The meeting seemed to drag on forever and Ichigo was starting to get a bit agitated. He wasn't exactly nervous per say but he was very impatient and that made him unconsciously fidget. A lot.

Karin glared at her brother since for the umpteenth time, he drummed his fingers on the smooth mahogany wooden desk in front of the couch he was sprawled on, his eyes staring absently at the ceiling in boredom. "Ichi-nii, do that one more time and I swear I'll kick your ass" she all but growled out.

No reaction other than the continuous rhythmic sound from his drumming .

Yuzu barely managed to latch onto her twin's arm before she was able to do something drastic. "Karin-chan, calm down!" she cried as she held the raging raven-haired girl back. "Oh I'll calm down... once I break something!" By something, the gentler of the twins figured she meant their poor brother's fingers since that was what Karin's eyes were zeroed in on. She tightened her grip when said person's flailing grew more fierce and said desperately, "But that would cause problems for other people! Like Ichi-nii and Unohana-taicho and... and... Hitsugaya-taicho!" It was a slightly low blow to mention their over-worked captain but that was the only way Yuzu could think of to stop Karin's rampage and her intuition was right. Her twin's thrashing halted almost immediately and after waiting a few seconds with no indication of any more violent actions, Yuzu deemed it safe to let go.

She breathed a sigh of relief as Karin plopped onto the ground cross-legged and settled with grumpily glaring at Ichigo. She was annoyed at him but she knew well enough not to do anything that would add to the 10th division's captain's growing list of things that needed to get done. She might not do anything helpful like start on his paperwork but she also wouldn't give him more work from any of her violent tendencies.

So she was stuck with glaring at her brother while he continued his infuriating drumming.

Said person would have responded to his sibling earlier -and maybe spared her from any more fidgeting- but just before she'd spoken, he had slipped into his inner world in search of his abnormally quiet spirits. Well, abnormal for Shiro at least. It would have been creepy if Zangetsu started gibbering away like a gossiping high school girl. But that was completely besides the point; he and Shiro had a few issues they needed to clear up and he owed the hollow an apology.


Wondering if he was still upset from the earlier events since the albino wasn't responding, Ichigo was torn between giving him more time alone in case he didn't want to talk or trying to find him. A pissed and moody Shiro was hard to deal with in a confrontation but a gloomy and dejected Shiro was hard to leave alone. Not that he'd ever really seen Shiro depressed so he didn't actually know what he would have behaved like but still... As he debated over his choices, he was completely oblivious to the shadow sneaking up behind him with a mischievous smirk that was a far cry from "depressed."

Ichigo was utterly defenseless to the white hands that were suddenly on his body, expertly finding and poking every ticklish spot he had. He couldn't even manage a sound of surprise before the the force of his attacker's body hitting his and the sudden tickling sent both him and his tormentor tumbling to the ground in a mess of laughter and tangled limbs. "S-Shiro! Stop... that!" he managed to gasp out between laughs as he tried to get a hold on the hollow's dancing hands. Shiro smirked, continuing his relentless onslaught undaunted as he sang, "Nu-uh king~" His smirk widened at Ichigo's hopeless struggles as he cackled evilly, "This is punishment for letting your guard down and letting me sneak up on you!" Ichigo really would have responded but he was currently having difficulty just getting oxygen flowing through his respiration system properly so coherent words were definitely beyond his ability. After a torturous three minutes, Shiro was finally satisfied and he relinquished his hold and let his king catch his breath.

At first, Shiro just snickered while his lungs gulped in blessed air -once he was able to, Ichigo had politely told him to stop laughing or he would make him regret it- but then the chortles had died down and instead, golden irises were fixed intently on Ichigo and his slightly flushed face.

Ichigo felt Shiro staring at him without his evil little snickers (surprisingly) so he glanced over questioningly, voicing his confusion when Shiro didn't do anything other than continue to stare. "Something wrong Shiro?" Said hollow actually looked caught off guard for a moment before he swiftly turned his head a bit and muttered, "Nothing" in an oddly subdued voice. Ichigo was still confused but his confusion turned into concern when he saw a tinge of red on the albino's cheeks. Leaning forward, he raised his hand and lightly pressed it against Shiro's head, asking worriedly, "Shiro, you're not sick are you?"

Shiro's reaction was... interesting for lack of a better word.

The red in his cheeks turned a touch darker as he pushed Ichigo back and exclaimed, "I ain't sick ya idiot king! I'm a hollow, not a human; I don't get shit like sicknesses an' diseases. You were just- I mean- Gah! Forget it!" If Ichigo was confused before, now he was completely lost. Shiro had never acted like this before and he wasn't sure about what to do. He sounded healthy so he wasn't sick as he had said but there was something clearly bothering him.

There was a slightly awkward silence.

Ichigo bit his lip and wondered if Shiro was acting funny because he was hurt by the lack of trust he had in him as shown in the battle before. He figured the tickling from earlier must have been Shiro's way of trying to mend things between them and now Ichigo had somehow made him uncomfortable again.

Something must have shown on his face because when Shiro looked at him, he sighed and said, "I mean it king, it ain't nothin' for you to worry about so relax." Ichigo still wasn't completely reassured. Shiro's lips suddenly curled into his customary smirk as he added teasingly, "You jus' looked like you had one hell of a fuck after getting tickled that I was surprised. Were my hands that skillful?" The small tinge that had colored Shiro's cheeks was nothing compared to the scarlet that filed Ichigo's entire face.

He cackled maniacally as Ichigo spluttered nonsensical words before finally managing to form a single short legible sentence that pretty much summed up what he had been trying to say before.

"You perverted asshole!"

That just made the cackling worse. "Heh, you're so easy ta tease king," Shiro snickered. Ichigo huffed and crossed his arms in a brooding manner (he obviously wasn't pouting) as he tried to will his blush away. It wasn't the first time Shiro had used innuendos and it wasn't like he used them infrequently -the hollow had seemed to make it his duty to embarrass him at least once every day. But even though he knew the hollow was only teasing, it still always made his cheeks flare up and his heart race every single damn time, something that made him inwardly cringe whenever it happened. He wasn't completely clueless; he knew these reactions were signs that he wasn't as immune to the subtle sexual references in the jokes as he tried to make himself out to be.

That wasn't what really bothered him. He could handle having a small attraction to Shiro so long as said person never realized it. What did bother him was that he was the disappointment he felt every time despite knowing that Shiro was only jokin and he hated how his body reacted to what should only be a friendly banter. It felt like he was a hormonal teenager in heat or some school girl who thought every sentence the guy she liked said was an invitation to fool around and it was as if he was twisting their tentative friendship in a perverse way.

Pulling himself out of his self-loathing thoughts and glancing over, he noticed Shiro also looked like he was thinking about something really hard, white brows furrowed in contemplation and his body a little tense despite its deceptively relaxed posture. It was comforting to know Shiro had been too caught up on his own thoughts to notice Ichigo's unnatural silent behavior although it was a bit unnerving to see Shiro looking so... well not Shiro. He looked like he was trying to mimic Zangetsu what with the serious expression and slightly speculative expression.

He blinked in surprise when the albino suddenly spoke- not because he was spontaneously talking really but more so because he was speaking in an unusually hesitant manner.

"King, there's somethin' I've been thinkin' about and it's been confusin' the shit outta me."

Ichigo felt butterflies fluttering madly in his stomach when serious, sharp golden orbs focused entirely onto his brown ones. He wasn't sure why but the intensity of Shiro's stare was making him extremely nervous and causing his heart to thump wildly in his chest. He wasn't sure which of them started it but he was aware their faces were suddenly inching closer and he could see the faint sheen of what looked like uncertainty in Shiro's eyes. A blue tongue darted out and wet slightly dry white lips as Shiro's face drew even closer to his.

"King- no, Ichigo... I-"

And then Ichigo found himself forcefully yanked out of his inner world by an incredibly cold feeling.

Shooting up from his position on the couch, he collided painfully with someone else's head and both simultaneously released a yelp. Rubbing his head ruefully, Ichigo quickly became aware of the fact that he was soaked with very cold water. Scowling, he glared over at where he heard his sisters laughing, the glare softening just a bit when Yuzu handed him a towel while stifling her giggles.

"Thanks Yuz but mind telling me why I'm wet in the first place?"

Yuzu looked a little guilty but her amusement was clearly still there as while he dried himself, she explained. "The captains just reached a decision a while ago and they sent a messenger, Rukia-san, to tell you the verdict and also explain a few things to you but you weren't reacting to any of our calls." Here she gave him a scolding look that still retained some of her former concern from before he woke up and he muttered a quick apology which seemed to satisfy her enough so that she would continue. "We were really worried so Karin-chan tried dumping a bucket of water onto you but even that didn't work. So finally, we asked Rukia-san to make the next bucket of water colder and then we dumped that. I guess it took a while for the cold to register because you didn't react immediately like a person would normally would. Anyway, Rukia-san was leaning over you and checking to see if you were injured in some way but then you shot up and you hit heads."

Ichigo blinked and looked at the person he'd collided with, not even registering that it had been a stranger until now. She was very petite with short black hair that curved elegantly like a swallow's tail with a single long bang hanging down the middle of her face. Her hands were cradling her forehead, preventing him from seeing what the rest of her face looked like so he searched for an insignia of some kind that would let him know what her rank was. She obviously wasn't one of the captains and she didn't have the badge Matsumoto had so he figured she also wasn't one of the lieutenants. All in all, she seemed like a rather plain shinigami but he had a gut feeling that she was more than that.

The perfectly controlled reiatsu around her small frame was a rather clear indication she wasn't fresh out of the academy and the fact she had been given a duty by one of the captains hinted that she was well-trusted.

Abruptly her eyes, which had been screwed shut in pain, snapped open and she removed her hands and glared at him. "Apologize." He stared at her blankly. Her glare turned a touch more irritated as she said impatiently, "When you hit someone, you apologize." Ichigo could feel his own thin patience snapping- for some reason, this person really reminded him of the 6th division captain. She was now standing, her small form straight and rigid, and her large violet eyes were narrowed in a cold glare. And then there was her holier-than-thou tone too. He felt his rebellious belligerent instinct instantly take over.

"Make me midget."

Her expression was priceless. He mentally amended his earlier thought; she was far more expressive than the snobby captain. Her eyes had widened comically and her formal posture was all but wiped out of existence as she raged, "How dare you! I am not a midget! Just... I lack a bit in the height department!" She then seemed to realize she had gone off topic since she coughed slightly and said in a more dignified manner, "And I shouldn't need to make you apologize. A gentleman should know it's only common courtesy to apologize when he hits a lady."

Ichigo raised an eyebrow and made an exaggerated gesture of looking around. "Lady? Where?" The sarcasm was not lost on her. She looked like she was about to attack him when they both heard two voices whispering in the background.

"Told you they wouldn't get along."

"Eh? What are you talking about Karin-chan? They're already becoming good friends."

"... If by good friends you mean they argue like the way she does with the baboon then I guess yeah."

They paused when they noticed the people they had been talking about were now staring at them. Yuzu looked embarrassed to have gotten caught while Karin just said dismissively, "Don't mind us, just keep fighting like an old married couple." The responses were similar in the sense that they had the same meaning but the difference in the way they were phrased was very amusing.

"Who would want to marry a bipolar midget like her?"

"Why would I degrade myself to marry a vulgar brat like him?"

"Wha- who are you calling a brat shrimp? I'm taller than you!"

"Hmph! That's my line boy. Who are you calling bipolar and a small one at that? And height has nothing to do with age!"

Before the argument could explode again, Yuzu said brightly, "See Karin-chan? They'll be great friends! Ichi-nii already made Rukia-chan feel better even though she's been a bit down recently and no one else could cheer her up." Karin rolled her eyes and commented dryly, "A friendship started by Ichi-nii's natural talent of pissing people off and Rukia's violent tendencies. Great. It's the start of a beautiful friendship." The two older people stared at them in silence but the twins merely looked back at them, one with amusement glinting in her eyes and the other with happy approval.

It was hard to do anything to disappoint them.

Ichigo sighed and ran a hand through his hair before grinning and saying, "I guess you're not bad for someone who seems to be related to that Byakuya guy. I'm Ichigo, Kurosaki Ichigo." She looked like she was debating whether it was worth it to try to salvage her dignity and uptight image or just drop it.

She chose the latter.

Holding out her small slim hand, the corners of her lips curled into a light smirk as she said, "Kuchiki Rukia of the 13th division. It's a bit difficult to say it's a pleasure to meet you." He mirrored her smirk as he took her hand and shook it. "Feelings mutual Rukia." She scoffed before pulling her hand away, not without lightly smacking his as she said in a huffy, reprimanding tone, "And be more respectful! I don't completely understand your circumstances but you still shouldn't refer to Nii-sama by his first name and especially not as 'that guy' you uncouth fool."

Her harsh tone softened a bit when she looked at his two younger sisters.

"But I will let it slide since Karin and Yuzu strangely enough seem to adore you. They are surprisingly picky when it comes to accepting people and if they like you so much then there must be at least a shred of some respectable trait in you." Karin muttered, "Whaddya mean picky?" while Yuzu just smiled one of her usual sweet smiles. A soft smile graced Rukia's face briefly and Ichigo was now fully sure that he would like her- anyone who looked at his sisters with with such a gentle and even caring look was a person he could get along with even if they did insult him in every other sentence.

Sadly enough, the brief, soft look was replaced by her more business-like attitude almost instantly. "Now then, before I tell you anything, it would be best to fill you in on how things work here. First of all, we shinigamis..."

As she started what sounded like a ridiculously long explanation, Ichigo slipped into a semi-aware state, only paying half attention to what she said.

He had been quite startled when during the small bickering between him and Rukia, he had felt a sharp swelling of irritation within his mind that had decreased in intensity when Shiro had retreated to further into his inner world. The abrupt feeling had reminded him of Shiro's presence and that, in turn, had reminded him of what he and the albino had been discussing only moments before.

'I wonder what Shiro was going to say... He looked...'

Uncertain, nervous, possibly even scared, and if he dared to let himself hallucinate, lustful- all of the above had flitted through Shiro's penetrating golden orbs as he tried to say whatever was on his mind.

The situation had been bizarre now that he looked back on it- bizarre, surreal, and so damn tempting. They had been so close to... to... Oh for Pete's sake, he wasn't that much of a virgin to not be able to even think of the word kissing.

They... had been about to kiss...

Suppressing the traitorous heat that was threatening to light up his cheeks, he squashed the tiny spark of hope in his chest, berating himself for letting something that was most likely not even romance related affect him to this degree. He belatedly told himself that he had been letting his hopes influence what he had seen and though the thought made his heart clench a little, he was glad he wasn't so out of it that he couldn't think logically.

Of course, his wonderful attempts went to shot when he remembered the last thing Shiro had been saying before they were interrupted.

Shiro had called him by his name. Not moron, not weakling, not any other derogatory terms. He hadn't even called him by the recently more usual "king."

Shiro had called him Ichigo. Just Ichigo. And Ichigo silently wished that he would do it again.

The tiny flare up hope he had ruthlessly squished didn't die completely and though he knew he was being stupid, he hesitantly decided to let it remain.

A/N: Hell must have frozen over. I have... time. Sweet, blissful time to do something enjoyable! One in a lifetime opportunity probably T^T. I'm sorry the updates just died. I didn't mean to go on hiatus but between school and work, free time to write/type seemed like a long-lost dream. I will probably be on hiatus again soon and so I can't promise regular updates until summer vacation (which seems so... far... very far away) or maybe one of the other vacations.

I shall strive to update as soon as possible!

And the thing both readers and myself need... A good dose of humor from Deleted Scenes!


He wasn't sure which of them started it but he was aware their faces were suddenly inching closer and he could see the faint sheen of what looked like uncertainty in Shiro's eyes. A tongue darted out and wet slightly dry white lips as Shiro's face drew even closer to his.

Ichigo blinked.

"Shiro... why is your tongue rainbow colored?"

There was a veeery long silence before the albino whipped his head around so fast it was amazing he didn't crack it as he shouted furiously:

"God-fucking-dammit you bastard Hat and Clogs! Won't change the color of my friggin' tongue my ass! Crawl outta whatever hole yer hidin' in so I can shove you down one straight ta hell!"

Ichigo had been about to attempt to soothe Shiro when they both heard a faint noise that sounded like a tune and that was steadily growing louder until a white lucky cat statue rolled up to them on wheels, holding a small recording tape. Now, they could tell what the lyrics to the tune was.

"I am the candyman,"

"Comin' from bountyland."

"I am the candyman,"

"Comin' from bountyland."

The lyrics continued re-playing over and over again in the eerie silence.

Shiro wasn't fully satisfied until he had broken the record player and cat into tiny bits and Urahara became nothing more than a black and blue mess.

No one stopped him.

Sufferings of a Virgin

The situation had been bizarre now that he looked back on it- bizarre, surreal, and so damn tempting. They had been so close to... to... Oh for Pete's sake, he wasn't that much of a virgin to not be able to even think of the word kissing.

They... had been about to...



Yuzu nearly went into hysterics when her very embarrassed, very flushed brother keeled over from the stress of just even trying to say the word in his head. While the younger girl was attempting to revive her brother, Rukia asked Karin in disbelief, "Even thinking words is too much for him?"

Karin sighed. "Yeah but it's pretty understandable." When Rukia looked at her in confusion, she only needed to say two names for everything to fall into place.

"Goat-face and Urahara-san were the ones who explained sex to him when he 'came of age.'"

I love Urahara and making him out to be such a fun and mischievous person XD. If anyone wants to know, the song in the first DS is Candyman by Aqua. The singer has a rather horrible voice but its a strangely catchy song.