Anyone, But You



Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

AN: A prompt by Judikickshiney.

"Absolutely not."

"You wound me with your unkind words!"

"I wish my unkind words would do more than wound!"

"Another stab in my heart. Oh, Ichigo, why won't you?"

"Because it's a disturbing thought," Ichigo said distastefully.

"It's not that bad," Shunsui ran his fingers through his long hair. "The ladies love it."

"They do?" Ichigo looked skeptical.

"They do," Shunsui sighed wistfully. "Why, just this morning, my lovely Nanao was telling me how much she loved mine."

"She was?" Ichigo looked even more skeptical.

"And then she hit me with her book!" Another wistful sighed. "What an arm."

"So you're saying if I grow out my hair, women will hit me with books."

"Very few men are that lucky," Shunsui assured him. "I'm one of the few."

"I wouldn't call that lucky..."

"People have different opinions..." The pink-clad man shrugged. "What about a beard?"

"I'd look like a leprechaun."

"A hat?"

"You've got to be kidding me."

"A pretty hair accessory?"

"Why do you wear that anyway?"

"A kimono!"

There was a long, tense silence, followed by a foreboding quiet, which was soon taken over by a murky soundlessness.

"Anyone but you," Ichigo finally whispered, his voice growing continuously louder with every word. "Why couldn't I have been stuck on a deserted island with anyone, but you? Even Ishida! Hat-and-Clogs! Aizen! I'd even take that creepy clown captain over you! Anyone, but you!"

Shunsui sat in a stunned stupor.

Ichigo looked away from him.

Shunsui stood and slowly dusted off his kimono and straightened his hat with more dignity than Ichigo knew he possessed. With a haughty look, Shunsui took a step away. He paused almost immediately.

"You know, Ichigo Kurosaki, that's the same thing everyone said about you when they asked who was willing to go on a mission with you. 'Absolutely not. A disturbing thought. Unlucky. You've got to be kidding me. Anyone, but YOU.'" Here he snickered. "But no, I had to try to make the best out of misery. I stood up for you and agreed to go with you, knowing the danger you would inevitably end up putting us in and that it would most likely be a pointless mission with you involved. Between the two of us, Ichigo, I'm proud to say that I consider myself the better man. At least I tried."

With his words said, he pulled his hat down and started walking around the bend of the island where he knew there was a resort, a pool, and a well-stocked bar.

He'd been the one to make the best out of a miserable situation.

He'd been the one to plan ahead.