Disclaimer: I wish that Bleach was mine, but alas, I am only able to borrow and play with these characters that you recognize.
The teenager's ever-present frown deepened as he looked up from his book. Nothing good ever happened when Rukia got that tone in her voice, that tone of childish wonder and excitement.
"Did you know that there's a holiday here on Earth where people dress up and go around getting candy or playing tricks on other people?!?"
"Of course I know, baka! I live here!"
"So what are you going to dress up as?"
"Well, you're coming with us to go trick or treating right?"
She was bouncing up and down on his bed in excitement now. Prior experience had taught him that if he dared refuse, she would start to whine about how he was absolutely no fun, which would then turn into incessant badgering about how he really needed to learn how to loosen up. If all that didn't work, she'd turn those purple eyes on him and pull the puppy-dog look that she had perfected in the months she had been here on Earth, a look he had yet to learn how to resist.
Deciding that he really wasn't in the mood for a futile struggle against her wiles, Ichigo sighed.
"Fine… I'll go with you guys."
"Yes! Now come on!" and without further ado, she had grabbed his hand and pulled him out the door.
"Wait! Where are we going?!?"
"To the store! We have to go get our costumes!" Rukia checked her watch. "Kuso! We're going to be late. I told Inoue and Ishida that we'd be there at 5:30…"
A vein in Ichigo's temple throbbed as he realized that Rukia had already known that he would agree to her childish request, but as he looked down at her petite form all abuzz with excitement, he couldn't help but let her tug him along towards his impending doom.
Halloween night finally arrived, much to Rukia's ecstasy and Ichigo's dismay. As Rukia buzzed around in her costume, putting last minute touches to the black and orange decorations she had put up weeks ago, Ichigo sat on his bed and stared at his costume in trepidation. There was no way he was ever going to be able to look anyone in the face again if he had to go out in that…
Sneaking a peak at the preoccupied Rukia, he wondered if it would be possible for him to slip out of the room without her noticing. Standing up, he carefully tip-toed his way around her, heading towards the door.
His fingertips were an inch away from the doorknob when Rukia's freezing voice came from right behind him.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"Uh… I-I was just heading downstairs to--"
Rukia grabbed him by his ear and pulled him back towards the bed. "You're not going anywhere until you put on your costume!"
Forced to watch his portal to freedom shrink from his gaze, Ichigo couldn't help but wonder if the few tears obscuring his vision were those of pain or of dread and desperation.
Under Rukia's vigilant eyes, he reluctantly donned the orange monstrosity masquerading as a Halloween costume, certain that this night would lead to the ruin of the image he had worked so hard to build up over the years.
"There! That wasn't so hard now, was it?"
Refusing to meet the purple eyes he was sure were brimming over in amusement, Ichigo fixed his glare on the tips of the white ears sticking up from the top of her head, and managed to spit out one word from between his gritted teeth.
Pulled through what had once been his gateway to freedom, now turned portal to humiliation by an entirely too excited furry Rukia, Ichigo frantically wondered if it would be possible to knock her unconscious with the plastic, orange jack-o-lantern bucket that had been thrust into his more than unwillingly hands. Giant, gloved hands at that…
Upon seeing their group of friends up ahead, Rukia immediately let go of his arm to run up to them, orange basket swinging wildly in her hands. Seizing his chance, Ichigo ran (well, waddled would have been a more accurate description) behind a nearby oak tree. Taking a minute to catch his breath and slow down his pounding heart, he slowly poked his head around the tree trunk to take in the costumes of the rest of the group.
There was Inoue in an angel costume, exclaiming over the cuteness of Rukia dressed up as Chappy, one hand holding onto her candy bag while the fingers of the other hand were entangled with those of Ishida's. The aforementioned bespectacled boy was nodding distractedly at whatever Inoue said as he attempted to adjust the high collar of his priest outfit with one hand. Tatsuki stood on Inoue's other side, playing her polar opposite in a red devil costume, complete with pointy horns and tail (which Ichigo, in his current situation, felt would have been more appropriate on a certain Kuchiki Rukia).
Chad's usual hulking form was now green as he towered above the rest of the group in ripped purple pants. The only thing ruining his portrayal of the fierce Hulk was the cute orange—Wait a minute… Was that Kon's head?!?
Deciding that he really didn't want to know how Kon's adopted body had been turned into Chad's trick-o-treat basket, Ichigo let his eyes drift over the rest of the group only to land on Renji. What the hell was he wearing?!? Did the guy have no sense of fashion at all? Looking at him almost made Ichigo feel better about his own costume. At least he hadn't exhibited such horrible taste, even if it was embarrassing as hell to be stuck in this costume that Rukia had forced him into.
It was quite beyond his comprehension how Renji could stand in the middle of the group, proudly sporting that ridiculous red jacket with zebra-print accents at the collar, pockets, and cuffs, matching flared pants and wide-brimmed hat. Of course, even though it was nighttime, the idiot just couldn't go out anywhere without his newest pair of sunglasses from the Silver Dragonfly.
Shaking his green-topped head at Renji's flamboyant sense of fashion, Ichigo strained to see who the figure standing in the shadows behind Rukia was. Perhaps it would be some wretched soul with an even more embarrassing costume than his! That would definitely make him feel better, and possibly even persuade him to come out from behind the tree…
Rather unfortunately, luck was not on his side, for as the figure stepped out into the light of the moon, Ichigo's jaw dropped, and a squeak of mortification would have made it out of his mouth if it weren't for the hand he had quickly clamped over it.
As if the night wouldn't have been embarrassing enough, what with having to parade in front of his friends in this outfit, he just had to be here. Why, oh why was he here? Did the gods really hate him that much? Did they really find tormenting him that fun?!?
Cool eyes of gazed out from a paler than normal, stoic face. The arrogant look that usually accompanied Kuchiki Byakuya wherever he went matched perfectly with the brocaded burgundy vest, ruffled white shirt, and black cravat. The high-collared cloak wrapped around him only served to emphasize the man's intimidating figure. As he leant down to whisper something into Rukia's ear, Ichigo had a brief glimpse of the elongated canines that completed his outfit.
It was when Rukia's head snapped around towards the tree he was hiding behind, that Ichigo realized all too late just what Byakuya must have told her. Wondering if he would be able to outrun her in their respective costumes, he started to take a step back towards his house, only to register a hand clapping down on his wrist with an iron grip, before being pulled out from behind the sheltering trunk of the great oak, and into the all too prominent position of the center of the group.
There was a moment of stunned silence that, to Ichigo, felt like a suffocating curtain.
Ishida pushed his glasses upwards. "Kurosaki… exactly what are you wearing?"
Unintelligible muttering come from the thin, green-topped, triangular shaped, orange figure that the assorted forms had gathered around.
Tatsuki leaned back to get a better look. "Are you a--"
"Carrot?" The giant, gloved hands balled themselves into fists. "Yes… I. Am. A. Freaking. CARROT!"
Inoue's hands came up to cover her mouth as the corners of her eyes crinkled upwards, while Ishida twisted his head to the side, glasses glinting in the moonlight, in an attempt to hide the smile that was spreading across his face. Tatsuki was staring at him disbelievingly, seemingly torn between the urge to question his sanity and burst out in laughter. Even Chad's usually expressionless face was twitching in bewildered amusement. Worse yet, Byakuya was openly smirking at Ichigo's obvious discomfort.
A snigger from Renji's direction broke the tense silence surrounding the group of friends, and the sound of their raucous laughter filled the night air. Ichigo stood at the center of it all, humiliation rising by the second, face turning red enough to blend in with his costume.
Renji clutched his stomach as he gasped for breath. "What the hell ya dressed up like that for? Ya feelin' alright?"
"I DIDN'T CHOOSE THIS DAMN COSTUME!" Ichigo tossed his plastic pumpkin bucket at Renji's head and pointed at Rukia. "THAT RABBIT FROM HELL FORCED ME INTO THIS!"
Rukia shrugged unrepentantly. "I just wanted the two of us to match!"
"I offered to be a magician! Hell, I even offered to be another rabbit! But nooo, I just had to be a freaking CARROT!" He rounded on the rest of the group. "This isn't funny!"
Tatsuki was now doubled over in laughter, tears of mirth forming at the corners of her eyes, but she was nothing compared to Renji, who had collapsed onto his hands and knees, fists pounding the ground in hilarity. Inoue had her face buried in Ishida's sleeve, shoulders shaking, unable to look up at Ichigo without bursting into a new round of giggles, while Ishida was leaning against a nearby tree, gasping for breath between each peal of laughter, struggling to regain his composure. Deep chuckles could be heard from Chad's direction as he distanced himself from Ichigo, trying to lessen some of his friend's humiliation by not laughing directly into his face. Even Byakuya's sharp canines glistened in the moonlight as his lips drew back to reveal a smile of amusement at the predicament his ingenious sister had put the orange-haired brat into.
Glaring at the white ball of fluff on the back of Rukia's Chappy suit, Ichigo decided that he had had enough. He had only agreed to participate in the childish act of trick or treating because of Rukia's childish excitement. He had only tried on numerous amounts of costumes because of her purple puppy-dog eyes. He had been forced to buy this ludicrous costume of a carrot, and had been forced to put it on and show it to the rest of the world, but damn it! He was not going to be forced to stay here and be ridiculed to within an inch of his life.
The sound of his white cartoon gloves hitting the ground cut across the uproarious laughter, and heads turned to watch him struggle out of the ridiculous orange suit and toss it on top of the gloves. Without a word or even a glance at anyone, Ichigo turned and strode off into the darkness.
An uncomfortable silence fell over the previously lively group, broken by Rukia's cry.
Thrusting her bucket into Renji's hands, she took off after Ichigo's retreating back, moving at an amazing speed despite being in a bunny suit. Catching up to where he had stopped when she had called out his name, she reached out to touch his arm.
"Where are you going?"
"Home," was the terse reply as he moved his arm from out under her hand, face turned away from her.
"I said NO!" He turned around to glare furiously at her. "I agreed to go trick or treating because you asked me to. I agreed to get a costume because you asked me to. I even bought and wore that damn carrot suit because you wanted me to, but there is only so much ridicule that a guy can take before snapping. There are boundaries, Rukia… boundaries that you overstepped."
Turning around, his words drifted towards her from over his shoulder. "I'm going home, and this time, you don't get a say in what I do."
Watching Ichigo walk away from her, Rukia didn't notice that the rest of the group had joined her until Renji laid a hand on her shoulder.
"He's mad at me…" She looked up at Renji. "I've never seen him so mad before…"
Her voice trembled as she turned to look down the path Ichigo had walked away on. "He's mad at me… "
When she turned back towards the group, they were shocked to see the tears pooling in her eyes. Byakuya's face darkened as he took a step in the direction of Ichigo's house.
Renji rushed to stand in front of him and put a placating hand on his chest. "Oy, oy, oy! Killin' him ain't gonna solve anything!"
Glancing back at Rukia who was now crying into Inoue's shoulder, Byakuya gently gripped Renji's hand and lowered it. Letting go, he shunpoed off after Ichigo, but not before giving the red head's hand a light squeeze.
Shaking his head at Byakuya's protectiveness, Renji knelt down next to Rukia as Ishida handed her a handkerchief.
"Want me to beat the stuffin' outta that idiot for ya?"
Drying her eyes, Rukia let out a weak chuckle. "No, it was my fault this time. I have to go apologize to him."
"Good, but ya might wanna hurry up and do that before your brother cuts him into tiny little pieces."
Grinning at her suddenly wide eyes, Renji helped her up and turned to the rest of the group. "You guys go on ahead, we'll catch up to you when this mess gets sorted out."
When the two of them arrived at Ichigo's house, Byakuya's impassive voice could be heard from the open window.
"—will apologize to her."
"Yeah?" The challenge in Ichigo's voice was clear. "Make me."
Shunpoing in to stand behind his captain, Renji's arm reached over Byakuya's shoulder and plucked the gikongan out of his hand. His other arm snaked around Byakuya's waist as he lowered his mouth to the noble's ear.
"Rukia wants to talk to Ichigo alone, which means you and I gotta go outside." And without giving the slightly shorter man any time to respond, he shunpoed them outside and settled down to wait for the quarreling couple to make amends.
The tension within grew with every second, each piercing tick of the clock resounded loudly around the increasingly suffocating room. Ichigo stood with his back to Rukia, arms crossed, as she fidgeted behind him, opening and closing her mouth, unsure of where to start.
Letting out a heavy sigh of frustration, she marched around him, towards the closet. Pulling it open, she rummaged around before pulling out a bundle and throwing it towards Ichigo.
"Just open it."
"I'll explain after you open it."
Scowling, he slowly opened the package, only to be faced with the magician costume he had been originally eyeing. Confused eyes slowly rose up to fix themselves on the top of Rukia's lowered head, as she scuffed the floor with a booted furry foot.
"The carrot costume was only ever supposed to be a joke. I didn't think you'd actually go through with it. Never thought that you would be willing to go through all that… just for me. I kept on expecting you to refuse any moment, and so I bought that costume for when you'd finally throw the other one into the trash."
Lips trembling slightly, she kept her eyes trained on Ichigo's knees, unable to look him directly in the eyes.
"Then stop standing there like an idiot and help me put on this costume."
Round purple eyes flew up to lock onto the once again warm, honey-colored ones.
"If we don't hurry and catch up to the rest of the group, they'll clean out the whole neighborhood without leaving us any of that candy you've been looking forward to for the past couple weeks."
"Ah! Hayaku! Hayaku!"
"Ow! My arm does not twist that way! Besides, that's not where it's supposed to go."
"It says to put it on there!"
"Pictures aren't really the best instruct--"
Choking sounds could be heard by the two figures standing outside the window.
"What are you trying to do? Strangle me?!?"
"Then you put it on yourself!"
"Fine! I will, boke!"
Renji's panicked yell broke the bickering couple out of their glaring contest. "Byakuya! N--"
"ARGH! CHERRY BLOSSOM WIELDING VAMPIRE FROM HELL! SOMEONE CALL HIM OFF!"
Standing side by side in their respective costumes, holding similar orange baskets, Renji and Rukia watched as their counterparts ran away in a whirl of cloaks, an occasional flash of pink showing them where the two had disappeared off to. Renji pushed back his hat and scratched his head.
"Maa… That's gonna take 'em a while…"
The two childhood friends turned to look at each other.
Ichigo and Kon: I am going to KILL you! (looks at each other, turns back to me) Killing you isn't even enough!
Me: (buries Kon under pile of textbooks, then addresses Ichigo) Now, now... I'm sure that at least one person thought you looked cute in it (side glance at Rukia)
Ichigo: One, I don't do cute. Two, even if I did do cute, I wouldn't want to be judged by her definitions of cuteness. That's just nightmare-worthy (shudders)
Rukia: Bakudo #1, Sai! (proceeds to draw pictures of Chappy eating a carrot on Ichigo's face)
Ichigo: Not again! I swear, when I get out of this, I'll--
Byakuya: You'll do what exactly, Kurosaki Ichigo?
Me: Byakuya! The yummiest character in this fic! You made quite a delicious vampire!
Byakuya: ..... Chire, Senbonzakura.
Me: (runs) Not fair! I was just giving you a compliment! Renji, tell him!
Renji: She's right, you did look quite... (licks lips) delectable... in that outfit. (Gives him heated look) I couldn't wait to get you back into the bedroom that night
Byakuya: (has been successfully distracted)
Me: (dabbing at some of the cuts with a handkerchief as she turns towards readers) Anyways, I submitted this a couple hours late for Halloween, but I hope you all had as much fun reading it as I had fun writing it. Was actually cracking up as I wrote it, I think my roommate might think that I'm a bit crazy because I had this insane grin on my face the whole time. Oops... oh well!
Inspiration for Byakuya's costume can be seen in my profile, under information about Halloween Humiliation. Rukia's costume choice is obvious, and I wanted Ichigo's costume to be something that matched and the idea of carrot popped into my head. Humiliating him was just an added benefit. I wanted Ishida's costume to be something semi-related to his being a Quincy, and of course it had to match up with Orihime's, thus the priest costume. Chad and Tatsuki's are relatively self-explanatory, and don't ask about Kon being turned into a trick or treat basket, I get some really random ideas sometimes. Renji's costume was actually something I stumbled upon when looking for ideas for Ishida's costume. The second I saw it, I just knew that it was going to be his. Link to picture can also be found in my profile.
So what are your thoughts? This was my first time writing anything having to do with any of these pairings, so your comments will be very much appreciated and loved.