To Be Claimed

Summary: Shinigamis' have a "Claiming Season". To the dismay of everyone...this year's season is nothing but the most unusual one they ever had.

[Circus Arc AU]

Contrary to popular belief, Shinigami weren't as stiff as they let people on. In fact, these Shinigami have a rather unusual tradition that would surprise anybody who would find out...and live to tell the tale.

Shinigamis live for eternity, that is a fact known among all. This simple reasoning was the root as to why the tradition started, after all; the tradition to claim a partner to accompany them as they walk the eternal path. To put a Claim on another Shinigami is something that cannot be done twice, which is why the Shinigamis think for a long time before deciding to make a Claim.

Also, as fun as a Claim might sound, Shinigami take care that it does not interfere in their line of work. Shinigami's are proud of the preciseness and perfection of their crafts, after all. This is the reason why Shinigami set a certain timeline to make a Claim; a Claiming season if you will.

After this season, visible marks on Shinigami's skin would be seen if not for their gloves, long sleeved coats and proper dress shirts. A mark that would show that they had either Claimed or had been Claimed.

There is a limitation to Claiming, though.

As stated earlier Shinigami can Claim and be Claimed only once. Also, there is a chance that you might not be Claimed at all. The reasons for this would vary.

Take Eric Slingby for example.

He has never made a claim ever since he started his Shinigami life and neither was anyone successful in Claiming him.

If one would ask why he wouldn't want anybody to be with him, his answer would be because he hasn't found the right one yet.

...that is...until now...

Eric hummed happily to himself as he walked down the seemingly endless rows of his coworkers at the Dispatch division of the Shinigami association.

Noticing that the usually empty table that was at the corner with an occupant, the brown haired man stopped and blinked. "New recruit?" he asked thoughtfully before grinning, "Just in time for mating season~" he said in amusement.

"Forget it, Slingby, you wouldn't want to set your eyes on that one," one of his co-workers, Dennis Amster, told him.

"And why is that?" he asked.

"He has the Shi no Toge...I've heard that he had acquired it during his acceptance test," Dennis answered.

"Huh..." Eric said thoughtfully as he looked at the younger one by the desk and grinned, "Well, befriending him wouldn't hurt, right?" he asked before patting Dennis on the shoulder and walking towards the boy he had been eying.

"Hello~" he greeted casually. "New here?" he asked needlessly.

The younger jumped a bit, startled at the sudden conversation.

Slowly he turned his attention to Eric and managed a small smile that Eric thought was adorably. "Y-yes..." he answered.

"Name's Eric Slingby, what's yours?" he introduced.

"Alan...Alan Humphries," was the shy reply.

An awkward silence followed, neither one of the two knew what to say next.

"Slingby! You have an assignment!" Their boss, William T. Spears, called out from the office.

"That's me..." Eric said as he scratched the back of his neck and grinned. " think we could have coffee sometime?" he asked.

Alan smiled a bit more, a smile that completely took Eric's breath away.

"Sure, senpai," he answered softly.

Smiling as well, Eric nodded. "Great! I'll try to finish early then!" he said before saluting playfully and turned around. "See ya, Alan~" he said before walking away towards William's office, knowing full well that this was the start of a very interesting relationship.