Wind ruffled Ichigo's hair as he walked out onto the school roof. He shoved his hands into his pockets to hide his nervousness as he crossed over to where the rest of his friends were waiting. Apparently he was the last one to arrive. Ichigo dropped to sit against the fence next to his boyfriend. Chad, to his credit, looked the same as normal, like this was just a regular gathering of their friends.
"What the hell are you up to, Kurosaki?" Ishida grumbled, though the anger in his tone was obviously feigned. "You wanted us all up here, and then you show up late."
Ichigo sighed and stared down at the pavement. "Sorry. Heiji-sensei stopped me in the hall." They'd practiced this, but now that he was finally here, he found himself unsure how to start. Ichigo shifted. Chad's hand landed on the cement next to him, not quite touching. He wanted to reach down, but he wasn't sure how the others would take it. "Umm..." He glanced around at the assorted faces of his friends, their expressions ranging from interest to impatience. Chad was smiling at him, offering silent encouragement.
"So, I..." His gaze shifted to Chad. "We," he corrected, "have something to tell you all."
"There's more Hollows?" Ishida asked.
"You've fallen off the honor roll," Keigo said with a hopeful look.
"You inherited a lifetime supply of jam." They all turned to look at Orihime. She pouted slightly. "No?"
Ichigo blushed. "No. Chad... I mean, Chad and I are..."
"Dating," Chad finished for him.
Ichigo dropped his hand down to rest on top of Chad's. "Yeah."
There was a long moment of silence. Ishida had paled, Keigo looked slightly disappointed, Mizuiro unsurprised, and the girls, as one, looked... curious. The glint in Rukia's eyes scared him slightly.
"Really?" Rukia asked, drawling the word out.
He nodded. "Yeah."
Tatsuki crossed her arms. She looked slightly relieved, though he couldn't guess why. "How long?"
Ichigo mentally calculated. "About three months?" He looked towards Chad for confirmation and then hastily ducked as Tatsuki threw her juice box at him. It bounced off the chain fence and tumbled along the cement away from their group.
"And you didn't tell us!?"
Ichigo winced. "Sorry."
"We didn't tell anyone until recently," Chad added.
Orihime leaned forward. "Is it because of the space aliens? Is that why you didn't say anything?"
Ichigo coughed. "No. We just... wanted to make sure." Chad's fingers curled around his own, and he knew he'd said the right thing.
He breathed a soft sigh of relief and relaxed against Chad's shoulder. He'd been worried, ever since they'd made the decision to tell people, that they'd lose friends over it. Apparently, he had been worried for nothing. He should have known better. They were his friends for a reason, after all. He wasn't worried about the rest of the school finding out. Teachers already gave him hell, so one more reason to single him out wouldn't really add to anything, and the other students knew better than to pick a fight with Chad or Ichigo separately, let alone when they were together.
Seconds later, it was like a dam broke and they were flooded with questions.
"How'd you two get together?"
"What's it like to make out with another guy?"
"Chad, you know, you could have done so much better." Ichigo shot Ishida a glare for that comment, and felt slightly relieved as Chad's hand tightened against his own.
Mizuiro looked at them speculatively. "So, who's the bottom?"
Ichigo spluttered slightly. The rest of their friends looked between Chad and Ichigo, then answered in union. "Ichigo."
He groaned and buried his face against Chad's arm. His face was probably as red as his hair.
Chad released Ichigo's hand and wrapped his arm around Ichigo, drawing him closer. The girls cooed. He was pretty sure Keigo was the one making mock-gagging sounds.
"You two are far too cute," Rukia sighed. Ichigo wondered how many people in the Soul Society were going to hear about his relationship.
"You should kiss," Orihime suggested suddenly.
Ichigo stared at her. Tatsuki and Rukia shifted forward slightly in anticipation. Ishida just looked bored. Mizuiro's expression hadn't changed from a friendly smile the entire conversation. If anything, he looked more curious than anything. He smiled reassuringly as Ichigo glanced at him. The only one who seemed even remotely against the idea was Keigo, but Ichigo could tell his bluster was entirely feigned. Likely, Keigo was unsettled, but he'd be fine with it after a few days to get used to it.
He looked up at Chad. Chad smiled down at him with a crooked grin. Ichigo cocked an eyebrow in question. The hand on his side tightened slightly, holding Ichigo steady as Chad leaned down. His eyes drifted closed in anticipation, seconds before he felt Chad's lips settle over his. They kept the kiss chaste, though Ichigo would have liked nothing more than to crawl into Chad's laps and deepen it.
Not in front of all of his friends, though. That would have been far too weird.
Three high-pitched squeals brought them quickly apart. He was glad to note that he wasn't the only male slightly scared of the way the girls were watching him and Chad. Keigo inched subtly away from the women, which was about as unsubtle as one could be considering Keigo's rampant lack of stealth and tact. As Ichigo looked into Rukia's sparkling gaze, he realized that he never had to worry about his friends rejecting him because he'd fallen in love with another man. Instead, he now had to worry about making sure his curtains were closed, door locked, and closet empty before he tried to do anything with Chad.
He had a feeling his popularity with the women of the school was about to drastically increase.
Ichigo groaned. "Dear gods, I think we just spawned a fan club."
He felt the rumble of Chad's laughter against his back and sighed. Some things were worth the trouble. He glanced up at Chad and offered a hesitant smile. He could put up with a few insane women. Considering the women he knew, he'd already had a lot of practice.
How bad could it be?