A/N: I'm only posting the first chapter tonight, just to see how much of a response I get (not just reviews, either). I'll post the next chapter tomorrow, most likely. I hope you enjoy, and this will be so much pure, utter crack that you'll likely drown in it, and there will be more OOC moments than you can shake a stick at. I've spelled Grimmjow a couple of different ways, and Szayzel instead of Szayel. If it bothers you, I'm sorry. I like them this way, lol. Also, I'm starting this with a 'T' rating, but let me know if you think it deserves more. Actually, with the next chapter, I'm sure it will. I don't recall anything this chapter, though. So, if M-rated fics bother you, I wouldn't read this. There's nothing explicit, but, you know...

Please Enjoy Seireitei Guys & Dolls!! If you like it, or have suggestions/critisism, I'd love to have you let me know in a review! Many thanks!
-Rachel Noelle

In which Gin plays matchmaker, Ulquiorra goes to school, Ichigo makes a new friend, Rukia finds a seat, and Grimmjow plays make-believe.


In Hueco Mundo, a silver haired man sat upon a stool, observing the screens and videos of Soul Society and the Living World. He had one screen trained on two people in particular, and decided that since he could no longer be with the woman, and the kid needed to loosen up some, anyway, the kid should be with her.

Gin retreated into Aizen's personal chambers, calling out as he approached the door. "Aizen taicho, I wa' jus' thinkin'. I'm bored, and I wanna borrow your quatro Espada. Don' worry, I'll brin' him back in one piece," Gin promised.

Aizen, who happened to be distracted in his own little world inside his head, mumbled something in the affirmative, essentially telling Gin to do what he wanted as long as he didn't kill anyone. At least, no killing yet. Gin skipped down the hall, grinning like the madman he is, to find Ulquiorra. Was he going to be in for a surprise or what?

Ulquiorra, having sneezed a fair few times in a row, knew something terrible was about to happen to him. He tried in vain to hide out behind Orihime, but, alas, since her shield only protects from one side, Gin simply stepped around it.

"Don' worry, Orihime-chan. I'll brin' your lov'r back in one piece. Besi'es, I thin' Aizen-sama wants to adop' him or sum'tin. Wants to be able ta call that baby yer gonna have his gran-kid," Gin smiled brightly, trying to assure Orihime that Ulquiorra was not in for anything terrible.

"But, we're not lovers, and I'm not pregnant," Orihime responded, very confusedly.

"Oh, tha's right. Well, it'll happ'n soon," Gin corrected himself. No one ever seemed to believe him when he predicted the future, but, then again, he never had predicted the future before. "Come on, Ulquiorra-san, I got a mission for ya." Gin dragged Ulquiorra from Orihime's room, and in his haste to insure her safety, and completely distraught from the thought of one of Gin-sama's missions, Ulquiorra appointed Grimmjaw to care for her.

Ulquiorra, still being dragged by Gin, and Gin, of course, since he was dragging Ulquiorra, arrived in the monitor room moments later. "Alrigh', Ulquiorra, here's wha' yer gonna do..." Gin pointed to a couple of people on a screen, sitting in an office, one, doing what looked to be paperwork, the other lounging on a sofa. Ulquiorra cast up a silent prayer as he prepared himself mentally for Gin's 'mission'.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

About two weeks later, in the main office of the tenth division...

"Matsumoto, are you ready yet? We have to go meet the new recruits," a grumpy Hitsugaya said to his fukutaicho as she stood in front of a mirror in their office, primping.

"Almost, Taicho. I have to work to look this pretty, you know? I know you would love me no matter how I look, but it isn't just about the boobs," Matsumoto admonished her taicho, whose eyes grew wide and blushed deeply.

"Matsu- I mean- what are- how do- why would-" he stuttered out, embarrassed.

Matsumoto turned to face him, leaning her face very close to his. "Just because you look too young for puberty doesn't mean you are. You're just short, and we both know it," just as she was about to prove her point by grabbing Hitsugaya by the haori collar and doing something to him that would have made him close the office for the day, or maybe a few (explaining the idea of age in Soul Society, pervs), a knock sounded sharply on the door. Takezoe let himself into the office, carrying a corsage and a boutonnière.

"What the hell are those for?" Hitsugaya asked, still fighting the blush and in a rather fowl mood from the interruption. "We didn't order flowers, did we? And we've certainly never used them before."

"Ne, Taicho, of course not. These are invitations sent from Yamamoto Soutaicho to invite you two to participate in the 'Seireitei Guys and Dolls' competition. He said he thought you stood a wonderful chance of winning the couple's competition. Actually, he figures the two of you could walk away with it all..." Takezoe answered.

"I'm not entering some stupid competition. We can't enter anyway because we're not a couple," Hitsugaya replied, crossing his arms and scowling deeply.

"You're not?" Takezoe replied, looking dumbfounded. "Since when?"

"We've never been a couple," Matsumoto explained. Hitsugaya looked saddened but Matsumoto didn't notice.

Takezoe procured a letter from his robes and handed it to Hitsugaya and Matsumoto, a very nervous and apologetic look on his face. Matsumoto took it and read through the letter, which bore the official seal of the soutaicho, and gasped before she announced the contents.

"We have to enter, Taicho. It's a direct order from Yama-jii. See?" she handed the letter over and Hitsugaya read the contents for himself.

To: Hitsugaya Toshiro taicho and Matsumoto Rangiku fukutaicho.

Re: Seireitei Guys and Dolls Competition

You are hereby ordered to participate in the upcoming "Seireitei Guys and Dolls" competition. You will each be entered into the individual competitions, and will be entering the Couple's competition together. Ukitake taicho has been assigned to be your routine instructor, as he is in too ill health to partake in unnecessary competitions at this time. I wish you the best of luck. Official rules and regulations are enclosed. Please read them thoroughly before the first meeting tonight at 7:00 pm.

Signed, Yamamoto Soutaicho

Finding no other words for their current situation, Takezoe summed it up nicely. "Well, that just sucks."

Hitsugaya wanted to bang his head against a wall, but knew he and Matsumoto had no choice in the matter. Matsumoto, though wishing she could castrate Yama-jii for forcing her cute little taicho into something against his will like this – that was her job, forcing him into situations against his will – decided to make light of the situation. "I wonder who the other couples will be?"

Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, and Takezoe discussed the possibilities as they went to greet their new division members from the academy.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

Meanwhile, at the academy...

"Schiffer, Ulquiorra," called a voice from the front of the great hall. Ulquiorra grudgingly made his way to the front of the crowd. Luckily, Gin had pulled enough strings (it seemed no one had informed the Academy Headmaster that Gin was actually the enemy) that Ulquiorra didn't actually have to go through the Academy training, he simply got to graduate and be assigned to a squad. How he managed Ulquiorra didn't want to know, but he had a sneaking suspicion that Gin agreed to some sort of sexual favors to the headmaster. She may have been smart and powerful, but she looked enough like a man that it made Ulquiorra's stomach sick. That and the thought of Gin and sex in the same sentence.

A small man stepped forward to Ulquiorra as he approached and handed him a letter. It bore only his name on the outside of it, and the official school seal on the back. He ripped it open, working very hard to pretend he was actually excited about the prospect of being assigned to a division. Tenth division, of course, just as Gin-sama decided it should be. Stupid Gin, trying to play matchmaker.

Ulquiorra made his way into the courtyard, finding the section with, strangely, the most men and women in it, to stand with. He introduced himself, grudgingly, to a few of the others waiting there.

After a torturous time waiting for the leaders of his new division to show, the crowd around him finally parted to reveal the reason everyone in the immediate vicinity seemed to be rubbing blood from their noses. Matsumoto, spotting Ulquiorra for his features, immediately walked up to him. Suddenly, he knew this had been a bad idea. Gin was wrong; he'd never make it home to Orihime. Even if they weren't lovers yet, he still missed her. And now, because he was obviously an Arrancar they'd fought they would kill him right here, right now. And he had no chance of escape, not with this many people around.

"Do I know you?" Matsumoto asked, recognizing something familiar about Ulquiorra. "Taicho," she called, "do we know him?"

"I dunno. What's your name?" Hitsugaya asked.

"Schiffer, Ulquiorra Schiffer."

"Hmm... yeah, I think we do know him, Matsumoto. But, how did you end up here?"

"I was, uh..." Ulquiorra tried to think quickly. Why would he be in Soul Society, anyway? Then, he remembered Gin's explanation, "I was reincarnated and thanks to my great abilities, which I never lost, I graduated the academy in just under two weeks."

"Oh, well," Matsumoto shrugged. "I guess that sounds fair. I mean, if you ended up at the academy, anyway... Welcome to the Tenth!!" she finished, singing her welcome loudly.

A random male in the surrounding crowd was heard fussing, "Oh, great. The freak and the shrimp get all of her attention. The only reason I preffed for this division..."

"Jeeze, who pissed in your post toasties this morning?" Ulquiorra retorted, "You trash. I don't want her attention; I have the attention of a female back home, thanks. If only I could see her..." Ulquiorra trailed off, sighing sadly.

Matsumoto and Hitsugaya shared a look of confusion before shrugging to one another and deciding to lead their recruits to the barracks.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

Returning to Hueco Mundo…

Gin sat, yet again, in front of the monitors in Hueco Mundo. He was scoping out the competition for the Seireitei Guys and Dolls competition, trying to decide the chance that Hitsugaya and Matsumoto had to win it all. So far, unless Byakuya took home a lot of votes for the individual men's, the only competition they stood was from Zaraki and Unohana in the couple's competition. He observed Ulquiorra as he pretended to be training for the seating competition to be held the next day within each division.

oOoOo

Grimmjaw walked down the halls of Hueco Mundo, looking for the little Arrancar girl that used to be the very beautiful, very powerful Neliel Tu Oderschvank. Somehow he and Orihime managed to loose her in the halls while playing hide and seek. He still wasn't sure that Orihime actually convinced him to play hide and seek. At least it was better than playing princesses with the two, he guessed. Though, when he thought about it, he'd never played anything with them before. Maybe he could convince them to play something more masculine, like Cops and Robbers or Army.

So lost in thought was he that he ran smack into Orihime and Szayzel. Orihime, at least, did not look frightened by Szayzel, but intrigued. Grimmjaw approached them to see what their discussion was about.

"So, basically, if you will consent, I can clone you. Only some things will be a bit different, like your hair color may be lighter or darker, and your personality will reflect what is currently a random meek trait as the strongest, though everything else remains the same. Your clone should have the same powers as you, and be just as obnoxiously bubbly and outgoing as you are. Though I think I can fix the issue of the taste in food. And, furthermore, since there will be two of you, you can have Ulquiorra-san while she gets Grimmjaw-san, or vice versa," Szayzel explained. "It will take about three days to complete, and Ulquiorra should have returned by then. What do you say?"

Orihime thought seriously about it, then, realizing she should ask Grimmjaw if he would date a clone of herself, turned to him for his opinion. "What do you think, Grimmjaw-sama? I could date Ulquiorra and you at the same time. Would you date a clone of me?" she asked, putting a finger to her lips in a questioning sort of stance.

Grimmjaw thought it over for a few minutes. He could dig dating Orihime. And it would be nice not to have to worry about treading on Ulquiorra's toes where his precious Pet-sama was concerned. Yes, if there were two Orihime's, they could both have one... "Sure, so long as you make the new you's boobs bigger. I want 'em as big as that hot chick that Ulquiorra's hanging out with in Seireitei right now. Yours are pretty big already, so it shouldn't take much work, right?"

Szayzel slapped Grimmjaw across the face. "How could you say something so insulting to my client? I shall modify Orihime-san's body only in whatever way she sees fit."

Orihime answered immediately. "Go ahead, Szayzel-sama. If Grimmjaw wants bigger boobs on my clone, then go ahead. He'll be the one dating her, right? I mean me, I mean... who do I mean?"

"Okay then. I'll need to have you come to my lab as soon as you find the little girl," Szayzel said as he walked off.

Grimmjaw and Orihime set out together, still looking for Nel. They found her curled up in a corner, sleeping. The trio headed back to Orihime's room, dropping Orihime off at Szayzel's lab along the way. Grimmjaw just made it inside Orihime's room, Nel still sleeping in his arms. As soon as he lay her on the sofa she woke up.

"Grimmy-kun!" she yelled the moment she recognized the face of the man towering above her. He groaned to himself, dreading what would undoubtedly come next. "Grimmy-kun, let's play a game!"

Grimmjaw sighed heavily, "Fine, what do you want to play?"

"Let's play pretend! How about Princesses?" Nel decided excitedly.

"I have a better idea," Grimmjaw tried, "Let's play cops and robbers. I'll be the robber, and you can be the cop. You have to chase me around and try to catch me because I'm pretending I stole something from you, okay?" Nel contemplated this and decided it was to her liking.

The pair spent the rest of the afternoon playing Cops and Robbers, waiting for Orihime to return.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

In the Living World...

"Ichigo, why don't we just be friends?" Ichigo, who had been lying on his back trying to change the way his inner world looked, stood straight up, looking cautiously to his hollow.

"I thought you didn't want to be friends? You're always talking about throwing me off my horse and other philosophical shit like that," he responded.

His hollow shrugged, "Well, I was just thinking. Maybe if we could be friends, I could learn to manifest myself outside of this world, and get to see the sights and all. As long as you trust me, you know? And what better way to gain your trust than to become friends? So, what do you say? Will you be my friend and give me a name?" The hollow looked with big, sad, puppy-dog eyes at Ichigo.

Still stunned, but finding no reason not to accept, since the hollow couldn't exactly lie to him, Ichigo agreed. "Sure, why not? I think we'll name you Ikasoruk Ogihci. That's my name, just backward. Since you're part of me and all..."

The hollow was unhappy about that. The name was long and hard to pronounce. "Why can't I be something simple, like Kurosaki Fred or Kurosaki John? I know, what about Kurosaki Kaien, after that one kid Rukia liked so much? Maybe she'd like me better… She's pretty hot, you know?"

"I know. I mean –urgh," Ichigo growled out, "I dunno if she'd appreciate me naming my hollow after her precious Kaien-dono. How about something simple, like Shiro? Or we could really piss off Toshiro and call you Toshiro, too," Ichigo suggested.

"Hmm... I like Shiro. But, what about Kurosaki Nube?"

Ichigo looked to his hollow in disgust, "Nube? Seriously? Isn't that Spanish for 'cloud' or something? You want to be all soft and fluffy?" Ichigo kind of lost it for a bit, and he laughed long and hard at the hollow's suggestion.

"Well, I could be compared to a cloud. I am white," the hollow pouted. "I could be soft and fluffy."

Ichigo regained his composure, "Alright, alright. You can be Kurosaki Nube. But I'm just going to call you Shiro, dude."

And so, it was settled. Ichigo made a new friend, and his hollow gained a name.

oOoOo

It was only moments after leaving his inner world that Rukia appeared in Ichigo's room. In her hand she held the takeout meal from the restaurant down the street. She pulled out a fortune cookie (who knew burger joints gave away fortune cookies) and opened it, eager to read the silly fortune written inside.

"You will find a seat in the very near future," she read aloud, breaking Ichigo from his reverie. When he cast her a funny look she held up the slip of paper in her hand. "Maybe it means I'll finally get an officer's position, and Nii-sama's going to back off for a while."

Ichigo and Rukia sat together to eat, and he told her about his day with his hollow. She smiled happily and congratulated him. After eating she announced her state of boredom and decided that they should go to the park. An unhappy, but not unwilling, Ichigo was dragged out the door by the hand behind her.

And, as luck would have it, they chanced upon an abandoned arm chair just outside the gates of the park. "Well, it wasn't the seat I was hoping for, but it seems to still be in good condition... Let's take it home with us, Ichigo, and clean it up."

Ichigo, not ready to turn around and walk back home after trudging the entire distance to get to the park, sat in the chair instead. "Hmm, it's not bad. In fact, it's kind of comfy. See, try," and with that he pulled Rukia onto his lap. Realizing just what he'd done, and the way things looked to the few other people passing them on the sidewalk, Ichigo and Rukia both blushed.

"Well, Ichigo. I didn't know you could be so forward," Rukia teased, determined to make the best of the moment regardless of the circumstances.

Ichigo, also determined to make some good of this, responded, while wrapping his arms around her waist, "I can be even more forward, if you like." Rukia nodded her shy, affirmative response and Ichigo closed the distance between their two sets of lips. Both being inexperienced (that one kiss with Renji did not count, he swears!) the kiss was sloppy and wet, but neither complained and they practiced together. Near six in the evening, Rukia and Ichigo broke apart from one another as an officer approached them. Fearing they would be getting into trouble, they grabbed their seat and shunpoed as far away as they could.

The officer called after them, and Ichigo thought maybe he should have stuck around after all. "I was just going to say thanks! I won the bet about how long you two could stay there in that chair making out! Five hours! Hell yes!"

Ichigo and Rukia finally brought the chair inside his house, his dad and sisters smirking at the happy looks on both their faces.

"Ah, crap, Ichigo, we have to go to that meeting. It's almost time," Rukia announced. Ichigo's family wished them luck with the competition as they packed their bags and headed off for a month long stay in Seireitei, taking their seat with them.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

Back to Seireitei...

"I'd like to thank each of you for coming tonight," Yamamoto began as a means of opening the meeting, "This is our first annual 'Seireitei Guys and Dolls' competition. All those of taicho and fukutaicho position have been ordered to attend. Any other member of the Thirteen Squads may choose to enter or to not. Next week I will have the list of entrants into the competition posted. Those of you who are entering should know who your routine coach will be. Taichos of the seventh, second, and thirteenth divisions have elected to act as these coaches." Yama-jii carried on, going over the rules and whatnot for the competition.

Ichigo and Rukia sat together holding hands in the back of the room. Beside them sat Matsumoto and Hitsugaya, whom they were conversing with.

"...And then he had the gall to order us to enter the Couple's competition. We're not even a couple," Matsumoto explained exasperated.

"You're not?" replied a stunned Rukia. "Since when?"

Matsumoto looked at her with a blank expression on her face. "Since never, I suppose. We've never been together." Rukia noticed she looked a little saddened by the revelation.

"Wow. That's generally accepted as common knowledge around here, that you and Hitsugaya taicho are an item. Kind of like me and Ichigo. Especially now that it's 'official,' I'm sure," Rukia elaborated.

"Yeah, considering your grumpy, but definitely a fine piece of man-candy, brother has thought for months that you were together and just not telling him," Rukia looked repulsed at thinking of her brother in such a way and Hitsugaya, who was pretending not to listen to the conversation, looked at Matsumoto with hurt written on his face. She didn't notice, but Rukia did.

Rukia leant close to Matsumoto, to whisper in the older woman's ear, "I have a feeling you won't be 'not a couple' for long." Matsumoto's cheeks were suddenly tinged pink.

A small door in the back of the room opened near the table where the four sat, and Ulquiorra appeared in the doorway, seeking his new taicho. He approached their table, garnering a horrified look from Rukia and Ichigo. "It's okay. He's been reincarnated and, since he was able to keep his abilities and all, graduated from the academy in only two weeks. At least it only took me a week and a half," Hitsugaya explained to the couple, adding the last bit in an attempt to bolster his own ego.

"Hitsugaya taicho," Ulquiorra began. He didn't really like it here, but Hitsugaya treated him a hell of a lot better than Aizen. So, he allowed himself to enjoy himself some. "A letter was delivered to the office a short time ago. The messenger demanded it be given to you immediately. I tried to tell the trash that you were in a very important meeting, but he insisted." Ulquiorra bowed in apology, but Hitsugaya waved it off, thankful for the distraction, and accepted the letter.

"Thank you, Ulquiorra," Hitsugaya dismissed the Espada, "If you'll excuse me a moment, I suppose I should take this. I'll be in the washroom if it's an emergency." And, before Matsumoto could object or insist on going with him, he disappeared.

"In conclusion, your squad members will be given until Wednesday morning, 10:00 a.m. to sign up and try out. You're dismissed," Yamamoto finally decreed.

Matsumoto, since her taicho was still gone, took Ulquiorra by the arm as she walked out the door with him, Rukia, and Ichigo. "You all should come back and have some sake with me. I'm sure Renji and Kira and Hisagi will come. I'll even invite Ikkaku and Yumi, too!" Matsumoto extended the invitation to her flat for a night of drinks. "Taicho might even come round, if I can ever find him..."

oOoOo

In the washroom of the first division meeting hall, Hitsugaya opened the letter. Expecting it to be something minor, but grateful for the interruption, he was quite surprised when he opened it and found handwriting very similar to Matsumoto's. He glanced at the letter once, then, in disbelief, had to read it again.

Dear Toshiro,

Meet me at the office Tuesday night at ten. I've made arrangements for dinner and entertainment afterward. ; )

With Love,

Your Secret Admirer

He didn't know if he wanted to know what was going on or not. If it turned out to not be Matsumoto, he'd have a broken heart. But, if he didn't go, he ran the risk of missing Matsumoto, should she be the one behind the note. He just didn't know why it was of such importance that he see the letter immediately. Deciding to go as the letter instructed, he exited the washroom and sneaked back to his flat. He had three days to prepare, and it would likely take all three.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

Again to Hueco Mundo...

Gin sat again in the monitor room, watching as Ulquiorra put the first steps of his plan into action. He promised Orihime that she could see Ulquiorra if this phase of the plan worked out. He expected it to take him using phases two, three, and four to actually get the young taicho to 'grow a pair' (as they say; Gin certainly hoped Hitsugaya did, indeed, have a pair already) and ask the older woman for a relationship, but he could hope, couldn't he, that it would only need phase one. Hell, if everything went really right, she'd be begging him to get married soon.

"Gin-sama," Szayzel interrupted him, "I apologize for the interruption, but I have come to inform you that stage one of the plan to clone Orihime-san has been a success."

"Ah, thank ya, thank ya," Gin replied. "Yare, ever'thin' is workin' out qui'e well, isn't it?" Szayzel nodded in agreement, not caring what he was agreeing to, but sure that was the best plan of action. Gin stood from his seat, calling out as he headed for the door, "I'm gonna go play wit' Orihime-chan and Nel-chan now. Wanna come?"

Szayzel, remembering the results of the earlier events of the day with Nel involved declined and sought refuge inside his lab.

Until the wee hours of the night Gin, Nel, Orihime, and Grimmjaw played board games. After Nel fell asleep they even chanced a game of strip poker between the older three. Orihime won every round and sat, fully clothed, giggling and blushing madly at the two men sitting naked in front of her. She laughed even harder when the two tried to explain that it was 'just cold out.' Never mind the fact that the room sat at a comfy 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

oOoOo—RN—oOoOo

Back in Seireitei...

Matsumoto stood on the floor beside a chair in the corner of her living room. Ulquiorra sat on the chair, crying rivers of tears. She leaned down to him, embracing him tightly. "There, there," she cooed, "It's okay. Let it all out, you can cry on me." Hitsugaya cast a brief and jealousy induced glare at the crying Arrancar.

Ulquiorra sniffled loudly and Rukia handed him a tissue. "It's okay, Ulquiorra-sama. Kira-kun hits on all the cute guys. He hits on Ichigo at least once a week, and Yumichika is the unwilling recipient of his advances at least every other day. He hits on the girls, too. He hit on me once, but then he saw that I was with Nii-sama, and he's been hitting on him instead ever since. But, Hinamori tells me he hits on her quite often, even if it is just for appearances," Rukia tried to help soothe the quatro Espada.

"Oh, hey Shiro!" Rukia called. Amazingly, the hollow had learned to manifest himself in only a few short hours and was now enjoying the party currently in progress in Matsumoto's flat. The only restraint seemed to be that he couldn't venture more than roughly fifty feet from Ichigo.

Hitsugaya glared at Rukia briefly, about to write her up for insubordination for calling him Shiro, but realized almost at the same instant that she wasn't talking to him. Why he let Matsumoto drag him there he would not admit.

"Yeah, Rukia?" Shiro called back. She was the first to accept him, and he quite liked her. His master had chosen a good partner, indeed.

"Could you bring me some more tissues, I think we're going to need them," she called before turning back to Ulquiorra.

Ulquiorra sniveled again, "It's not just that. I just miss Orihime so much, and then he had to go and rub it in my face that I can't be with her. Even if he was just trying to pick me up. He didn't have to make it clear that I couldn't go home to her yet."

"Would you like to smash your face in my boobs? It'll feel like hers, I'm sure. Taicho loves to; it always makes him feel better," Matsumoto offered. Hitsugaya heard and admonished her from across the room.

"Matsumoto! I do- I do not!" he stuttered, trying not to admit to anything of the sort tonight.

"He does, too. Ah, I can only imagine the fun we could have if he would admit it," Matsumoto sighed.

"Don't worry, Rangiku-san, I'm sure he'll come around before long," Ulquiorra assured her through his own tears.

"Oh, thanks, Ulquiorra-san. But, I'm supposed to be comforting you."

Shiro approached the small cluster of women and Ulquiorra with the box of tissues. "Why would he be coming around? Aren't you two together?"

"We're not a couple," Matsumoto decreed, saddened by the ultimate finality of saying or hearing those words three times that day.

"You're not?" Shiro exclaimed, "Since when?"

"We've never been a couple," Matsumoto got the smallest hint of sadness in her eyes.

"Well, that just sucks. Yeah, I'm with Ulqui-san here. He'll come around soon then," Shiro comforted the woman, who smiled brightly and kissed his cheek in thanks. Again, Hitsugaya shot a jealous glare to someone in the room.

And so, the party continued into the night. Ulquiorra calmed down after a few shots of sake, Kira was thrown out for picking on a member of the tenth division at a tenth division hosted party, and although Hitsugaya swears he went to sleep in his own bed, he somehow woke up in Matsumoto's. Thankfully, both were still fully clothed, and even on opposite edges of the bed. He made his escape before Matsumoto woke up, and she acted none-the-wiser.