Disclaimer: I do not own an iPod. Or Bleach. I'd rather own the iPod.

Kinda Like a Prologue

When Ishida Uryuu had confessed to the group that he was a homosexual, everyone was polite and pretended to be surprised by it, including Ishida. Ishida being gay was one of those things a person took for granted regardless of how true it was or wasn't. Mice ate cheese. Cats ate mice. Ishida Uryuu was gay. There was a sort of strange law in the order of the universe embedded there alongside something about polka-dots and stripes and how the Quincy emblem managed to look tacky anywhere Ishida was fond of putting it.

Kurosaki Ichigo had managed to become very pissed off with Ishida upon the young man's coming out. After sorting through his machismo and personal frustrations, Ichigo had settled on that there was no better explanation for his minimal attraction to Orihime or Rukia than that he was a homosexual. Being a male homosexual, however, made him think of potpourri and nice hair, so he decided he was bisexual with a slightly stronger pull towards his own sex. He noticed handsome men faster than cute girls naturally, and figured that explained things well enough. What pissed him off was that Ishida had unwittingly beaten him to the public confession, so that following him would make it seem that Ichigo was deciding to reveal his own sexuality because of Ishida.

There was nothing Ichigo hated more than feeling like a follow-up. Thus, Ichigo was left to fume and kill Ishida a thousand times in his mind's eye when he saw him. It could have been worse, Ichigo knew. He could have been crushing on some guy and unable to display his feeling because of Ishida being stupid. It was tremendously unfair. Ishida didn't need to come out, everyone already knew. That was like looking out the window during a thunderstorm and telling people it was cloudy. The only reason people would not think of a thunderstorm as particularly cloudy was because the lightening, thunder, and rain stole the show. Clouds were a given that no-one needed reminding about. Likewise was Ishida being gay, though he lacked any silver lining whatsoever because he was a freak cloud.

Ichigo coped his best. He'd come out to his sister Karin a week before Ishida's awe-striking revelation. Karin had taken the information in stride, as if she had intuitively expected it all along. This bothered Ichigo, and he wondered if he was really no better than Ishida at masking himself. If Ichigo couldn't control his spiritual pressure, Ishida certainly couldn't restrain his gayness. Karin had told him reassuringly that she'd only suspected Ichigo because she was his little sister and more acute to such things. Ichigo believed her because it was so much better than the alternative.

"So, how was the party? Is Ishida-kun acting any gayer than normal now that he's sexually liberated?" Karin asked over cornflakes the morning after Orihime's coming out party for Ishida. Ichigo frowned and confiscated her box of cereal. "You're still mad. I see. You're being stupid again."

Ichigo had nothing to say to this and poured his cereal onto the counter before realising it would be much better served from a bowl. He grumbled something sourly to himself and began preparing the more orthodox breakfast. Karin sighed and rolled her eyes.

"Have you become seriously retarded or what? I'm not cleaning that up. Are you upset because Ishida is gayer than you or something stupid?"

Ichigo blanched. "Don't say that! What if Dad or Yuzu heard you?"

"They would think I was picking on you, Ichi. You're really paranoid."

"And I don't have a reason to be?" Karin had hit a nerve. "Ishida's fucking with my open nature, dammit. How can I possibly not confess to everyone something that is so persistent? My depth and curse of openness is being challenged." Karin looked as if she disagreed on the point of her brother's openness, but didn't speak. Wisely, she shovelled a large scoop of cornflakes into her mouth and grunted. "I mean, goddamnit. He better find a gay lover in Antarctica and move there."

"Or you going to do what?" Karin asked doubtfully.

"Shove him in a box and send him there to find one."

Karin choked as a few crumbs and milk tried to rush into her windpipe. For the next ten minutes she coughed and sputtered, all the while casting her brother accusatory glances that said "look what your stupidly does to us normal people." Ichigo's frown only deepened as he knocked his spilt cereal from the counter to the floor and strolled off for the vacuum cleaner. He was back in time to witness Karin's recovery.

"You," cough, "idiot." Ichigo blinked at her unresponsively. "Don't," cough, "give me," cough, cough, "that look," cough and dislocation of a lung, "you los--." But Ichigo had opted to switch on the vacuum then and missed the last syllable. The context, however, made it crystalline clear.

"When you are older, Karin, I'm sure you'll understand the most important importance of coming out before your naturally sworn enemy, the gay dorkishidasaurus, does," Ichigo said with a sagely air as he emptied the contents of the vacuum into the kitchen garbage.

"No, I think I'm going to have to revert back to preschool to understand how my idiot brother thinks." She took another bite of cereal to clear her throat. "The maturity thing doesn't seem to have run into you yet. Or, it gave up and killed itself when it saw your face."

Ichigo had to remind himself that Karin was someone he cared deeply for and did not want mauled to pieces. "Are you calling me immature?"

"You have to ask?"

"Shut up, midget."

"When you grow up, Ichi-ni."

"But you're younger than me."

"And it just makes you more pathetic."

Ichigo was about to say something back, or attack with the vacuum cleaner, he wasn't sure which, when the door opened and in roared Kurosaki Isshin with a legendary, long-distance screwdriver kick. It was an amazing thing, the kick, spinning him at speeds between one to two thousand revolutions a second, and his newest refinement to catch his son off guard. Ichigo successfully negated this with the box of cornflakes, and Isshin crumpled in the devastating defeat.

"Ichigo stopped Daddy's Legendary Flying Screwdriver Kick with breakfast cereal. Amazing!"

"Are you not happy until your fatherly love sends your son to the hospital?" Karin asked darkly from the table. Ichigo, with the cereal between his nose and his father's feet, agreed.

"Then Daddy will take care of him," Isshin said gleefully, "and remind him every day that a strike from the left should not be responded to by a block to the right."

"Like Hell I'd make that mistake, old man," Ichigo said angrily. "Do you think I'm stupid?"

Isshin's eyes flooded with tears and he grabbed despairingly at the helm of Ichigo's shirt. "Well, I'm so sorry son, but you're never going to be in the top ten of your class. It's my fault. I never pushed you. I just wanted my son to love me and never feel threatened by my expectations, but it appears I did more harm than good. My parenting skills have failed you, Ichigo, but I can still save the sweet little girls." Isshin turned his face to Karin and Yuzu, "Girls! Do not follow your brother's example. Shun him in public. Go to college and forget he is your brother. Pretend Asami Ryuuichi is your brother."

Ichigo groaned and brushed his father off violently with the help of threatening gestures from his spoon. "Are you calling your son a moron?"

"I've only lost all my hopes and dreams for you," Isshin said in what would have been a reassuring tone if it hadn't made him look insane. That wasn't hard for Isshin. Crazy came easy.

"Can I just eat breakfast in peace?" Ichigo asked.

"Certainly," Isshin said, "relax and eat, but first--BEWARE MY MEGA LIGHTENING FIST OF IMPENDING DOOM!"

Mr. Impending Doom was easily defeated by his son's foot in his face seconds before fist impact. Ichigo sighed and grabbed his school bag. "I guess not," he said.

"Hey, Ichi," Karin called. Ichigo, halfway through the door, stopped and turned. "Have a fabulously gay day at school today, will you?"

Ichigo grimaced. "Why you littleā€¦" was about as far as he could get from the pure, liquid fury pulsing and constricting his brain.Isshin, who had heard his daughter's inspired goodbye, picked up the mantra, "Have a gay day today, too, son. It's a gay day for a gay time. I say you may, be gay and have fun!"

Ichigo glared at Karin with lethal fury from the corner of his eye and stormed from the house. Just his luck, the idiots had jinxed him. Perfect. And with Ishida's new freedom of self, there was no telling just how gay the days were going to get.


Endnote: Written for Lumi's birthday year(s?) ago, and I am only now putting it up. Yeah. I know.