. We'll give him the proper burial in the morning," With that, she shuts the closet door.

Silence for a while, and deep breaths, as Ichigo realizes the atrocious singing voice is gone. He closes his eyes and feels himself drifting to comfortable sleep at last...

"And spaces between us, you have come to show you go oooon---"

He can only bury his face to the pillow to stop screaming at his closet door again.

-

Sometime at six in the morning the Plus finally stops singing, and by that time, Ichigo already wakes up with a very dreadful feeling in his stomach.

Truth be told, Ichigo never takes a sick leave from school ever since he's a wee twelve years old. Without his mother around and a father that works at home – he'll never have a good rest. Isshin had cooked horrible egg porridge for him when he has a high fever, and forcibly sang him a lullaby. If only the porridge didn't taste like melted rubber and smelled like gasoline and his father didn't sing like a cow in heat, he'd have appreciated the effort.

After packing his stationery and books into the bag pack, Ichigo knocks on his closet twice.

Rukia comes out of the closet fully dressed in her uniform, and her eyes inspect the bedroom floor warily, casting a cautious look in the corner of the room and under the bed, ignoring Ichigo completely.

He watches her shady activity for a while. "You lost something?"

"Gyaaaah!" Rukia instinctively jumps back and lands a perfect kick to Ichigo's shin. "Don't do that! You almost gave me a heart attack!"

Clutching his shin, he looks up to glower at her. "I was here all the time, dammit!"

"Oh, sorry, didn't see you there-"

Just then, they hear Yuzu's voice from downstairs. "Nii-saaan! Breakfast is ready!"

"Coming!" Ichigo hoists his bag pack to his shoulder and walks to the door. "Listen, you go look for whatever you lost, I need to go down there or she'll come up here."

Rukia watches him disappearing behind the door, and quickly kneels down to search under the bed. Nope, no such luck. She has lost that thing, and can't find it anywhere. She gets up and shrugs. Maybe that thing just decided to disappear for its own good, Rukia thinks. Just when she is climbing over the window sill, a loud crash comes from inside the house.

Unfortunately for her, things will not turn out the way she wants it to be...

-

Kurosaki Ichigo never believes in fortune telling. The fortune for those under the zodiac Cancer for today, as he read in the magazine last night is, "Expect a sunny and bright day, lady luck is always with you."

Lady luck's a bitch, Ichigo thinks as he grits his teeth, trying to remember what he had to go through just to arrive at school. He slips on his father's sock as he comes down from the stairs, lands face-first and because Yuzu insists on treating his wounds, there's no time left for breakfast. He needs to run to the school, and almost got hit by a truck on the way. And what's worse, he can't find his wallet anywhere.

Today isn't a good day for Kurosaki Ichigo, and as he grumpily takes out his notebook, Keigo approaches him with a very wide grin. "Ichigoooo, my best buddy, can I-"

"No."

Keigo's eyes brim with tears, and he pounces on Ichigo's desk dramatically. "How could you! I've been your best buddy ever and you give me such a cold reply so early in the morning, when I even haven't finished my qu--"

"All right!" Ochi Sensei entered the classroom, prowling to her desk in light steps. "Everybody, let's get it on!"

Meanwhile, Keigo has slipped his hand to Ichigo's backpack unnoticed, retrieved his homework, and successfully-somehow-drops it to the ground.

One extra thing has fling out in the process, and as Ichigo stumbles to choke Keigo, Rukia's eyes flick cagily to the item in the floor between her desk and Ichigo's, her heart thumping like a mad man's dance. Of all the places it can be, that thing chooses to be there. No, wait--it was me who accidentally threw it into Ichigo's school bag last night.

"Keigo, sit down!"

"Buuut, sensei—"

"No buts!"

Fortunately, nobody seems to register this fact yet. She makes a move for the thing, intending to place it in her skirt's pocket, until--

"What is that?"

The innocent, bewildered voice belongs to Inoue Orihime. From her tone, Rukia is positive the girl is just as clueless as she was last night. But that is the least of her worries, as in an instant, the class' attention flick to the object that curiously lay in between the space of their desk. It suddenly feels like Shinou academy again, Rukia thinks, grabbing in her pocket for the memory replacer, only to find a handkerchief instead.

Chad's gruff can be heard from the window.

Ishida sinks his face into his hand.

Tatsuki throws her childhood friend an almost disgusted look.

Mizuiro smiles knowingly.

Chizuru clamps a hand over her horrified face. "WHAT IS THAT DISGUSTING SEXUAL MALE THING DOING HERE!"

Ichigo's eyebrow twitch and his face slowly turn into an unhealthy shade of green, mismatching his hair. Rukia isn't sure if he is going to laugh or cry.

"My God, is that a condom?"

"Did somebody bring that to class? Heh...how clumsy..."

"Wasn't Kurosaki and Kuchiki---"

At that point, she is more than willing to run to Urahara's shop and offer him both her arms and legs to clean up the mess.

"AAAAHHHHH!"

Somehow, Ichigo has drawn the class' interest back to himself by almost snapping his desk in two. "O-Ochi Sensei?" He croaks, his voice slightly hoarse and thwarted from the happenings.

Their teacher glanced at him. "Yes, Kurosaki?"

Ichigo's adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed. "I need to go to the bathroom."

Rukia almost slams her forehead to her desk and wonders if she has to offer the blasted salesman her firstborn as well. No such wittiness! Why can't that idiot think of a better excuse!

Asano Keigo shoots the object on the floor a startled look, then to Ichigo's notebook beside it, and sure enough, he slowly raises his face to Rukia, and eventually to Kurosaki. His look is skeptical enough, and it's not too long until he put up two and two together, raising a disbelieving finger, pointing both shinigami back and forth with a horrified look.

Yes, leave it to Asano Keigo for lewd comments of the day.

Strangely enough, Ichigo looks both suicidal and homicidal at the same time.

"ICHIGO, YOU FILTHY MAN, HOW COULD YOU WITH KUCHIKI-SAN—"

All the while, Rukia is chanting mentally: this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening, this is not--

In the human's language, what follows shortly after is called 'all hell breaks loose'. It starts with Keigo screaming out of control, Chizuru's shrieks, and the endless teasing and wolf-whistles from the classmates that slowly whittles down their sanity. ("Kurosaki, you STUD, you!")

Ochi-sensei's effort to calm her class is in vain.

happening...

-

"That would be 2000 Kan, thank you very much!"

Rukia grumblingly reaches inside her pocket to retrieve the needed cash. "Remind me not to take any of your recommendations again, Urahara."

"Ah, but Miss Kuchiki, a salesman got to do what he does best: business." Urahara's fan spreads open, spelling the word P-R-O-F-I-T.

She stubbornly crosses her arms. "You tricked me to buy that thing."

"I AM HURT, Miss Kuchiki!" The salesman throws a hand before his face and sighs dramatically. "I never encouraged you to buy it. All I did is point the fact that it has a product design that you might like. I, for once, never knew that my loyal patron has a soft spot for bunnies..."

"You didn't tell me what it's for!"

"Details, details." The fan waves dismissively. "Who needs them?"

Rukia resists the great urge to punch the man's face in and run away with the store's money. Besides, Tessai is lurking in the corner, and he's holding this huge baseball bat...

"Still, you gotta admit that Mr. Kurosaki has a very..." Urahara bends down until he reaches her eye level, and his eyebrows wriggle in a suggestive fashion. "...fascinating reaction, right?

Suddenly, Rukia finds it very hard to stop the blood rushing to her face.

Under his fan, the man lets a triumphant smile to grace his face. "Would you like to check our latest products? We have all sort of new flavors, even the rare peach tea and red bean paste..."

-

At the Kurosaki Clinic, 15-year-old Kurosaki Ichigo sneezes, thinking about the his latest ordeal and the sandal-hat bastard loitering on his classroom's windowsill, offering them a deal that would be a shame of a lifetime to miss. ("It would end up like the damage's never been done! But you have to wait until tomorrow!") And for the sake of his high-flying reputation, Ichigo, for once, has to agree.

Orihime comes to him after class, whispering, "Kurosaki-kun, I think it's a very manly water bottle!" before Tatsuki, who looks very furious, drags her away.

Ishida pushes his glasses up, and pretended like he never saw anything. That is, until he passes over and shoots him a sly look. "Can't wait to show everyone, Kurosaki?"

Mizuiro slaps his back, and tells Ichigo that he's so damn proud of him.

And after all that, Keigo (and Chad!) eventually gives him a thumbs' up.

Slumping down his bed, Ichigo lets out a very long sigh. If he has enough with just one shinigami, what will FIVE more do to him?