Amore e Morte

A/N- Hi, all! Welcome to my first dabbling into the realm of Bleach. I've been obsessed with it for forever, but strangely enough, I haven't written anything for the fandom. Until now. –insert evil laughter- Beware: this is the crazy bi-product of reading manga scanlations all day long. There's no canon time this is set to, but it's basically during the period Ichigo spends training with the Vizards, minus the fact he, Chad, and Ishida don't ever seem to actually go to school during that arc. There'll be mild spoilers, but nothing too big or important. Also, there'll eventually be at least one unconventional couple, maybe more. What they'll be is super-top-secret, sorry! And yes, this'll have a semi-plot eventually, but the first chapter is pure craziness. You've been warned. Sooo… have fun and review, please!
Disclaimer: Tragically, I don't own Bleach. Yet. But it's just a matter of time before Master Plan 867 will change that… Bwahahahaha! Aw crap, did I type that? Ahem… Forget anything you just saw about master plans. That's crazy talk.

Chapter One: Normality

Orihime stretched and let out a heavy sigh, unwittingly drawing the attention of half the boys in the class. Ochi-sensei was running late today, leaving her quality time for day-dreaming before first period started. The only problem was that since she'd been to the Soul Society and learned of shinigami, hollows, and everything else, her daydreams just couldn't match the strangeness of real life. It was downright disappointing. They were trying to rob her of her escapism! The mecha space penguins were surely behind it all. Aha!… there we go… daydream commencing in 3… 2…1…

A loud groan interrupted the rest of the class' chatter as Ochi-sensei staggered through the door. Her normally vibrant, albeit sarcastic eyes were bloodshot with a thousand angry red capillaries and ringed with dark circles of sleep-deprivation. Her skirt and blouse were crumpled and her dark hair jutted out from her head at improbable angles. She collapsed into her chair in a heap and rested her head atop folded arms. Seconds later, the class plunged into chaos.

"She… She's not dead, is she?" Rukia asked, jabbing Ichigo harder than necessary with her elbow, "And if she is, do we get out of class early?"

"You're sorta tactless, aren't you? Just because you're dead doesn't mean you should be so indifferent about it." Ichigo hissed back, barely audibly.

"Sure, rub the whole I-have-a-real-body thing in my face." She whispered back indignantly. "Do you have any idea how annoying gigais can be? And how itchy?"

Luckily, the class loud-mouth drowned out their conversation and prevented the awkwardness that would've ensued from their classmates hearing it.

"NOOOO! SEEEENSSSSEEIIII!!!! I WILL AVENGE--" Keigo shouted melodramatically and at highest lung capacity, as usual.

"NOOOO! It's a Gin clone in penguin form! Bad, creepy space penGin! Stop grinning at me!" Orihime interrupted incoherently, drawing befuddled stares from everyone around her, except for Rukia, who collapsed into a fit of giggles. Ishida pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and tried to hide a smirk at the imagery.

"I can picture it now! …And it's surprisingly cute for being so evil." Rukia grinned, clapping her hands in glee.

Ochi-sensei opened one eye ponderously, then the other. Anyone watching was reminded of an angry dragon being awoken after being poked with a sword by some jock hero. Those observant few immediately shut up, fearing that their teacher might actually bite their heads off and clean her teeth with toothpicks made of their bones.

"DEAR TEACHER, REST IN PEACE! THIS WORLD WAS TOO GOOD FOR YOU!" Keigo fake-sobbed, determined not to be outdone in this attention-duel.

"Could. You. Be. Any. Louder?" the dragon—err, teacher—snarled softly.

"YOU'RE ALIVE--!" Keigo exclaimed, his tears of fake-sorrow instantly changing to tears of fake-joy.

Ochi-sensei glared at him fiercely and he cut his sentence own off.

"Did you not hear what I just said?" she grimaced softly, each word hanging menacingly in the air like a death sentence.

"I—err—sorry?" Keigo whimpered, scampering back to his seat and hiding behind Mizuiro.

"That's right-- Ow..." The teacher groaned, massaging her temples, "My own voice is giving me a headache."

She flopped forward and tried to cover her ears as much as possible.

Across the room, Matsumoto turned to Hitsugaya and chuckled quietly.

"You know, something tells me that teacher was on a bender last night."

"You'd know all about that." Hitsugaya scoffed sourly before returning to his homework. "Now, if a train leaves Tokyo going 54.678 miles per hour and another train leaves Karakura going 45.9 miles per hour, how long until they meet and collide into a fiery ball of death and just how much do I not care?"

Matsumoto ignored his complaints and chatted on, "Woo, she must have the mother of all hangovers. I betcha Everclear was involved. Ahhh, imported booze that can peel paint off walls… how I love thee. Too bad Orihime doesn't keep anything like that in her house."

Hitsugaya raised his silver brows.

"Do you really want to see Orihime drunk? Look how she is normally."

Matsumoto paused and considered. "You're right. That would be scary. Nevermind! I betcha Uryu-san would be funny, though…"

Up front, Ochi-sensei raised her head with an expression of mild indignation and major pain.

"Hey! Creepy new kids who appeared out of nowhere, I heard that whole conversation about me being hungover. So what if I get a little plastered once in a while? Hell, you're not perfect either! What kind of self-respecting thirty-year-old is still in high school? And especially in the same class as her grade-schooler son?"

"Th-Thirty?? Me? YOU MEANIE!" Matsumoto quavered, wide tears spouting from her eyes. She paused and dug a bottle of pills out of her school bag. "Hmph, see if I give you any of my patented hang-over panacea."

The teacher's eyes lit up.

"Sorry, Ms. Mysteriously-alluring-foreigner-who-doesn't-look-a-day-over-eighteen!"

"That's right." Matsumoto smirked, tossing the bottle to the front of the room.

Ochi-sensei measured out two pills and tossed them back.

"Ahh, High-school alcoholism, you've saved—"

Her sentence was interrupted by snores as she fell face-first onto her desk into an apparent coma.

"S-Son???" Hitsugaya stuttered, a jolt of shock and disgust wracking his body.

Chad looked at the captain and vice-captain, then at his dozing teacher.

"Hmm… what did you give her?"

"Oh, just a little sleeping pill the fourth company always gives me to rest off my hangover so I don't complain to them all day. It's harmless."

"I see."

"S-S-SON?!?" Hitsugaya screeched in horror to the world in general.

"Man, I gotta solve his problems too?" Matsumoto sighed in pseudo-annoyance, "Here you go, captain."

He looked over, mouth still open in utter revulsion and anger. She took aim and swiftly threw a pill at his face. He looked shocked for a moment, then collapsed as it took effect.

"There, that's better." She grinned, dusting off her hands.

Meanwhile, lost in his own universe where the words 'common sense' were meaningless, Keigo took a deep breath in preparation for his next outburst, until Mizuiro surreptitiously punched him in the stomach.

"Ow-!" Keigo started, only to be smothered by his best friend's hand.

"I'm doing this for your own good. She'll totally fail you if you bother her right now."

Keigo's face contorted in abject disgust.

Help! My human rights are being violated! He shouted in his head, more out of habit than actually expecting someone in the class to heed his psychic call and rescue him, I don't know where this hand's been! Aww, who am I kidding? It IS Mizuiro. It's probably been all over all eight of his sexy older model girlfriends. Curse him and his smug bishy effeminacy! He paused his mental rant for a second as the lack of oxygen started to affect him. Wait, where was I before I started on that tangent? Oh, right—Noo! This isn't supposed to be the way I leave this world! I'm supposed to suffocate in Orihime's luscious pillows and die happy, not get choked by some manhand! How much do you hate me, universe?!?

Sensing his friend's decrease in brain function, Mizuiro sighed and loosened his hold.

"If I let go, do you promise to behave?"

Keigo nodded vigorously while beside him a female voice tittered.

"Oh my, yaoi bondage in class. How naughty. Stop, you're making me blush." Chizuru leered lecherously, licking her lesbian lips.

(No one could beat her in an alliteration war.)

Now it was Mizuiro's face's turn to contort in abject disgust. He released his hold, let out a few dry-heaves, and scurried to a corner, where he rocked on his haunches for the rest of class, rhythmically chanting "Eww" every few seconds. Chizuru crossed her arms and pouted.

"Aww, I didn't really mean it when I said stop. You're welcome to keep that show going. After all, it was just getting good."

As Ochi-sensei snored away at the front of the class, Keigo blushed hotly at all the attention Chizuru was giving him. Charisma with the ladies wasn't and would never be his strong point, despite his fantasies otherwise.

"Err… not that I'm complaining or anything, but aren't you a lesbian?" Just saying the word almost gave him a nose-bleed, "Why would two guys—?"

Chizuru put a manicured finger over her lips and made her deep-thinking face.

"Well, Orihime is off in a deliciously ditzy delirium and everyone else is ignoring me since teacher's acting so strange. I calculated the odds and figured you and Mizuiro would give me the best reaction, especially if I interrupted your cute little lovefest. Or, ya know, maybe it just turns out I'm bi-curious."

She snorted at the idea, then an evil grin flitted across her face.

"Hey, I wonder what Ichigo and Rukia would do if I hit on them at the same time? The idea has some merit. Even if Rukia is kind of… lacking certain assets. Maybe Orihime would get jealous, too…"

Ever a few minutes behind, Keigo suddenly bristled. It was all he could do to keep his voice at a normal volume.

"It-- It wasn't a lovefest!"

Chizuru tsked and smiled knowingly.

"Try to fool yourself all you want, but there's no denying it. Well, I think it's cute. You sorta remind me of Hime."

He managed to silently open and close his mouth a few times, but the shock he'd slipped into from her cruel implications wouldn't even allow him to make a silent scream. Had it not been for a kindly karate expert, he may have stayed rooted to that spot in horror for eight eternities, just for dramatic emphasis. Luckily, Tatsuki had been keeping track of her outlandish female classmate in case she tried to pick up Orihime again and upon seeing a broken, speechless Keigo, she decided to take action.

Geez, it's like I've suddenly become everyone's Chizuru-defender.

She strode across the room and loomed over Chizuru menacingly.

"C'mon, don't you have anything better to do than teasing him?"

Chizuru's eyes gleamed.

"Well, you and I could find something better to—"

A vicious one-hit KO punch caught her on the cheek before she could finish her proposal and she blacked out. Tatsuki cracked her knuckles languorously.

"You can thank me later, Asano."

"Wha? My reputation… tarnished… forever! World, let me proclaim that I'm one hundred percent straight!"

Tatsuki rolled her eyes and walked away, knowing he'd go on for an hour if she let him. She felt for Ochi-sensei. He was annoying normally, but she couldn't even imagine how grating his rants would be with a… err… "headache". At least her seat next to Chad ensured she occasionally had a little peace and quiet.

"EUREKA! I've got it!" Orihime exclaimed suddenly and randomly from lala-land, "I know how to destroy PenGin! I've just gotta throw him to make him explode… Like a Prinny from Disgaea… Mega baseball pitch super-move, activate! KaPOW! NOOO! Ishida-kun, are you all right? I think my throw might've been a little off… I was aiming for that telephone pole. To be fair, you do look a lot like it… What? That wasn't an insult! It was cute! I mean, now it's a little incinerated, but… Well, at least I defeated the boss, right? 6,000 EXP FOR ALL! "

Ishida put on his too-dignified-to-pay-attention-to-anyone-else face and tried to ignore the imaginary conversation his buxom classmate was having with him.

Exploding penguins? A cute telephone pole? Where does she come up with these things?

Certain others in the class weren't lucky enough to merely be puzzled. Orihime's painfully loud and high-pitched retelling of her fantasy's dialogue had awoken the bedraggled teacher again, but this time, instead of anger, the sudden assault of sound made her nauseous.

"Hurgh! Hold on, class! I've gotta—ugh!-- go visit my new therapist, Mr. W.C."

"Harmless, huh?" Chad asked, eyebrows raised.

"Eh heh… mostly harmless, at least." Matsumoto replied, biting her lip.

Orihime blinked as she re-entered the real world and smiled beatifically at Tatsuki and a now-conscious Chizuru.

"Ahh! Looks like she's been snapped out of it … Well, I'm off to my princess's side." Chizuru winked, trying to sashay away innocently before she was caught in a vice-grip from the second strongest high school girl in Japan.

"Not. So. Fast." Tatsuki growled, flexing her fist again.

"You can't separate us from each other forever! We're like Romea and Juliette! We're meant to be—"

Everything went black for her again thanks to Tatsuki's patented Sweet Dreams Sucker-Punch."

"Uhhh.. did I miss anything?" Orihime said, tilting her head to one side like a confused cocker-spaniel.

"Nope, nothing out of the ordinary…" Tatsuki shrugged, wishing that her definition of normal wasn't so completely and utterly warped.

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A/N- Wow. That came out differently than I planned. Can you believe that for a very short while this was going to be slightly angsty? So much for that. I dare you, try to guess the 4 couplings I'll probably write in this. Hint: Two are common, two are really quite strange.

In the next chapter we'll find out why Ochi-sensei was out drinking, a deathly dull project is assigned, and more general craziness ensues.

Until then, why don't you leave a review? The periwinkle button is beckoning to you… You know it is…

Periwinkle Button: Click me… You know you want to! … Please, she'll hurt me and my family if you don't! Nooo! Not the iron maiden!!!

See?

Much love to you for making it this far,
- CAT