Thanks for checking this out! My first ever Bleach fanfic! Please excuse me if I go a little OOC, but I will try to keep the characters as true as the manga/anime. This idea came to me out of the blue, and I couldn't get it out of my head. LITERALLY I had to come home and type this, so excuse this first chapter if it is awkward and stupid. It doesn't really have a plot, but I'm hoping to work on my skills with character development and I'm attempting to go outside my comfort zone and try to make a slightly humorous "coming of age" story or some romantic comedy bullshit for the yaoi fans (…if any of that made any sense, we're going to get along just fine.)
Thanks and good luck! ~PetulantProdigy
Ichigo slammed his fist into his band mate's face, his delinquent fighting abilities surfacing in his rage, "You little fuck!"
Ex-best friend Renji Abarai went careening into the wall, his breath making a whooshing sound as it left his body, "Jesus, Ichigo! Chill out!"
"Chill out? Chill out?" Ichigo screamed, front-kicking Renji in the gut before he had a chance to dodge, "you just admitted to fucking my girlfriend of two years, and you want me to chill out?"
Renji moved away from Ichigo's powerful legs, stumbling to the side before getting into a proper fighting stance to defend himself, "At least I told you! Fuck, Ichigo, we've known each other since diapers. I didn't know how to tell you, it was killing me, man."
"Che, right," Ichigo said, his lip curled in distaste, "grow a conscience after you fuck her, you bastard."
"Dude, we were drunk," Renji whined, trying to reason with his best friend, "Rukia just…I mean, it just happened, and…"
"I don't wanna hear anymore," Ichigo said, putting a hand to his forehead as if to keep himself from exploding, "Get out. Get the fuck out."
"Get the fuck out of my house," Ichigo warned, his voice deadly, "before I throw you out in pieces."
Renji moved towards the door of the small apartment, his face almost sheepish, "You'll…be at the gig, right?"
Ichigo picked up the nearest object and hurled it at Renji, watching the glass cigarette tray shatter on the door. Renji had moved out the door in time to avoid a deadly accurate hit to the head. Pity.
Ichigo turned away, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, trying to calm himself. He heard the start-up of Renji's motorcycle, then listened to it speed down the narrow alleyway and out of his life.
He would be damned if he would ever talk to that bastard again. He whipped out his cell phone, trying to keep his fingers from destroying the keys as he typed in the numbers.
Lead bass guitarist and second-in-command of the band picked up on the second ring, "Yo."
Ichigo steadied his breathing for a moment before speaking, "I'm not comin' tonight."
There was silence. Ichigo was used to Byakuya's quiet and cryptic ways. He barely talked at all, and when he did, Ichigo knew he had thought hard about it before saying it. It was one reason they had not gotten along initially, but over the past three years and forming the band (and not to mention a nice testosterone-filled fight between the two last year) Ichigo could honestly say Byakuya had become like an older brother to him.
"What happened?" Byakuya finally said.
Ichigo sighed deeply, sliding onto his couch feeling defeated, "Renji fucked Rukia."
"I'll kill him," Byakuya said, surprising Ichigo and making goose bumps race down his spine, "Where is he?"
In his moment of drama, Ichigo had kind of forgotten Rukia was Byakuya's sister. They were not very close, but Ichigo knew Byakuya had a natural instinct to protect his younger sister, "Just left my place. I can't do this, Byakuya. Either he leaves the band or I will."
More silence. Sometimes Ichigo wished Byakuya wasn't so monk-like, "Let's get the band together. Meeting. Now."
"No way in hell am I getting anywhere near him," Ichigo muttered, "and neither should you. It's difficult to hide a body in a tiny piss-ass town like Karakura."
"Mm," is all Byakuya said, apparently thinking of ways to get around the discovery of a dead body, "have you talked to Rukia yet?"
The logical and mature Byakuya was back from the bloodlust. Ichigo sighed again, "No. I don't want to."
"You have to."
"I know," Ichigo said, running a hand over the back of his neck, "but I've never hit a chick before, and I don't want to start."
Byakuya sighed, "Ichigo, do whatever you think is right. I'm not going to stop you from staying with or leaving the band. It's a personal decision, and I can't tell you what to do. No matter what happens with Rukia or Renji, I've got your back."
"Thanks man," Ichigo replied, pretty touched. That was probably the longest speech he had ever heard Byakuya make, "I'll call you later, ne? Sorry about tonight."
"Still time to cancel. Don't worry about it."
After a few more minutes of male bonding, Ichigo finally hung up and laid back, staring up at the ceiling. Byakuya had just become his newest trustee, his number one confidant. Fuck Renji. He had a lot to think over, but he needed to speak to Rukia first.
"Is this really making you feel any better?" Toshiro intoned from his place on the bar stool. He had finally bleached his hair an off-white color and had it spiked in every direction, like his head was made of ice. His luminescent blue eyes were like crystals, beautiful but intense. He had run into Ichigo by chance on the street and had agreed to accompany him to the low-key bar. It wasn't a well-known spot, but it was quite popular with the music scene. VIZARD'S was Ichigo's favorite place to drink and forget his troubles, and Toshiro was also a good friend.
"HELL of a lot better," Ichigo slurred, slamming another empty shot glass down on the bar in front of them. He had already plowed through several beers and ten shots of his favorite vodka. He was pleasantly past buzzed, "Fuck Rukia. Fuck Renji. Fuck everybody."
Toshiro sighed, resting his head on a hand, "I had no idea, man. I'm sorry."
"S'alright," Ichigo said, motioning for one of the bartenders to fill him up, "Nothin' to do 'bout it. What's done is done."
To be completely honest, Ichigo had known, deep in his gut, that something had been off for the past few months. They had never actually been lovey-dovey, didn't display affection often. Hell, Ichigo had barely fucked her, and when he did, it was only ever once and he was never left craving more. The more he thought about it, the more he realized how unhappy and dysfunctional they had both been. Obviously Rukia had felt it to or she wouldn't have slept with his fucking best friend.
But enough thinking: the liquor was supposed to prevent that from happening. He held up another shot towards Toshiro, "To the beginning of a new life, Tosh. A new path for this worn-out guitarist."
"So you're really quitting?" Toshiro said after they had both downed the shot.
Ichigo nodded, "Can't do it anymore, man. Just can't do it. You and Byakuya mean a lot to me, but I need to find whatever the hell it is I've been lookin' for."
"Damn," Toshiro said, looking down at his empty shot glass, "So this is it, huh? Goodbye Soul Society?"
Ichigo grinned, suddenly remembering the day Toshiro and he had come up with the band's name, "You guys'll be fine without me. I'm just a guitarist. Easily replaceable."
Toshiro shook his head, "Che, you can play circles around any guitarist in this town, Ichi. I'm going to be traumatized at auditions."
"You'll find somebody," Ichigo said, putting a finger to Toshiro's forehead, "just promise me you'll keep rapin' that drum set, ne? This doesn't mean the end of our friendship, Tosh, just the end of my time with the band."
Toshiro nodded once, not completely happy but willing to understand, "Will you come to a gig if I ask? I mean, I know you won't want to see them…"
"I'll come around," Ichigo promised, starting on a new chilled beer, "Hell, I fuckin' started Soul Society. What kind of man would that make me to run away from it forever?"
"But you are leaving."
"Yeah, but it's your future now," Ichigo said, feeling like this was some kind of weird father-son moment. Which was weird, because although Toshiro looked extremely young, he was actually older, "I wanna see Soul Society make it to the Kanonji Fest finals. Promise?"
"Yeah," Toshiro replied, his eyes lighting up at the thought of the prestigious band competition, "I promise."
"Good," Ichigo said, finishing off the beer in one final swig and slamming the empty bottle down in front of him, "and tell that fucker Renji for me…I'll see him there too."
The teal-haired punk had needed to get away for a while, but he hadn't expected his manager to follow him like a poorly-trained spy. He pulled up his gray hoodie to shield the public from his intense hair, his cerulean blue eyes piercing. He would have covered those too, but sunglasses at night were better left in songs and would make people think he was some kind of creep or pervert.
He hadn't really planned on coming to a bar, but it was in a quieter part of town, and his feet had carried him to the threshold as if it promised great treasures. He had been walking for several blocks after getting out of the Jaguar his manager had tried to push on him for his 21st birthday, but he knew better. He knew that it was really a bribe to make him give in and agree to do the tour in America. His band had not reacted negatively or positively to it, and he didn't feel as if the band needed that extra boost in ego at the moment. He just wanted them to focus on what they had created the band for: fucking amazing music.
Being lead singer and screamer was taxing, not to mention he was the leader of the band, had started it all after getting together with his long-time buddy and finding a few rough gems through auditions and trial gigs. The band had taken off after a good year and a half of doubt, but the hard work and waiting had paid off.
But tonight, he was agitated and annoyed: two things that made him want to settle in the corner of some cozy bar and have a few drinks, "Still fuckin' following me."
"This is a bad idea," his manager, a Mr. Sousuke Aizen, intoned from behind, "There's no crowd control here. Besides, there are far more…cleaner…places to relax."
"Get lost," he replied, his famous temper flaring, "Give me a few hours of freedom. We've been working like dogs. Why don't you go stalk Nnoitra?"
"Nnoitra's being a good boy and staying in his hotel suite."
He snorted, "How many strippers did you have to order for the room?"
Aizen's brows knit together momentarily, like he might become pissed off, "That's besides the point. The rest of the band is content at the moment, and I don't need my prized member masquerading around a town full of screaming fan girls."
He sighed, stepping away from Aizen with his hand on one of the bar doors, "It's after midnight. I'm at a bar. Not thinkin' there's many fans with their school skirts in a twist. Fuck off."
And with that, Grimmjow Jaugerjaques entered VIZARD's.
Ichigo was laughing, his arm around the neck of some random older guy that had joined in Toshiro and Ichigo's conversation earlier, "I love you, man! You're hysterical!"
They all continued to laugh for a moment, the guy named Ganju holding up a huge mug, "Karaoke! Karaoke!"
The chant continued down several tables until the whole place was clapping and one of the workers finally went over to the corner and hooked up the system. A few cheers passed around and a splatter of applause and a few drunk and sober people made their way over to the machine, picking out their selections and belting them at the tops of their lungs, some Japanese songs and some American.
"Hit me baby one more time!" Ganju belted about a half hour later, his turn up. A few cheers and boos from the crowd didn't deter him from his rendition of Brittney Spears as he shook his ass for the crowd a moment and then was pushed out of the way by a hooker-ish emo girl with huge black hair and thick eye makeup. She was some kind of mutant ballerina. After her performance, the room was expectant, waiting.
"Go, Ichigo!" Toshiro commanded, shaking Ichigo, "Get up there!"
"Nahhh," Ichigo drawled, afraid he wouldn't even be able to balance correctly to walk, "No wayyyyyy…"
Ganju went along with it, taking the mic again, "Next up's a little berry, born and raised right here in Karakura! He's a lean, mean, screamin' machine! Give it up for Ichigo Kurosaki of Soul Society!"
A few of the younger people, the ones who would have recognized the local band, actually got a bit excited and the room was soon chanting his name.
"Dammit," Ichigo chuckled, making his way across the room and grabbing the mic. The room erupted in whistles and applause, waiting for his performance.
He stood up straight, staring at the small screen. Fuck, there was no way in hell he could focus on that. The words were microscopic kanji, and with his inebriated state, he was lucky he could even see the screen. Toshiro came over and helped him select a familiar English song, one that actually explained a lot about how he was feeling.
The track began, making Ichigo sway his hips side to side as he began to feel the music, momentarily forgetting how drunk he was and actually anticipating the words.
"Dead star shine, light up the sky…I'm all out of breath, my walls are closing in…"
The room was silent as he continued, his eyes closed, his voice rising and falling, guttural and sensual at the same time. Renji had been lead singer of the band, but Ichigo had always enjoyed singing and was complimented frequently.
"I can feel you falling away…No longer the lost, no longer the same, and I can see you starting to break…I'll keep you alive, if you show me the way…Forever, and ever, the scars will remain…"
At the height of the chorus, Ichigo opened his eyes to the cheers and whoops of the crowd. A few people were standing, swaying to the song, actually holding up their cell phones in tribute. Karaoke had turned into a mini concert.
Ichigo moved around, his eyes connecting with several in the crowd. He finished off strongly, catching a mesmerizingly-deep set of hard blue eyes in the final words, "I'm falling apart, leave me here forever in the dark."
The crowd exploded in applause and calls for an encore. Ichigo felt himself blushing: he was still staring at that pair of amazing blue eyes, which belonged to an equally attractive strong-boned face. Although he couldn't see everything the guy was offering, Ichigo felt his heart accelerate, his pulse singing as alcohol continued to course through his veins.
The eyes seemed to laugh at him, a grin on the stranger's face as he stared back, not intimidated the least bit. Ichigo could already tell this guy in the gray hoodie was a man that didn't easily back down.
Ichigo finally looked away, making his way off the small stage and into the laughter and catcalls.
Grimmjow watched the scrumptious strawberry get pulled into a corner with friends and strangers alike, many of them offering to buy him a drink if he promised to sing again. Since he had seen the berry get on stage, he hadn't managed to take his eyes off of him. He was tall and lean, but there was nothing puny about him. His natural head of red hair was appealing and different, spiky and edgy. His tight jeans and vintage tee unmistakably hot.
Grimmjow sat at the bar now, waiting for his tequila. This was strictly business, he reasoned, downing the shot as soon as the bartender offered it to him. He had several more before he had completely convinced himself that he had to have the strawberry. He was perfect, just the sound the band needed. Grimmjow had been uninspired lately, thinking their music needed a shift in tone or range. Of course Grimmjow loved what he did, but it wouldn't hurt to have another singer in the band, especially if said-singer was smokin' hot.
No, he couldn't let this opportunity pass him up.
"Ichigo Kurosaki," Grimmjow thought allowed, taking another shot.
Yeah, the berry definitely had what it took to be an Espada.
Wooo! I hope this wasn't too disappointing. It gets better, I swear! PLEASE REVIEW! [f.y.i the song Ichigo sings is "Give me a Sign" by Breaking Benjamin] ;)