For the purposes of this story, Ichigo is 21 years old and attending university. He lives with Rukia, who also attends with him. Most of his high-school friends attend too. They all currently live in Tokyo.

"Come on Ichigo, don't be such a wuss."

Ichigo glared at the speaker, his co-called friend Tatsuki and replied with annoyance. "I don't see why I have to lose my shirt just to play a game of basketball."

The red haired man standing behind Tatsuki guffawed. "You're a friggin' prude Ichigo."

The prude in question scowled at Renji as Tatsuki replied. "Because we're the shirtless team Ichigo." Tatsuki was wearing a black training bra and had received a few wolf whistles from the male spectatorsas she had taken off her shirt. Renji had received the same reaction from the female half of the spectators when he had taken off his shirt, revealing his extensive tattoos. They were set to play the seniors basketball team, but were one player short. This had led them to the current situation of bugging Ichigo to join their team.

Tatsuki's eyes narrowed evilly as she thought of a sure-fire way to get Ichigo to play. She nodded at Ichigo. "I understand that you don't want to help your friends." As Ichigo grumbled that that wasn't the case, Tatsuki turned to Rukia, who was sitting on the grandstand benches next to the carrot-top.

"Rukia-kun, how would you feel about playing with us?"

Ichigo paled quickly as she nodded her acceptance, as he knew from first-hand experience this morning that Rukia was wearing a revealing, lacy black bra that did nothing to hide her attribute. He got up quickly, pushing Rukia back onto the bench as he did.

"I'll play the stupid game." He snapped at Tatsuki. He failed to see the smirk that passed between her and Rukia.

Failing to notice that a number of the women in the gym were looking on in interest as he shed his shirt, Ichigo didn't fail to hear the collective gasp that ran around the groups nearest to his when he ditched his shirt completely. Their eyes were drawn to the numerous and criss-crossed scars that ran across Ichigo's torso. A few people noted that a lot of them looked like sword or knife wounds. As Ichigo began to feel self-conscious, Tatsuki attempted to get the game going.

The seniors team was headed by a big guy who bleached his hair and like to boast about the fact that he had achieved a black belt in some obscure type of martial arts. The other two guys on the seniors team were little better, ill-mannered brutes who were skilled in physical activity but lacked the knowledge required to interact in a social environment. The captain of the seniors team, Ooshima, made a comment to his cronies that everyone on the court overheard. "Hey Jyuu, Hirato, I told you she was flat like a boy."

Tatsuki blushed crimson and looked down as the thug's sycophants laughed dutifully, too embarrassed in front of all these people to respond. Her heart lifted when she, and everyone else who had heard Ooshima's comment, clearly heard Renji's reply.

"Asshole, I'm so gonna pound you."

Ooshima was spared the mental exertion of having to come up with a witty retort as the ref called for the jump.

"Ready to jump, game is first to five. Buckets are worth one point, three's are worth two"

Renji lined up against Ooshima…the ball was thrown into the air and both men jumped, Ooshima's face having an unfortunate (and entirely accidental) collision with Renji's elbow.

Renji tapped the ball to Ichigo, who dribbled it down the court, dodging Jyuu and drawing Hirato away from Tatsuki before bounce-passing the ball to her. She went for the lay-up, and watched the ball roll around the rim of the basket for a few agonizing seconds before dropping in. Score: 1-0.

Jyuu took the ball to the baseline, and passed it immediately to Ooshima, despite the fact that Hirato was in a better position. Ooshima then charged down the court with Renji in his face, sticking to him like glue and taking every opportunity to 'help' him trip. When Ooshima realized he was stuck, he deigned to pass the ball back to Jyuu—only to have it intercepted by Tatsuki, who dribbled it effortlessly back down the court for another lay-up. Score: 2-0.

Once again, Jyuu passed the ball in from the baseline, but did the smart thing this time, passing it to Hirato. He managed to get past Tatsuki, only to find himself stopped by Ichigo at the three point line at the other end of the court. He attempted to dribble around him several times, before giving up and throwing a haymaker three point shot. To the shock of everyone watching, it went straight in. Swish. Score: 2-2.

Renji took the inbound, passing the ball straight to Tatsuki, who passed it right back as Renji stepped onto the court. Both Jyuu and Ooshima charged at Renji, hoping to knock him over the baseline, only to see the ball soar over their heads and into Ichigo's waiting hands. Hirato was waiting as Ichigo turned and flew up the court, and defended long enough to allow Jyuu to catch up and help. Ooshima was having difficulties getting past Renji. Tatsuki and Ichigo began passing the ball back and forth, teasing their opponents with their inability to steal the ball. Renji finally gave up taunting Ooshima and sped down the court, receiving the ball on the three point line and mimicking the shot taken by Hirato. It hit the rim, bounced once, twice, before falling through the net with a satisfying sound. Score: 4-2.

Hirato took the inbound this time, passing to Jyuu, who managed to catch the ball before it fell into Tatsuki's waiting fingers. Hirato ran down the court, managing to avoid a near steal by Ichigo, before stepping behind Tatsuki and taking a shot from the free throw line. Straight in. Score: 4-3.

Renji took the ball from the base, bouncing the ball in front of him and taking it up the court himself. He was running quite a bit faster then necessary—and he was heading straight for Ooshima. Renji negligently passed the ball to Ichigo before tucking his chin into his shoulder and crashing into Ooshima, knocking him off his feet, whereupon his head made its introduction to the polished wooden floor. Renji couldn't hold back a reckless grin, and there were even a few cheers from around the now crowded gym.

Further up the court, Ichigo was still charging towards the basket, and he could see Tatsuki running at his side, keeping Hirato and Jyuu away from him. Almost effortlessly, Ichigo took a step up into the air and let the ball slip out of his grip into the basket. Ichigo grinned as he scored the winning point. He gave Tatsuki a high-five and clapped Renji on the back in celebration. His eyes nearly popped out of his head along with Renji's as they turned and realized that nearly every female junior and quite a few seniors, had turned out when they had head that the two hottest guys in the university were playing shirtless in the gym. Rukia walked over to Ichigo—it wasn't quite a strut, but it wasn't a normal walk either—and wormed her way in between his arm and body. Upon seeing this, most—but not all—female eyes in the building turned to Renji, only to witness Tatsuki slide an arm somewhat possessively around his waist. She was also (pleasantly) surprised to realise that Renji had wrapped an arm around her shoulder at the same moment. The disappointment in the air was almost tangible.

The four of them left the gym victoriously, two couples. Tatsuki whispered something to Renji when she spotted an empty classroom, complete with curtains, something Ichigo was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to overhear. Renji glanced at Ichigo, blushing slightly, only to scowl as Ichigo grinned at him. That was when Rukia noticed that there was a second empty classroom. With a determination that belied her stature, she literally dragged Ichigo into the room, while Tatsuki did the same to Renji. The two men could only grin helplessly at each other—not that they in any way had objections to what was about to occur.