AN: Hello everyone! I'm just gonna skip all the chatter and be up-front. I'm a new-ish fan of Bleach. I started watching it way back when, but stopped because I got tired of the plot not being fast enough (I am impatient, very much so). However, I have found a new love for it and thus I decided to try my hand at some fanfiction, making this my FIRST Bleach fic. I hope you all will read and review. I haven't written for an anime in a long while so I might be a little rusty. Enjoy! :)
Summary: [THREE-SHOT] Karin is in dire need of a date for her senior prom. Someone perfect: a guy who is tall, dark and handsome. Well... two out of three isn't so bad. HitsuKarin
"It's Prom, Yuzu, not Cinderella's ball."
An irate teenage girl walked alongside her twin, hands trapped behind her head, as she gazed upwards at the afternoon sky. Her long, dark hair was tied into a high ponytail, their shared high school uniform just a bit messier on her because of the changes she had before and after soccer practice. With a sigh, she swung her bag down carelessly to her side, while her sister placed it delicately at her front, walking side-by-side on their way home from school in relative silence.
It was easy for someone like Yuzu to be excited to go to their senior dance. Yuzu was the epitome of every boy's dream, soft and feminine in her prettiness with a distinctly agreeable disposition, a personality that made her popular with both boys and girls alike. It was no wonder everyone compared her tomboy of a sister to her and wondered just where their genes had to have overlapped. After all, Kurosaki Karin was none of those things and she would be the first one to correct you if you ever tried to pursue the subject.
She didn't inherit her sister's endless grace from their mother, but was instead much more fighter than lover, as shown through her merciless fakes on the soccer field and easy dodges during a fight. It didn't help that her brother's reputation had preceded her into high school, her nonchalance being confused with his so-called defiance; that, and her own sense of justice had led her down a similar path as his. But if anyone had bothered to look past all of her misadventures, they'd be surprised to see a very pretty girl with a heart of gold and endless spirit, someone who had learned at a young age to love forever and forgive all.
But high school didn't gift the different, and different she was.
Sighing to herself, Karin allowed Yuzu to continue her persuasion, as futile as it was. Contrary to her hardened exterior, Karin didn't have the heart to turn down her sister as often as she wished she could. She feared that she might give in if she allowed herself to show the other girl any weakness. Let it be known that while Yuzu was certainly the softer and sweeter of the two, she was scarily convincing when she needed to be.
"It's one dance! You've missed all the others, and it's not as if I'm asking you to do something impossible! You can dance a little, eat all the food you want at the buffet table and just live your life for one measly night! I mean, when was the last time you felt as pretty as I know you are?" There she goes again. When Yuzu was on a roll, she was definitely on and there was no way in hell to stop her. Karin opened her mouth to contest her companion (and stick up for her much-ignored femininity) when another voice joined them.
"Oh, if it isn't the Kurosaki twins." Out from the corner stepped a pretty, redhead girl, turning along the bend and moving down the street towards them. Karin fought to bite back a groan and the inane need to bash her head into the nearest lamppost. Shinabata Mai, the prettiest, most popular and (arguably) the bitchiest girl on, well… earth—in Karin's oh-so open-minded opinion—was the bane of her existence since they had both stepped foot on Karakura High's perfectly peaceful campus.
The last three and a half years of Mai's life had been dedicated to putting down and bullying the toughest chick in school with mixed results. While Karin didn't outright retaliate to any of the girl's passive-aggressive harassment (like the one time she just 'happened' to 'accidentally' declare to a rather large group of people that Karin might have a thing for one of the girls in their class), she didn't take it lying down either (in retribution for that little rumor, Karin didn't know how her then-boyfriend found out about her fling with some college student, though it did help that she was rather good at implanting ideas into people with Inception-esque skills). There were many tallies on both sides and one too many stalemates to declare an actual victor in their little war. The final verdict was that they hated each other and all of this repressed anger was leading up to one thing: The Final Showdown.
"I couldn't help overhearing—" 'cause you were stalking us you freak, Karin thought with a scowl "—about your dilemma, Yuzu," she said, patting the brown-haired twin's shoulder in fake sympathy. Yuzu stared at the hand with irritation, acting as if venom was being wiped on her shirt and treating it as such when she shrugged the gesture off. Mai didn't even bat an eyelash. "Trying to convince Karin to go to prom? That's a pity, but you know her. She's never been the type to just go with the flow."
"I think I know my twin better than you do," she fired back, keeping her face and voice moderately cheerful, but with an evenness that served as a warning.
"Of course you do, sweetie." Her response was patronizing, causing Karin to rest her hands on Yuzu's shoulders before the girl broke her nice streak and did something very out of character. With a flip of her auburn hair, the queen bee walked passed them, tossing a comment over her shoulder. "I do hope you'll go, Karin. After all, I'd love to see who'd be willing to go out with a man-oops, I mean, girl like you."
As she let out a hardy cackle, Mai pounded down the sidewalk until the click of her heels could no longer be heard.
It only took a few, well-placed insults (and a rather angry Yuzu) to get Karin into the swing of things. Not that she was doing all of this completely willingly, but she certainly had more of an interest in prom now than she did a few hours ago. There were only four days until the ball and somehow their preparations had turned into some kind of revenge-inspired shopping spree-slash-date hunt.
The first night, Yuzu had literally seethed and whined for an hour about a certain girl in their class, using words Karin hadn't even known she'd known. The tirade led to a rather forceful interrogation on her part, causing the older twin to shrink back at the ferocity of her sister's declarations. After gaining a rather reluctant acquiescence to attend the party from her, the now-pacified Yuzu practically charged up the stairs, dragging Karin in tow, to their room to search for anything in their closet that she could possibly use.
It was like hell on earth for the next two days.
Whoever said shopping wasn't a sport had definitely been a man because from the workout made Karin feel as if she'd played an entire tournament in a day. With little to nothing usable for the dance in their joint closet, it had become an all-out, shop-'til-you-die affair, complete with competition from a number of other teenage girls from other schools. With prices marked down ridiculously low and gowns in short supply (after all, it was high school suicide to have the same dress as someone else), it was a mad dash and search through the department store.
Surprisingly, Yuzu held her own against even the most aggressive of shoppers, grabbing dresses she thought fit Karin's style with efficiency and swiftness that even Ichigo wouldn't have been able to keep up with. Karin was less impressed, however, by the fact that she was unceremoniously tossed into the dressing room and outfitted at inhumane speeds. She was critiqued with a critical eye by her sister (since she herself had little to no expertise on this whole dress manner) before being put into the next one, and thus the cycle continued.
By the end of the day, she wondered if her pride as a woman was worth the price of her sanity and bodily harm. She also made a note to never go anywhere near a mall for at least a week, just to make sure she didn't have some post-traumatic stress response by exposing herself to that hellish environment too soon after her ordeal.
"Karin, you're going to look amazing! I can feel it in my bones," squealed a happy Yuzu, carrying a few bags, as the other toted the majority of them in her hands.
"I'll take your word for it," she replied with a shrug, not even remembering what had been bought. Spending several hours on the battlefield made the details rather blurry, after all. As they walked a bit in silence, they finally reached their destination and toed off their shoes at the entryway in the hall. Managing to shuffle into the small home was difficult with the array of purchases but doable, as they made their way into the living room and onto a scene they hadn't been expecting.
"Oi, Karin, Yuzu, welcome home," Ichigo greeted, sprawled out on the couch. Since going to college nearly four years ago, their brother had only come home for special occasions, specifically holidays and hollow hunting. He would turn up at the house randomly, asking for food as he sat at the dinner table while half-listening to the lecture Yuzu would give him about calling before he came over and not just popping in whenever he felt like it.
This time though, he brought some friends with him.
A petite girl with dark, shoulder-length hair was sitting in the settee, greeting them with her odd Japanese. Rukia-nee was no stranger to their home, as they in turn welcomed her back and placed their bags off to the side to properly meet the other guest. She was a busty, older woman who was dressed rather conservatively, despite her figure. She introduced herself as Matsumoto Rangiku, shaking their hands and giving a covert wink to Karin.
So if she's here… Karin pondered for a second before realizing there was one other reiatsu in her home. It was coming out from the kitchen, a glass of water in hand and that trademark scowl on his face. When she got a good glimpse of him though, Karin nearly choked on her spit, eyes widening at the very distinct changes the last few years had gifted him with.
No longer could Hitsugaya Toushirou be called an elementary school student. Standing just a little above average height, his snow-colored locks were as unruly as ever, but seemed dramatically different on his newly aged face. Instead of the cute, impertinent frown that graced his school child face, that same look fell on a rather angled visage, high cheek bones that could slice paper and a strong jaw line to match. His eyes were the same cerulean hue, but more narrowed, the ever-present arrogance lurking just behind the practiced indifference.
With the once over, everything she knew about her childhood friend seemed to blow up in her face.
"Wah! Is that you, Hitsugaya-kun?" Yuzu exclaimed, clapping her hands together at the metamorphosis of the Tenth Squad Captain. He greeted her with a nod, saying hello in that same deep voice that now matched his masculine face. Karin literally had to bite her tongue to keep her jaw from dropping.
"Yo, Kurosaki," he said to Karin, turning those eyes to her with that same cat-like grace. She thanked herself inwardly for not being the type to blush, or else she would have turned red as a tomato long before now.
"H-hey, Toushirou," she stuttered back, and she immediately wanted to hit herself. Nice, Karin. Real smooth.
"That's Hitsugaya-taichou to you," he shot back, that same disdain he always showed still on his face. Somehow, that look instantly stole her awkwardness away, replaced by the old feelings of friendship she had once shared with the boy. She relaxed as she realized that his maturation hadn't changed him, not the inside at least. It had been nearly six years since she'd seen him, and yet the beginnings of their impromptu alliance were still fresh in her mind.
"Yeah, yeah, I got it… Toushirou," she shrugged, liking the way his face darkened and how that familiar vein shot onto his forehead. Looking like he wanted to reply, he was interrupted by a rather large exclamation from her sister.
"You look so different since we last saw you! You're like, an idol! No, a rock star," she praised, completely enthralled by the other's transformation. Unbidden, a small amount of coloring made its way onto his cheeks as he murmured a bit of thanks, walking to sit on the end of the couch.
"I know! Taichou has become a man now," Matsumoto gushed, her overly dramatic gestures completely familiar. "He's gone through a bit of a growth spurt. It'll probably last another four or five years, since he's only about halfway through this one."
"Five years?" both twins interjected, completely stunned.
"Oh yeah. Shinigami have random periods of growth just like humans, only ours last a bit longer," she explained, as she adopted a thoughtful look and tapped her chin absent-mindedly. "Every couple hundred of years, we'll age as any human normally does for a certain amount of time. Then, we remain the same age for a few more centuries. These periods become less common, however, when we get older, which is why a lot of the older captains haven't changed for hundreds of years."
"That would explain why Ukitake-taichou looks exactly the same now as when I enrolled in the Academy," Rukia offered, saying it more to Ichigo than his sisters since neither of them knew who this 'Ukitake' was. But it was a clear enough account that both understood, nodding as they pondered the odd ways of Soul Society. Before they could marinate on the subject a little longer though, Matsumoto asked about the rather large amount of shopping that had brought home with them.
"Prom is this weekend," Yuzu answered, smiling as she gestured to the pile of bags. "We went shopping for all of the necessities. Even Karin's going, and she's never been to one before."
"What's a 'prom'?" she asked, frowning at the foreign word on her tongue.
"It's like a party but with fancier clothes and stuff. It's held every year by the school as something of a mixer," Ichigo offered, before glancing in his sisters' direction. He eyed the dark-haired girl warily, as if knowing something was up. Not wanting to reveal the rather childish reason she was going, she turned her head with a flip of her hair, biting back the even more childish notion of sticking her tongue out at him. Her plans for revenge didn't need to involve her brother, nor did she want his judgment.
"Ooh, a party? Can we go, Taichou?" The overly excited vice captain began pawing at the younger man. He shot her an irritated glare, but before he could answer Ichigo interrupted again.
"You can't go unless you're someone's date. School's have strict rules about that kind of stuff," he shrugged, noticing as the other's face fell into a grimace. Somehow, Ichigo very much doubted his sisters would appreciate an easily excitable Matsumoto at this particular function, someone who would very likely try and get the entire student body drunk, regardless of whether it was legal or not. From what he surmised from other lieutenants, it certainly hadn't stopped her before in her Academy years. He had very little faith that Karakura High would still be standing if Rangiku got too close to it with the idea of partying and intoxication in mind.
"I'm sorry, Rangiku-san," said a rather apologetic Yuzu, who was entirely too sensitive to other's feelings. Luckily, Matsumoto was able to waive it off as if it was nothing, a little disappointed but with no harm done. Immediately she launched into another subject: who they were going with.
"Do you know Jinta-kun? He lives at Urahara-san's shop," she replied happily, stating how he had asked her with an entire bag of candy he took from the store's inventory. Karin remembered that little scene, and made a note to not tell Yuzu about the hard labor he was put through to pay for those sweets. Some things were better left unsaid.
"And you, Karin-chan?" she asked, turning to her with an expression that told her she had her complete and total attention.
"Who knows," she said with a half-bored tone, moving out of the living room and into the kitchen for a drink. Five pairs of eyes followed her, as Matsumoto continued the conversation even as she opened the fridge for some juice and grabbed a glass.
"What'dya mean? You don't have anyone to go with?" Her eyes were wide with curiosity, as she watched the younger girl with hawk-like eyes.
"Nope. I only decided to go a few days ago." She took a large gulp, quenching the thirst that had been sitting in her throat for a good part of the last three hours. "Besides, the boys in my school are terrified of me. I certainly wasn't going to go with any of them."
"Well, Onii-chan wasn't exactly invisible in high school…" Yuzu tried to put it as delicately as possible.
"He was basically seen as a delinquent, and now everyone thinks that, since we're from the same gene pool, I have to be one too." It was a given that people were bound to talk about the rather infamous Kurosaki Ichigo, who fought for those who couldn't and protected what little he held dear. Not everyone understood his brand of justice, least of all his peers and teachers, and that had alienated him from the majority. Unfortunately, that animosity had also extended into her generation, so instead of a new beginning Karin had ended up living a sequel to her brother's life.
"Oh, I see. Only you? Not Yuzu?"
"Matsumoto, you need to get your eyes checked," came the rather insensitive reply from Hitsugaya, as he peered up at Karin from beneath a lock of his hair. She glanced back with an eyebrow raised, but a smirk found its way to her lips, as she bit back a retort. After all, what could she possibly say to that? Anything would sound completely uncomplimentary, so she made the decision not to say anything more incriminating. Instead, she held his gaze with her own, her confident nature against his cold, assessing eyes.
Watching the silent exchange, Yuzu couldn't help but feel a bit of excitement rise into her chest. She looked to someone else, hoping they would agree with her. Finding Matsumoto's conspiring eyes, they both grinned widely at each other, as if they could read each other's minds.
"Oh, Karin, since you still haven't found a date," Yuzu began, trying her best not to give herself away, as she fiddled with her fingertips, "why don't you bring Hitsugaya-kun?"
"WHAT?" Ichigo boomed, as Karin choked on a rather large gulp of liquid, sounding as if she was coughing up her left lung. Rukia rushed to her side, patting her back comfortingly. Hitsugaya himself had his jaw slightly unhinged, taken aback by the rather forward proposition.
"Oh, Taichou, it's perfect! We're only here for a week and you're taking some time off too, aren't you? What better way to spend time in the real world than joining in one of its traditions?" Matsumoto pushed, completely in Matchmaker Mode.
"I don't think that's such a good idea, Yuzu," Karin wheezed, finally getting some much needed oxygen into her lungs.
"Why not?" she pouted, crossing her arms over her chest and jutting out her bottom lip.
"I feel like a Shinigami Captain at a high school dance isn't the best idea you've ever had," she countered, glaring at her for even suggesting it. Bringing one of the most powerful spiritual beings to introduce to her friends to be 'ooh'-ed over was not her idea of fun. To be honest, just the very thought of the situation sounded downright stressful, and she did not want to add pressure on top of her already burdened scholastic existence.
"But he's perfect!" she exclaimed, earning a blush from both him and her sister. "He has everything a girl wants! I mean, he's practically the ideal. You know, tall, dark, handsome. And you're certainly not gonna find anyone else. Don't give me that look, Karin, I know you."
"Hardly. He's not that special," she argued, eyeing the man in question distastefully.
"Excuse me?" he inquired, raising a white brow. The hint of snark was sitting heavily on those two words, the challenge evident in his voice. Unfortunately, it was a tone that Karin was all too familiar with, as she stepped back into the living space with a decisive air about her. She had never been called cowardly before, and she'd be damned if this would be her defining moment. Settling a few feet from Toushirou, she looked him up and down, as if judging a prized piece of meat.
"Let's look at it like this," she offered, hands on her hips in a rather authoritative fashion. "First criteria: tall. He's not exactly Ichi-nii-"
"I'm still growing!" he interrupted, a vein reappearing on his forehead. Despite the obvious sprouting, it seemed the former 'midget' (as she had so affectionately called him long ago) still had a bit of his height complex. "And who are you to talk? I'm taller than you, aren't I?"
"If I'm your measuring stick, then you're definitely screwed. I'm 160 centimeters, tall for a girl, perhaps, but nowhere near what a guy should be." Getting a better look at him, she noticed that he was just about the size Ichigo was when he was fifteen years old, towering over the majority of his classmates, save for Sado. Not that she has going to give him the satisfaction of telling him that. This was a battle and battles were not won on honesty and that was that. "Second criteria: dark. He's practically a snowflake!"
"I am not!"
"You are! Look at that hair! Besides that, the light skin makes you look like a girl."
He met Karin's assessment with a hard scowl, causing the features of his face to tighten. Inwardly, Karin felt herself gulp, noticing how perfectly shaped his face had become once the baby fat had melted off and he grew into his distinctly adult, male self. Oh, he was pretty alright, but not feminine pretty. He was what the girls in her class would call a bishounen, arguably the most perfect pretty boy that she had ever seen. Not that I like looking at pretty boys, she reasoned with herself, feeling herself color at the thought and the intense look in his eye.
"And then there's the last one: handsome." She paused for a second, wondering what she could say haughtily to turn this back on him. But the longer she looked at him, the less she could think straight, as she felt her color rise up to the surface. Anyone with two eyes could see that Toushirou was every bit the attractive man he was bound to turn into. Saying anything even slightly negative about him would earn disagreement from anyone in the room, including herself. Turning her head decisively away, she muttered quietly:
"Well, you're not ugly…"
"Of course not," he snorted, looking at her uncomfortable face with an exasperated one of his own. Every man had his pride, and to have it stopped on by a girl a fraction of his age (and a human, no less) wasn't something he would take lying down. The presence of two rather ecstatic women, a confused one and an overprotective brother, however, were good deterrents for his anger. He wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of seeing him lose his cool.
"Oh, Karin, I wish you were a little more honest with yourself," Yuzu sighed, before looking over at the white-haired boy. "I know she's a bit rough around the edges, but you should know she's like that by now. And, as her sister, I know she'd love to take you to prom."
"Yuzu!" Karin hissed, looking every bit the embarrassed and slightly embittered older sister. The color had yet to fade from her cheeks, as she sent her twin a rather nasty glower. But the other girl continued to ignore her in favor of Hitsugaya's answer, her eyes hopeful that he would accept. Instead of answering, however, he turned back to the dark-haired twin, and eyed her distrustfully. He only did so for a minute, and yet Karin felt as if she was being stared at in detail for hours, trapped under the green-blue lens of a microscope. As if coming to a conclusion, he stared her down, daring her to lie about what he was going to ask next.
"What are you not telling us, Kurosaki?" he asked point-black, noticing as she flinched at the question. So she was hiding something from him. Looking a little sheepish, she brought a hand up to the back of her head and scratched it, knowing she was a terrible liar and that he did as well.
"Well, there's this girl at school…" She explained the basics about Mai and her never-ending tirade to end her social life, as a rather enthusiastic Yuzu backed her up. The others listened intently, finding Karin's arch nemesis rather entertaining, despite her malicious intent to ruin Karin. By the end of it, Matusmoto was revved up, saying how she'd be happy to help her take down that 'princess bitch,' gaining a second from a rather eager Rukia. Ichigo seemed rather disinclined to comment, knowing that what happened between girls was a complete mystery to him. He did offer the brotherly advice of ignoring her and learning to walk away, but who was he kidding? This was a Kurosaki and her pride. It would've been easier to tell her to give up soccer and stop getting into fights than to let this go.
Chancing a glance at the other boy, Karin noticed a contemplative look on his face. He was frowning, but not in an angry or upset sort of way. Instead, it was more pensive, as if he was weighing his options in his head. His eyes slid to hers, and it was only by habit that she didn't turn her own away.
"So basically you're using me as revenge against this girl." It wasn't a question, but an honest deduction from what he was told. Karin could hear Yuzu sputter off to the side, not liking the way he said it, but she knew that the interpretation was more or less spot on. She nodded, keeping it simple and letting him make his own choice. He was, after all, the one doing the favor if he agreed. It wasn't quite fair to try and persuade him if there was no endgame on his side. He took a few moments longer, turning his stare away and pondering to himself.
"C'mon, Taichou," Matumoto butted in, looking at him with her signature puppy dog eyes, the same ones she used to get away with not doing her paperwork. "It's just one little dance. There's no harm in it, after all. Who knows, you might enjoy it."
He pinned a rather sarcastic stare at his second-in-command, before sighing in a resigned manner. Looking down at Karin, who tried her best not to look anxious, he tilted his head down with another sigh.
"Fine, I'll do it."
AN: DUN, DUN DUN! Haha, I'm sorry. I just had to type it. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed this first part. I apologize for anything wrong with the grammar or spelling. My brain is starting to malfunction. The next part will probably be up in a few days. it'll be shorter than this one, but it has the climactic ending so that's okay, right? Please review if you liked it, or just wanted to point something out. No flames about the pairing, please. It comes off as sort of bitter, in my opinion. (That, and I don't really care if you don't like HitsuKarin. To each his own, right?)
Thanks for reading!