Title: Bamboo Dragon
Genre: Romance / Humor
Rating: M (eventually)
Pairing: Ichigo x Ikkaku (yes, in that order) (guess I should mention the others: Ishida x Yumichika, Shuuhei x Matsumoto, one-sided Ishida x Orihime, Izuru x Orihime, Byakuya x Renji, Shunsui x Nanao, Ukitake x Rukia, that's it for now) (tell me if there's something you'd like to see, that DOESN'T involve those people)
Spoilers: None, at the moment
Summary: After a night they can't remember, comes a day they'll never forget.
Word Count: 5,248
Warnings: Yaoi. That's right. Two hot guys getting it on. And language.
Disclaimer: The summary is from Dude, Where's My Car? Which, clearly, is not mine. Bleach is also… not mine. ::Cries::

A/N: Am I really the first person to write this pairing?! But… it's so hot! How can there not be more?! ::cries::
A/N II: Also, lemon-ness of the non-yaoi variety. Oh, what the hey!

Full explanation for long, long, (really long) wait on my profile, if anyone cares.

Flashbacks between the xxxx's.


"… I can't believe we did that."

"Well it got did, and you'll have to square with that someday," Hitsugaya deadpanned.

"Not if I can help it," Ichigo muttered, fiddling with the bracelet that he still had wrapped around his wrist. A glance at Ikkaku showed that the bald shinigami was messing with the matching one on his own wrist. The woman at The Green Fairy had said they were given them yesterday for winning the competition, a way for the staff to recognize them as the ones to give the sake to. At least they'd kept them on long enough to claim their prize. Though why the two of them were still wearing them was anyone's guess.

"Well anyway," Matsumoto chimed, "let's get on to the restaurant, shall we?"

"How do we know we made it to the restaurant anyway?" Ichigo complained, as the group followed Matsumoto, who was merrily skipping ahead of them. "We were pretty tore up."

Hitsugaya snorted from behind the teen. "The way you lot are about food? I feel confident in saying we made it to the restaurant."

"But still…"

"Here it is boys!" Matsumoto sing-song-ed, stopping so suddenly that Ichigo crashed into her back, inhaling a mouth full of her corn-rowed hair. He was still fighting to remove himself from the braids when Renji's bland voice cut through the air.

"… This is where we ate?"

xxxxx

Ye Old Restaurant was a quaint place, no easy accomplishment this far out in Rukongai. The inebriated lot of them spent some time out in front of the place, forcing Ichigo back into his uniform (that luckily Orihime had brought with her), since the sign next to the door read: No shirt. No shoes. No service. And Ichigo was both shirtless and shoeless.

After making sure the entire lot of them was properly attired, they drunkenly stumbled into the diner-styled restaurant.

There was a young woman standing near the door, filing her nails, who glanced up when a tinkling bell signaled their entrance. "Hey," she called over her shoulder, "it's some Men in Black!"

"Coming!" A few short moments later, an older man come from the back, holding a handful of menus and smiling broadly. The grin fell from his face when he spotted Shuuhei in the crowd. "Get out."

Renji, who Shuuhei was using as a support beam, asked, "You know this guy?"

He made a dismissive gesture. "I come here sometimes. It's expensive though."

"Is that why you eat Omaeda-fukutaicho's leftovers?"

The ninth-division lieutenant shrugged.

"Get out!" The man screamed again, menus scattering on the floor around him like autumn leaves. "You sit here for hours and you never order anything!"

"Hey, that's not true!" Shuuhei said, affronted, and shoving against Renji to stand on his own. "Just last week I ordered a tea."

"You couldn't pay!"

A blink. "Oh, yeah."

"You can bill it to the Tenth Division."

The man turned to stare at the speaker and it seemed to take a moment for him to realize who he was looking at. "Hitsugaya-taicho! O-of course!" And he scurried away, presumably to start a tab. "Just please," he called back to them as he was leaving, "don't move the tab –"

"Hey! Let's move these tables together!" Matsumoto cried, already shifting the aforementioned pieces of furniture.

Finally, after much table and chair shifting and musical-chair-age between the shinigami and friends, everyone was finally situated. Yumichika was pleased to be seated next to Ishida, who was ignoring the eleventh division member in lieu of Inoue on his other side. Though she was mourning the loss of Izuru and was in a slump no matter how much Shuuhei, on her other side, tired to talk her out of it. He eventually gave up when Matsumoto dragged him into a conversation with her. It was a conversation that Hitsugaya was having a hard time ignoring considering his close proximity to the strawberry-blonde. Ikkaku, seated next to Hitsugaya, was passing drunken, not-as-subtle-as-he-thought-they-were glances at Ichigo, who was trying to talk to a completely plastered Renji, who was slumped onto Chad's shoulder, who was ignoring the twittering Yumichika next to him.

"So do you all know what you want?"

The group looked up, none of them having even so much as glanced at a menu, at their waitress. Young, possibly pretty, under the coating of makeup caked onto her face, chewing like a cow on a piece of gum.

There was silence for a good moment.

"I'm hungry," Inoue said suddenly.

"I'm thirsty," Ikkaku added.

"… I could hump a tree." Shuuhei (and everyone else) turned incredulous stares to Matsumoto. She blinked. "What?"

The waitress rolled her eyes. "Hey, twenty seconds here, yo." No one looked away from Matsumoto. "Oi! Fucking pay attention!" The lot of them started and faced her. "Good. Now… What. Do. You. Want?"

As they started calling out orders, she was busy scratching them down onto her notepad. "Sukiyaki, okay. Miso soup, okay. Ice cream, okay." And this went on and on.

"I want some takiyaki."

"And then?"

"Sake," Ikkaku said, after a moment of silence in which everyone tried to think of something else they wanted.

"And then?"

"Ummm… Nope, that's it."

"And then?"

"N-no, that's it. We're done. You can go make our food now."

"And then?"

"No 'and then'!"

"And then?"

"No 'and then'!"

"And the-"

"Stop harassing the customers!"

The girl's mouth closed so abruptly you could hear her teeth clack together. She turned, standing straight as she faced a stern-faced man wearing a chef's hat. "Yes, sir." He turned and left after a long, probing look at her and she relaxed. She slanted them a glance over one shoulder, shrugging. "Sorry, must obey the taco man." And then she walked off to the kitchens.

There was a moment of silence. "Well…" Ishida said slowly. "That was strange."

And then the table erupted in conversation.

"Soooo…." Matsumoto purred to Ikkaku, who was across from her, watching Ichigo twirl his finger around the rim of his water glass, seemingly mesmerized by the movement. "Do we get an encore?"

"Huh?"

She gave him a swift kick under the table that grabbed his attention. She tilted her head in Ichigo's direction. The bald shinigami glanced from him, then back to Matsumoto who, along with Shuuhei, was staring at him in interest.

"Yeah, Madarame, I never knew you played for the other team," Shuuhei snickered.

"Love is blind!" Yumichika shouted suddenly from his end. "And lovers cannot see!"

Hitsugaya snorted. "It's not that blind."

"Anyway," Matsumoto continued, "do we get an encore?" The smirked. "Your first performance was enough to get me all hot under the collar."

"Then maybe you should take it off," Shuuhei murmured to her smoothly, eyes darkening.

"Please, not before we eat, Hisagi," Hitsugaya droned.

"Taicho!"

The petite captain frowned at his lieutenant, but made no further comments, choosing instead, to zone out the conversation entirely.

"Well, I, uhhh… I mean, Ichigo he was and then I was and somehow it seemed, but really –"

"He's a really good kisser."

The four currently part of the conversation turned in unison to stare at Ichigo. The boy had forgone trying to converse with Renji, who was clearly no longer coherent, and he propped his chin up on his hand and was watching them. "What?" He asked, at the look on their faces. Shuuhei's shocked, Matsumoto's leering, and Ikkaku's a mix between embarrassed and lustful. Almond eyes paused at the last face, arching a brow. "What?" He repeated. "It's true."

Ikkaku gave a nearly imperceptible shake of his head and cleared his throat lowly before he leaned forward, pressing into Ichigo. "Would you like another taste, strawberry?"

Ichigo's face went red, whether from anger at the nickname, embarrassment at their sudden proximity, or the alcohol still coursing pleasantly through his system, neither of the two were sure. But Ikkaku knew that the rose-tinted cheeks in front of him were both very cute and very arousing, and couldn't resist leaning forward and kissing one, just to see what Ichigo would do.

Both Matsumoto and Yumichika squealed excitedly at the display, but Ikkaku wasn't listening, because he had barely pulled back, hoping to get another glimpse of Ichigo's face, when the substitute shinigami shoved their faces together hard enough that their teeth clacked together.

Ichigo's hand fisted in the material of Ikkaku's shihakushou, pulling him closer. Ikkaku's nose was pressed against the side of Ichigo's face awkwardly, but he didn't really care, not when there was a tongue in his mouth doing such wonderful, wonderful things.

The moment was ruined when the chef deemed the moment appropriate to shout out across the bar. "Oi! Ding fries are done!"

The two pulled away slowly and Ikkaku felt a trail of saliva drip down the side of his mouth. He was panting heavily and Ichigo was swaying towards him, staring at his lips like he was thinking about kissing him again. Before Ikkaku could make up his mind for him, their food was set roughly down in front of them by their oh-so-pleasant waitress.

Ikkaku glared at her, before grabbing some of the food and shoving it into his mouth.

"How's it taste cue-ball?" She sneered at him.

"Tastes like hate," he answered back disdainfully. "Did you make it?"

"As if." She glanced around at the others. "Ya'll alright?"

Murmurs of agreement echoed back.

Beside Renji, who had awakened at the smell of food and more sake, Ichigo was staring cross-eyed down at the spoon in his mouth. "There is something wrong with this yogurt," he commented absently, as he pulled the spoon out of his mouth and stuck it back in the jar for another scoop.

The waitress blinked at him. "Those are the table condiments." A blank stare. "It's mayonnaise."

The spoon paused halfway to his mouth. "… Oh."

When he was still and silent for a long moment, she asked hesitantly. "Do you… want some yogurt?"

He contemplated, then shrugged and shoved the spoon into his mouth. "No."

The waitress and everyone else made disgusted faces at him, but left him to it. If he wanted to eat eight thousand calories of straight mayonnaise, well, it was his waistline. And really, at least he was using a utensil. The others seemed to have devolved into monkeys. Renji was shoveling takiyaki into his mouth so fast he wasn't even chewing. Inoue just kept dumping things onto her plate, until it was impossible to tell what she's originally ordered. Ishida and Yumichika were almost sparring with their chopsticks as they cooked and ate their shared order of sukiyaki at their end of the table. So involved were they, they never noticed Chad methodically eating his way through their food. Matsumoto was practically deep-throating her yakitori skewers, casting pointed looks at Shuuhei the entire while. Hisagi was watching her eat with a very dazed look on his face. He was busy staring at her that he kept missing him mouth and was steadily spilling miso soup down his chin. Hitsugaya, still ignoring them, was slowly eating his way through an entire quart of ice cream, of all things.

The waitress shook her head at them, turning at a loud commotion from behind them. "Miss," she called out, leaving their table, "is there a problem?"

The sudden shout made several of the shinigami choke on their food. "Why was there bacon in the snow?!"

"… Yachiru-fukutaicho?" Yumichika mumbled as he, and everyone else pivoted in their seats and followed their waitress's progress to another table. Where, lo and behold, was seated the eleventh division captain, the table in front of him liberally scattered with empty sake jugs, and a fuming Yachiru who was only just visible behind the mound of ice cream in front of her. And was that… yes, yes it was, there was bacon on top of the sundae. No wonder Yachiru looked like her head was going to explode.

Even the waitress seemed stumped. "Holy shit on a fucking sandwich." Shaking her head to clear away her confusion, she said, "I'm very sorry, miss, I don't know how this could have happened. Of course, our cook is a complete moron," the last part was muttered. "I'll get you another one right away," she continued you, reaching out to pick up the bowl. She stared at it for one more moment before nodding once at the cotton-candy haired lieutenant. "I'll be back."

The group of drunken shinigami was still gaping at the pair five minutes later when the waitress returned. And they remained staring at she inhaled the frozen dessert. They only snapped out of their stupor when the waitress spun in their direction and snapped, "Are you finished?"

And they were, thank God. Ikkaku had the feeling if he had to go around with that waitress again someone wasn't walking away. And he'd bet all the sake in Seireitei that person wouldn't be him.

"Yeah," he said, standing with everyone else, the lot of them wavering as they fought to regain their drunken balance. "Bitch," he hissed softly as they walked by. He protest was drowned out by his exuberant greeting to his captain, who was exasperatedly watching Yachiru demand more ice cream, brandishing a spoon like a specter.

"So long!" Matsumoto chimed as they walked out the door. "And thanks for all the fish!"

xxxxx

12:50 PM

". . . . . ."

"Do you think we're allowed back in that restaurant?"

Hitsugaya arched a brow at his lieutenant. "Why would you want to go?"

She shrugged. "The food wasn't bad." She sighed. "But, more importantly: where did we go from here?"

"I know!" Yumichika shouted gleefully from over Hitsugaya's shoulder, causing him to jerk in surprise. "I know!" He cried again, jumping up and down like a child. He stopped when an elbow suddenly collided with his midsection. "I . . . know . . ." he wheezed.

"Well? Are you going to tell us?" Ikkaku groused.

For a moment, Yumichika just coughed and gasped his way around the pain in his middle, before managing to pant out, "Went to . . . pharmacy . . . remember?"

". . . . . . ."

"Not really."

"Did we do that?"

"I don't recall that."

"I remember that!" Of course, Matsumoto would remember going to somewhere they sold makeup. "Tomorrow's Tiger Pharmacy!"

". . . Matsumoto that's in the other direction!"

She blinked. "So?"

Her captain heaved a long-suffering sigh, rubbed at the tension he could feel forming behind his eyes, and gestured to her sarcastically. "Lead the way then."

-

It should have been a simple trip to the pharmacy, but, as it is so often in their lives, this was not to be. It seemed they couldn't travel from Point A to Point B without encountering some trashed, debauched and coyote ugly-ed version of some person or pair from the night before.

This time it was the Eighth Division captain and lieutenant, lying sprawled across a park bench underneath Shunsui's vibrant kimono, pedestrians giving them a wide berth as they walked by, as if afraid to wake the pair. Which was stupid really. Their footsteps and conversations weren't going to wake them, since Shunsui was snoring like a gutted wild boar and the two were still sleeping away.

". . . Should we wake them?"

"Do you think Nanao-chan will be mad if we do?"

"Don't you think she'll be madder if we leave her here where people can see her like this?"

"Good point."

". . . Are you gonna wake her up?"

"I thought you were gonna do it!"

"Hey, guys," Ichigo interjected. "Not to interrupt or anything, but she's waking up."

xxxxx

Nanao was not particularly drunk. Nor was she particularly sober. It was this state of mild-inebriation that probably led to her current situation. Which was, wandering down the street with her captain, as the pair of them alternated between tugging the other's clothes off of them? At present, she had her hands shoved underneath his shihakasho, trying to push it off his shoulders. Her nails scrapped down his arms and suddenly she found herself hefted up and pressed against the neared wall, her more-than-slightly-drunk captain rubbing against her.

Her head tipped back as she moaned, apparently drunk enough to not care that, no matter how late it was, they were still, technically, in public. It might have bothered her for a moment, but Shunsui was sliding her kimono up her legs, trailing calloused fingers up her thighs, and laving wet, panting breaths against her ear, so she pushed everything else from the back of her mind.

"Tai . . . cho . . ." she panted, helping him lift her kimono all the way off and wrapping her legs tighter around her waist. "Taicho, please . . ."

His breathing was ragged and he moved against her insistently, seeking his own release. Nanao leaned forward, nipping against his neck, trying to bring his attention more towards her. She slid her hand down between their bodies and stroked him through his hakama and he suddenly gave a husky cry, his arms tightening, as he shivered against her. "Oh, Nanao-chan," he whispered, his eyes closed tight with his release. He panted against her for a moment, before letting her slide off the wall and down onto the bench beside them that they hadn't noticed until then. He stared at her, dazed and lethargic, for a moment. "I love you," he said seriously.

"And I've grown fond of you," she answered back, moving emphatically against him, trying to not-so-subtly remind him that one of them had yet to completely enjoy themselves. "Taicho? . . . Taicho!" She stilled her movements, staring at him in complete and utter shock.

That bastard had fallen asleep!

xxxxx

Needless to say, Nanao was not in the cheeriest of moods when she woke up to find her comrades in a semi-circle around her as she sat up and clutched Shunsui's pink kimono around her like a sheet. She glanced at them, then glanced down at her captain, whom she had somehow wound up sleeping on top of. She took one look at him before she whipped out a hand and slapped him once across the cheek.

Shunsui, not one to be startled out of his sleep by something as insignificant as a bitch slap, mumbled something about it being too early (even though it was past the crack of noon), blinked, wet his lips, and focused blearily on the fuming woman on top of him.

"Nanao-chan?" His eyes widened and he struggled to sit up, only to pause when he realized that what was draped over his chest as a blanket was a woman's kimono. "Uh-oh, have I been cross-dressing in my sleep again?" He asked, holding it away from him.

"That's mine, you idiot!"

He blinked at his lieutenant. "Yours . . . ?" His eyes brightened in remembrance and he turned to look at the very confused group of shinigami watching them. "We had sex!" He announced happily.

Nanao made a face as she turned to face the others as well. "We had what taicho calls sex."

Not deterred, Shunsui turned back to her. "Was it good for you?"

"I don't think it was good for anyone," she muttered.

Shunsui made an off-handed gesture. "Oh shut up, spoilsport."

Everyone took an immediate step backwards as Nanao's eyes widened impossibly large, before she reached up calmly (too calmly) to slid her glasses off. "Taicho . . ." she said slowly, before slamming her elbow into his face and watching him fall back onto the bench. She stood elegantly, wrapping her captain's pink kimono around her like a large bath towel.

The group of shinigami hurried forward. "Shunsui-taicho, are you alright?"

He mumbled around his broken nose.

Ikkaku whistled lowly. "Damn, taicho, where'd you get the balls to do that?"

Shunsui peered at them from behind his fingers. "I'm still a little drunk," he said regretfully, before falling into unconsciousness.

"Don't worry, he's fine," Nanao said. "Probably. I don't care." And with that, she stalked off towards Seireitei.

". . . . . . ."

"I believe the word we're looking for is . . . anyways . . ."

-

There was nothing special about the pharmacy.

This was, in retrospect a Very Good Thing. It meant that none of them had caused a scene there yesterday. That there were no drunken brawls involving any of them and (hopefully) no impromptu make out sessions in the toiletries aisle.

The cashier looked up when they all entered, a kindly older woman who greeted Matsumoto by name.

"I heard you came in last night, Rangiku-san."

xxxxx

1:15 PM

The doors chimed pleasantly as the group staggered into the pharmacy at all hours of the night (or morning, whichever). The person manning the cash register was a young women with far too many colors in her hair and several unnecessary piercings on her face. She barely even looked up when they all but fell in the door.

"Alright, come on Abarai," Yumichika was insisting, dragging the redhead by his sleeve to the hair products aisle. "I want to do something with your hair!"

"Must you?"

"Yes! We're living in a material world and I'm a material girl . . . or boy."

Renji just shook his head and followed.

Their time in the store was probably the most uneventful portion of their entire night. The only sound in the store this late was the sound of the disaffected cashier messing with the microphone ("Dear valued customers," the intercom was broadcasting, "you are losers.")

Checkout was doubly uneventful. The young women rang them up apathetically ("Crikey, is it time to close this bitch yet?"), charged everything to the tenth division, yawned, and went back to painting her nails. And the group staggered back outside.

Which is where they decided to turn the bench out front into a beauty salon

Matsumoto and Yumichika immediately got into a heated argument about the best way to dye Renji's hair and only Ikkaku's interference stopped it from becoming a violent catfight in the street.

"Hey, shut it gossip girls," he snapped. "It was Yumichika's idea, so just do whatever the fuck you want to Abarai's hair."

Yumichika brightened and stuck his tongue out childishly at Matsumoto, before turning to Renji, who was beginning to think that maybe this hadn't been such a good idea.

Thirty minutes later Yumichika, who had demanded an immediate need to clean himself off of the hair dye not staining his hands, turned and went back into the pharmacy, while Ishida and Inoue proceeded to put Matsumoto's hair into a hundred tiny braids.

Ichigo was just starting to slid surreptitiously over to Ikkaku when to doors opened and Yumichika danced out, feathers braided into his hair and silver glitter sparkling around his eyes. "Ta-da forever!" He shouted gleefully.

". . . You have truly out gay-ed yourself this time," Ikkaku muttered but it was drowned out by Matsumoto's high-pitched demand for the glitter.

Five seconds later, her kimono had been slid even farther down her shoulders (how it managed to stay up was anyone's guess) and she had sprinkled glitter over her chest and collarbone. It twinkled provocatively every time she turned into the light.

"I am now sufficiently glamorous," she announced.

She turned when someone cleared their throat. "You look good," Shuuhei said, and he swallowed thickly. His eyes were hot.

She beamed at him, before ruining the would-be tender moment by saying, "Please tell your pants it's rude to point." She giggled as his face immediately turned a bright red.

Renji heaved a sigh, red hair loose and wild around his shoulders now, black streaks standing out prominently. He was the only sane person here. Yumichika was trying to attract Ishida's attention, possibly by blinding him with glitter, while the Quincy was attempting to fix some wayward strand of Matsumoto's hair. And Ichigo and Ikkaku were still tossing oh-my-God-I-kissed-him-and-I-maybe-sorta-wanna-do-it-again, come-hither looks at one another.

"Can we go? I'd like to wash the gay off me."

Everyone paused.

"That's rich, coming from you, Abarai," Ikkaku said, crossing his arms.

Renji blinked. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means, Abarai-kun," Matsumoto purred, "That everyone knows you have the hots for your captain."

"What? I absolutely do not!"

Ichigo scoffed. "Come off, Renji. I could see that the first time I met you. You so want a piece of Byakuya's ass!"

Renji was starting to look a little queasy. "Can we . . . not . . . talk about taicho's ass? Please?"

"Whatever floats your boat, man."

xxxxx

"I forgot about that conversation," Matsumoto mused, before glancing impishly at a surprisingly embarrassed looking Renji. "Still gonna deny it?"

". . . I know where we went from there."

"That's not an answer!" Matsumoto cried, as Renji started walking off.

"It was over this way, remember?"

"Abarai-kun!"

xxxxx

Apparently, their new and improved looks demanded shopping. So that everyone else could see how stunningly beautiful they looked (Matsumoto and Yumichika's words). So off to the shopping center they went.

Unfortunately for, well, everyone, Tomorrow's Tiger Pharmacy, was so far in the other direction from where they were before, that it was actually in Seireitei. This meant that the nearest shopping center was actually the one in the Eleventh Division. Why there was a shopping center in the Eleventh Division, of all places, was anyone's guess. Probably someone's idea of a joke. The punch line being that the first store they walked into was filled with fragile, delicate, completely breakable things. Yes, someone was indeed laughing about this. And not the shop owner, if the man's twitching nervous disposition was anything to go by.

"Ooohhh! Shiny!" Matsumoto squealed, making a beeline for some glass figurines, Yumichika and Inoue hot on her heels. Ishida and Shuuhei trailed after them, as Hitsugaya, Renji, and Chad all but collapsed by the door. Ichigo and Ikkaku meandered slowly farther and farther towards the back of the store, where they were sure they could find a dark, secluded corner and, ahem, talk.

No sooner had they found said dark, secluded corner, then lips were smashed roughly together, teeth clacking, hands scrambling, someone clearing their throat in irritation.

Wait. What?

Lips parted, heads turned, and two sets of startled eyes looked down, down to meet the violet-eyed stare of Kuchiki Rukia.

"Can we help you?"

The petite woman glared at Ikkaku before turning her frosty stare to Ichigo. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Ummm . . . shopping?" He asked hopefully, too drunk to think disentangling from Ikkaku might be a Good Idea.

"Is that what they're calling it these days?" She scoffed. "I can smell the liquor on your breath."

"That's cuz I've been drinking, bitch."

Rukia puffed up like an angry cat, lashing out with one leg to kick Ichigo in the shin. She glared at him as he cursed and sputtered, letting go of Ikkaku to reach down and grab the injury.

"Oi!" Ikkaku snapped, standing up straight to stare down at the girl. "Listen closely, tiny dancer, the next time you touch him, I'll break you. He can do what he wants." He paused. "What the fuck are you doing here anyway?"

The glare faded from her face abruptly, and her eyes slid to the side. "I, uhhh, came to see a man about a dog."

". . . What?"

"Kuchiki-san!"

All three of them jerked in surprise at the high-pitched sing-song, and turned to stare incredulously as Ukitake twirled into their little corner. He was smiling, well, grinning goofily, but whatever.

"Taicho?"

He beamed at her.

Rukia sighed. "I guess you got it then?"

He started to nod, but froze as he caught sight of the other two. "Boys! How are you?!"

"Uhhh . . ."

"Ukitake-taicho!" The store owner appeared just as suddenly as Jyushiro, wringing his hands together nervously. "I m-must insist you p-pay up f-f-front."

Rukia arched a brow at the man, eyes shifting fretfully back-and-forth, as if expecting a fight to break out at any moment (with where his store was located, it was really no wonder). "Did taicho not request that the cost be billed to the Thirteenth Division?"

"Yes, b-but –"

"Then what's the problem? Don't you trust us?"

"I – well, th-that is to say –"

"Taicho?"

"Yes?"

"Permission to lay down the law, sir."

"Granted."

Ichigo and Ikkaku managed to slink away just as Rukia dealt the man a truly demonic grin. They slunk away to the sounds of his screams. Just as they were about to find another dark, secluded corner there was a crash from where the two girls and tagalongs had congregated and the pair decided to go see what the hell was going on.

They turned around the corner into the next aisle and were met with the store's assistant manager staring in horrified shock at the shattered remains of some sort of crystal statue. The four most probably responsible were on the other side of the wreckage watching his panic attack unfold.

"You have to pay for that!"

"Name your price, sir," Ishida said politely, skidding his glasses up his nose.

"Nine hundred thousand yen!"

There was a pause, before Matsumoto leaned forward over the Quincy and chirped, "Name a lower price!"

"W – What?" And then all he did was give an aggravated scream when Yumichika threw glitter in his face and the four of them turned and ran.

". . . Think we should follow them?"

Ichigo sighed. "Yeah, prob'ly."

The pair trotted after the carnage the four were leaving in the escape-wake, pulling the three camped out by the door along with them. They ran along for a little while, weaving unsteadily, since running and being drunk don't really mix very well. It was amazing none of them had needed to stop and empty the contents of their stomachs yet.

"Madarame-san?"

Throwing on the breaks, Ikkaku (and everyone else) stopped.

"Zaraki-taicho is looking for you," MakiMaki said hesitantly, glancing around the mish-moshed group they were.

"Uh-huh."

"Aren't – aren't you going to go find him?" He asked, when Ikkaku didn't move.

"You know what?!" He shouted suddenly. "I never liked you. You don't fit in this division."

MakiMaki blinked. "I, uhhh . . ."

"I have to get something off my chest, too!" Yumichika piped up.

"Please tell me it's not your shirt," MakiMaki muttered, watching the fifth seat sway treacherously since standing still was oh so hard.

"Hey!" Ikkaku shouted in his friend's defense. "Why don't you just go pee your pants?!"

"That was like a hundred years ago!"

"People don't forget!"

MakiMaki huffed in annoyance and stomped away, muttering to himself. Ikkaku watched him go in satisfaction. He had just turned to ask where they should go now when a smooth voice cut across the courtyard.

"Abarai-san, so you are causing this commotion."

Renji paled. "Taicho."

xxxxx

"I don't remember meeting Kuchiki-taicho," Matsumoto murmured.

"He must not have stayed very long." Ichigo shrugged. "Whadda think, Renji? . . . Renji?" He turned to see why his friend was so silent.

Renji had back up several steps, wide-eyed and ashen faced. "You, were not supposed to remember he was here."

Hitsugaya frowned. "Why? What happened, Abarai?"

Silence.

"It can't be that bad, Renji." Ichigo blinked. "Can it?"

Renji sighed. "You have no idea."


A/N: Ummm… is anyone still alive out there? ::crickets:: Yeah, that's what I thought.

1. I'm imagining them pushing two normal restaurant-style tables together. So that's one person at each end, and four down each side. Yumichika at one end (then Ishida, Inoue, Shuuhei, and Matsumoto up that side). Hitsugaya at the other end (then Ikkaku, Ichigo, Renji, and Chad). Just in chase you needed a mental picture when imagining their conversation. I do.

2. I'm unsure of the spelling on takiyaki. That's how I've always spelled it, but Wikipedia spells it takoyaki. Does anyone know the correct way. I'll continue to spell it with an 'i' unless someone is sure the 'o' is the correct spelling. Also, for those who don't know: takiyaki is a fried dumpling with a piece of octopus inside. It's a popular street snack.

3. As for the other things they're eating… Sukiyaki is thinly sliced pieces of beef and vegetables which is cooked at the table by the people and dipped into a bowl of raw egg before being eaten. Yakitori is barbequed chicken skewers. Miso soup is soup made with miso (which is a flavoring) dissolved in dashi (which is a simple stock for certain soups - like a broth), with several ingredients in it, like tofu or vegetables. If I'm wrong about any of this, let me know!

4. Tomorrow's Tiger Pharmacy is a real place. Well, in Bleach-verse anyway. Lol.

5. Ten thousand US dollars is approximately 912,667 Yen

6. Also, thanks to everyone who reviewed! I'm sorry I didn't reply personally! Real Life's a bitch! So shout outs to:
Lakis
Rionarch
Mina Rain
Unbidden-Angel
Greensl33ves
ConstantSnow
ElfishScallywag
Shinsei Tonbo
xxSnowxxAngelxx
judikickshiney [Sorry the new chapter you were waiting for is so late in coming, hope you're still interested!]
Shebvixen (Who I love like fire for telling me where one of my Pop Culture references came from when I didn't know!)
Kira-Kaminari-san

Last Chapter's Pop Culture References:

1. Ikkaku and Ichigo's back-and-forth "Everything in this place belongs to me. Even him." / "Excuse me?" / "Shut up, bitch." is from something, but I do not know what. So if someone knows what, I'd love to know.
2. A Chappelle Show reference, specifically, one relating to the Rick James skits.
It's the , "Hold my drink, bitch" line.
3. An few lines from Alice In Wonderland.
It's Matsumoto's poem, "How doth the shining crocodile improve his shining tail, and pour the water of the Nile on every golden scale." The Caterpillar says it.
4. A well-known line from Friends, though I made a girl say it, instead of a guy, like who says it in the show.
Joey's classic pickup line, "How you, doin?"
(Found by Mina Rain and xxSnowxxAngelxx [she also found a few from other chapter, so kudos to those as well!])
5. There's a subtle reference to the title of a Bowling For Soup CD.
'Drunk Enough To Dance'
6. Another one you can help me with. Anyone know what the "You don't want to drink yourself into a new sexual lifestyle. Or maybe you do" lines come from?
(THANK YOU Shebvixen who has informed me it's from comedian Jonah Ray)

This Chapter's Pop Culture References:
1. Reference to a Will Smith movie.
2. The spoken lines from "You sit here for hours and never order anything!" all the way (give or take a few line) to "Hey! Let's move these tables together!" is from something.
3. Gee, and wonder what the "And then?" - "No 'and then'!" is from.
4. A line from Invader Zim
5. A line from Family Guy
6. Another line from Invader Zim
7. A line from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series
8. A line from Terminator.
9. A line from A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
10. The Shunsui - Nanao interactions have a few Family Guy quotes that I doubt anyone will catch.
11. Another line from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. (I don't really except anyone to find it, it's just that it's not mine, so I put it here.)
12. A reference to a Madonna song.
13. A couple of lines from Hancock, which were funny, and if you catch, you're awesome. I love that movie.
14. A couple of lines from Juno.