I don't own Bleach, nor do I own Batman, so any characters mentioned here are the property of their respective owners.


Dangai Asylum, the next morning.

"Get Up! Yer have a visitor clown."

Gin Ichimaru, aka the Joker, sat bolt upright. He whipped his head around to an unnatural degree and smiled creepily at the guard before laughing in his special way.

"Oh goody, a friend! And on my first day back too… You prison staff sure know how to make a guy feel special!"

"Look, just get off ya bed freak and putcha hands forward, you know the drill."

"Oh, of course! I'm in prison again. Can't just go for a stroll to the shops can I?" Joker slapped his head at his apparent forgetfulness.

"Yeah, whatever, just don't try nuthin."

Gin pouted as Security Officer Iba locked him into his handcuffs.

"Oh, I'm hurt you think I would try to escape my super-secret-reserved cell. That sort of thing could get you in trouble. I mean, what sort of guard are you if you have nothing to… well… guard?"

"Keep talkin' Ichimaru, we'll see how funny ya are with a broken jaw."

"Oh, I'm hilarious, trust me."

"Get moving!"


On the other Side of Karakura.

Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt

Ichigo reached over blindly and turned off his alarm. He glanced over at the clock.

It was ten in the morning.

One of the few perks of being an irresponsible multi-billionaire was nobody expected him to show up on time to work. If he showed up to work at all; though he did occasionally have to push some paper.

'Price of being the boss' he mused.

Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he was grateful that the night before wasn't too strenuous. Some mornings/afternoons, he would just lie in discomfort and consider skipping the day before Juushiro would bustle in and shoo him out of bed.

Speak of the devil…

"Good morning Ichigo!"

Dressed in the casual suit he favoured, Juushiro Ukitake beamed at his charge. Ichigo saw his smile and raised him a Bat-glare.

"Do you really have to be so loud?"

"How else am I to get your attention? Now get up, Yuzu left you some bacon and eggs. I took the liberty of warming them in the oven. I recommend you have a shower first, if you don't mind me saying so."

With that said, Juushiro took his leave and Ichigo made his way over to the ensuite. One quick shower later, he was picking out his suit for the day.

'Hmmm, I think… The blue shirt with black tie.'

Dressed, Ichigo made his way down to the kitchen. By now, Yuzu, Karin and Toshiro had left for school. Toshiro had left his findings from the night before on the table for Batman to peruse. Uryuu was currently amusing himself by reading through them while Orihime giggled over the comics in the newspaper.

"Ichigo."

"Uryuu."

"Good morning Ichigo!"

"Good morning Orihime."

With his back turned to them, Ichigo absently poured himself a cup of coffee on the counter and smiled softly to himself. It was almost like the old days, back when Orihime had started as Batgirl and would sometimes stay the night. The three of them would chat over the table while Juushiro served them coffee. On weekends, the twins would join them for late breakfast, Orihime worrying over Juushiro's health, Karin fussing about being late for soccer and Yuzu pestering Uryuu for tips on sewing.

The sound of Orihime wheeling over in her chair broke Ichigo out of his reverie.

Almost like the old days.

"Ichigo, I received confirmation this morning from Dangai. Ichimaru has been safely locked up."

"For now…" Uryuu darkly muttered.

"Uryuu…"

"What? Hime, it's only a matter of time before he breaks out again. You know it, I know it. Ichigo knows it!"

"And Ichigo will stop him if he does." Ichigo barked in his Bat-voice.

Glaring at him over the lip of his mug, Batman had cut into the discussion, stopping it before it could really start. Nightwing glared back, not the least bit intimidated.

Ichigo took a slow slip, and Uryuu began twirling a butter knife in his fingers, neither of them willing to break eye contact.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, it was all Orihime could do to not laugh at how silly Ichigo looked with Yuzu's bright pink 'Hey Chappy' mug in his hand.


"So, any hints on who wants to see little 'ole me so early into my state funded staycation?"

"Yer lawyer wants to see ya."

"Gosh darn it Iba! I said a hint! I didn't actually want to know, you've ruined the game!"

"I don't get paid enough for this."

"Oh I hear ya pal. Those penny pinchers in city hall, they don't know how hard it is, trying to make an honest living… Ok, so neither do I, but still…"

"Do you ever shut it?"

"Tetsuzaemon, I'm hurt. I thought we were friends. I always look forward to our playful banter whenever the Bat-Express drops me off. Maybe I should look elsewhere for friendship."

"You do that."

"Why I'm sure your nephew Hiro would be delighted to trade jokes with me. He's at that age where he still finds clowns funny right? I get on so great with kids —"

WHAM!

Iba pushed Joker up against the wall, and punched him in the gut, doubling him over.

"WHAT DID YOU SAY?! WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MY NEPHEW?"

Laughing, Gin knew he had hit a nerve; Iba's rage betrayed just a hint of fear. Dropping his jovial act, the Joker's voice became quite sinister.

"Not much, just the basics, you know. Aged seven, Hiro Iba goes to Karakura East, bright boy, though math isn't his strong suit is it? He likes the colour red, thinks girls are gross, and loves playing at the park down the road from the house where he lives with his mother. Your sister, the lovely Miss Haruka Iba."

"I… You…"

"It must be so hard for a single mother in this time of economic uncertainty, never knowing if her job at the plant will be safe. She could be fired anytime. Might be a blessing in disguise though, not the best hours there, which is why you try to help her out so much right? Little Hiro really looks up to you, it's important for a young boy to have a positive male role model in his life. Lord knows he's not getting that with his real dad, but what can you expect from one of Penguin's goons? Barragan doesn't exactly attract the most morally responsible crowd…"

"How could you possibly—"

"Know all this? Oh it was quite easy, actually. Like I said, we spend so much time together; I just wanted to know a bit more about you. Because we're friends! And you know what friends do for each other, Security Officer Iba? They do each other favours!"

"Favours?"

"Yeppers. They do solids, they have each other's backs. Now come on! We should really keep moving, my lawyer hates to be kept waiting."


The sleek, black, Lamborghini Murcielago effortlessly weaved its way through the traffic as Ichigo navigated Downtown Karakura. One of the other perks of coming in late was he generally only dealt with the tail end of the morning rush and missed most congestion.

Giving the road only as much attention as necessary, Ichigo mentally planned his day. No matter how hard he tried to distract himself with budget meetings and stock figures in the front of his mind, the back was still mulling over the events of the night before. Catwoman was back, he would have to drop by Yoruichi's tonight.

More pressingly though, why did Joker call him out like that? He had to have known Batman would take him down. Did he want to be in Dangai? Last time that had happened, he just broke in. The guards came by one morning and found him just sitting in his cell, like he belonged there, which technically he did, as there were still years on the other sentences he had skipped out on.

Of course, the problem with figuring out Joker's motives was that he often didn't have any. So it's entirely possible he spontaneously decided to challenge Batman. It would explain the apparent lack of planning in his work. Past experience told Ichigo this was unlikely. But what was his goal here? What is he trying to do?

Before he knew it, Ichigo had arrived at Kurosaki Tower. Driving into his usual spot, he exited his car and made his way over to the elevator, exchanging pleasantries with the security guard who escorted him to his office.


"Kaname! How are you! Sorry I took so long, I hope they at least gave you a magazine or something… Oh wait! Haahaha!"

"You have twenty minutes Mr Tousen."

"Thank you. Sit down Mr Ichimaru we have a lot to discuss."

A visibly shaken Iba left the room. With all the swagger he could muster in chains, Joker casually arranged himself on the chair. He then began to amuse himself by pulling faces at the blind man, while Tousen droned on about his defence for his upcoming court case.

"You can drop the act Sosuke; I don't think they're listening anymore."

'Kaname Tousen' sighed, then flashed a smirk and slipped into his real voice.

"Ok Gin, what gave me away?"

"Tousen always calls me on it when I'm making faces at him."

Clayface, the man formerly known as Sosuke Aizen, was an Oscar-winning actor worthy of his success and international acclaim. Women wanted him, men wanted to be him. He dominated the silver screen with an amazing depth and breadth of characters. From war heroes to slapstick comedians, suave spies to bumbling sidekicks, he was the consummate professional and ultimate actor. The problem was he knew it.

His ego would not allow for the idea of growing older, losing his good looks and starring roles. The first time he lost a role to a younger actor, he refused to leave his trailer for a week. The first time he was asked to move, because he was blocking the view of 'the real stars' on the red carpet, he attacked the paparazzo who said it, putting him in the hospital. When the police arrived to arrest him on assault charges, he ran. Sosuke took a liking to an abandoned beauty cream factory, and put the production line to use, creating the hogyoku anti-aging cream. Using his skills as an actor, Aizen had the world fooled into thinking he was the harmless businessman/scientist Takeru Hirako, long-lost son of beauty product tycoon/recluse Shinji Hirako.

For almost two years, the people of Karakura accepted him and the women loved him for his miraculous Hogyoku cream. It all came crashing down when Kurosaki Inc. sued him.

The Hogyoku cream was derived from a formula developed by Kurosaki Inc. scientist Kisuke Urahara. Aizen had snuck in and stolen it from his files, and it had taken Urahara two years to notice that one of his old projects was missing. The lawsuit was enough to draw out Shinji Hirako who re-joined the world and exposed Aizen as a fraud.

Aizen didn't take this very well and barricaded himself into the factory. Hirako decided he would take over production and profits of the Hogyoku cream by selling his company to Kurosaki Inc. after meeting with billionaire Ichigo Kurosaki. Unable to accept the reality of his situation, Aizen chose to end his own life by jumping into a boiling vat of his Hogyoku cream. This would have unforeseen consequences, as the villain Clayface emerged from the tub. Marvelling at his new power, Aizen tried to exact vengeance on those who wronged him, only to be stopped by Batman, but that's a story for another day.

Back in the present, Aizen was staring blankly ahead, as though he really was blind like the man he was pretending to be, but Gin wasn't fooled, he knew the man was simmering under the mask of placidity.

"Gin, we had a plan."

"I know, I know, but I got booorreedd, you were taking too long."

"Well thanks to your theatrics, my plan has been set back a few days now."

"It's not like you need me to get one lawyer off your back."

"I did though Gin, you were supposed to kidnap Jeagerjaques quietly, now I have to arrange something else."

"Oh, don't pretend you don't have a backup plan."

"I do, actually, and since you're here, you can carry it out."

The Joker smiled evily.

"Do tell…"


Kurosaki Tower.

Sitting on his comfy chair, Ichigo reviewed the reports on his desk. Luckily for the company, he was somewhat of a financial genius. His analytical mind was capable of grasping trends and recognising opportunities in the business world, helping to keep Kurosaki Inc. profitable. As long as he made the company money, the board would keep off his back, which made it easier to carry out his extra-curricular activities. He was halfway through his morning workload when his intercom started blinking.

Beep Beep

"Yes Lisa?"

"A Mr Son is here to see you."

"Send him in."

Ah yes, he'd almost forgotten, Gohan wanted to see him this morning. No doubt the Man of Steel wanted to pester him further about joining up with the other superheroes running around the world.

It wasn't that he didn't like the others heroes so much as he felt that Karakura still needed most of his attention. Trying to solve the world's problems would leave his city unprotected, and that's unacceptable.

"Good morning Ichigo."

In walked Superman, arguably the world's greatest hero. Today however, he was in the guise of Gohan Son, mild-mannered reporter for the Orange Star, premier newspaper of the sprawling metropolis known as Hercule City.

Ichigo took a moment to observe his friend, marvelling at the completeness of his disguise. A cheap pair of glasses to frame his face, a suit two sizes too big to help hide his considerable muscle, and an awkward, self-conscious posture made him somehow blend into the crowd. In his 'other job', Superman stood tall and proud as a symbol for truth and justice in red and blue tights.

An alien from the now destroyed planet Vegeta, Gohan possessed the powers of super strength, invulnerability, flight, super speed, energy manipulation and enhanced senses. Gohan had once told him that he called himself Saiyaman in his early days, a homage to his people. However, Videl Satan, the woman who broke the story on him, had named him 'Superman' and the title stuck.

The world had been wary of him at first, but time and time again, Superman proved himself and had become the favourite of the people. The world feared Batman, and that suited Ichigo just fine, but Superman inspired them and had become an icon.

"Gohan, I had almost forgotten you were coming, excuse the mess, it's been a bit hectic here"

Gohan laughed and rubbed the back of his head nervously.

"That's alright, you're an important guy, and you must get busy. So, how goes… you know, your other job?"

Ichigo levelled an intense Bat-glare in his direction. It was still a sore point that Gohan knew who he was. When they first met, it was because an alien survivor from Gohan's world had landed in Karakura and decided to make a nuisance of himself. Much to his chagrin, Batman had not been a physical match for Prince Vegeta and his General Nappa, but with the help of Superman, they were able to trap them in the Dead Zone, a prison in another dimension.

Being the first time he had met him, Batman wasn't aware of the full range of powers they possessed, so he didn't know he would need a lead-lined mask to keep his identity safe. By now of course it was too late, and Superman had at least offered him his identity in return.

"What do you want Gohan?"

"Weeelll…."

"No."

"But—"

"No."

"Come on, think of all the good we could do with co-ordinated responses to the world's problems."

"No."

"Flash and Lantern are interested."

"Uzumaki is an idiot who doesn't have the attention span for something like this and Ikari is too busy chasing tail when he isn't off in space being what essentially boils down to a galactic beat cop."

"Don't you think you're being a bit harsh?"

"No. And speaking of Ikari, one of us needs to have a word with his father about the NERV Project."

Gohan became serious and spoke in his 'Super-voice.'

"Yes, one of us does. Who honestly thinks giant war robots can do anything positive for humanity. It's like a bad plot from a cartoon. Unfortunately, the government seems to be on board with his proposal."

"Only because they know you will clean it up if one of them gets out of control again."

"General Tao is really starting to annoy me. I don't suppose you would be willing to dig up some dirt on him?"

"I'll make a note, but proving anything could be difficult. Men like that don't get promoted because they can't cover their tracks."

General Tao had been one of the loudest voices to speak out against Superman when he first arrived on the scene. Even today, with the support of the people of the world, Tao still considers him a threat and often supports dangerous projects from people like Gendo Ikari and Superman's greatest nemesis, Dr Gero (self-proclaimed smartest man in the world).

Ichigo sighed. Sometimes, it seemed like that for every hero in a costume out there, there was a heap of bad people trying to outdo them. Maybe there was something to Gohan's suggestion of teaming up more often. Some sort of league of heroes to represent the interests of justice around the globe.

For now though, he had enough problems in his own backyard.

Gohan stiffened, and then cocked his head slightly, as though to better focus his hearing.

"Sounds like Videl is getting impatient waiting for me."

Ichigo's eyebrow rose and he smirked at Gohan.

"You brought her with you?"

"Yeah, she had business in Karakura too; it made sense to come together."

"Really?"

"Yeah, it was kind of neat to travel the normal way for once, instead of flying myself– don't look at me like that."

"Like what?"

"Like there's more to this then a friendly business trip."

"Friendly business trip… How cliché."

Most people would never pick it, but Batman actually had a sense of humour. It was very dry and only came out around some people. Unfortunately for Gohan, he was one of those people.

"Don't you start 'Mr Playboy'. I only brought Videl because she's still a little suspicious of me and I don't want her looking at me too closely. You know I have enemies, and Videl can be so reckless. I need to keep an eye on her, but not in that way, not that I'm saying she isn't pretty, or in any way an unappealing woman… Oh stuff it!"

Also unfortunately for Gohan, Ichigo was a master at reading body language, so he knew when Gohan's voice went up a bit and he started rambling and scratching the back of his head, he had him.

"Stuff it? Gee Gohan, don't hurt my feelings. Look, there's a very intimate café down the street, why don't you take her there for lunch, I'm sure it will calm her down. Give the manager my card and compliments; you should get a discount."

Gohan stared at him for a moment, but decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

"I think I will thanks."

Ichigo got up from his desk and walked around to Gohan, grasping his hand and slipping his card into it.

"You have my number, I have yours."

"Sure, have a nice day Ichigo."

Gohan went out the door with one final wave to his friend, and Ichigo turned around and went back to his desk.


"So are we clear on what is expected of you?"

"Oooohhh, of course."

"Good. Remember, discretion is key here, keep the… frivolities, to a minimum."

Joker favoured Clayface with a deadpan stare. Aizen sighed.

"I said minimum."

The door opens behind Ichimaru, and a guard, (not Iba, who went home 'sick') comes in.

"Time's up Mr Tousen."

"Of course, Mr Ichimaru, good day."

Aizen slipped effortlessly back into his disguise and rose from the table, grabbing his cane and feeling his way out. Ichimaru was cuffed again and escorted back to his cell, a sick smile alighting his face.


Ichigo stretched his arms over his head, bored with the paperwork in front of him. Deciding to take a break from his day job, he turned his attention to his night job. Opening the encrypted link to the Batcave Computer, he opened and began reviewing the plans for an improvement to the Batmobile's engine. Ichigo had been messing around with them since Kisuke had sent him an article on optimising engine efficiency that he thought might have 'interested' him.

Engrossed in the plans, time flew by, and before he knew it, it was 2pm and he was hungry. Ichigo decided that rather than ordering in, he would stretch his legs, and stop by the café he mentioned to Gohan. He grabbed his wallet and phone, and made his way out.

"Lisa, I'm heading out for lunch, would you like to join me?"

"Thank you for the offer Mr Kurosaki, but I have work to catch up on and I've already eaten."

"Sure, I'll be back in half an hour or so then."


Downtown Karakura.

'Kaname Tousen' walked through the door into the office, and faced himself sitting at the desk. Aizen allowed his transformation to drop and exchanged it with his original look.

"I take it all went well."

"Yes, thank you for asking Kaname, Gin has business in Dangai, don't strain yourself with his defence."

"Understood… What about the Batman? You must admit, he does make a habit of ruining our plans."

"He is of no concern. I have arranged a distraction for the next few days. This should grant us ample time to make the necessary arrangements. He will follow the plan I lay out for him, or he will die. Either option is fine with me."

Aizen moved across the room and sat in his chair. He rested his jaw on his hand and looked contemplatively out the window.


Café Down the Street.

Ichigo sipped on his coffee while he waited for his steak. Perusing his newspaper, he stopped on the story about the Joker from last night. Hisagi had written a 'man on the inside' story, with an account of his terror at being at the mercy of Joker. It started with a background on why the event was being held and the guests who attended, with a note about the absence of Ichigo Kurosaki. Damn, won't be able to skip the next charity event without a really good reason. The story continues, recounting how the Joker took hostages and the Batman saved them.

The story did a good job of exaggerating his role in stopping the hollows, describing him as a living shadow and whirlwind of destruction. It was a little much, but if it added to his legend, he wouldn't complain.

"Here's your lunch Mr Kurosaki."

"Ah, thank you Nel."

Ichigo flashed his most charming smile and was rewarded with a blush as she rushed away. The teal haired waitress had a crush on Ichigo, which he was careful to not encourage beyond friendly flirtation. Nel was a nice girl, he refused to use her like those high society airheads, nor would he want to drag her into the mess that was his personal life.

As Ichigo was about to take his first bite of lunch, a voice from behind interrupted him.

"You know I don't like sharing, Beloved."

As soon as she said that first word, Ichigo recognised her voice. Batman stiffened in his seat, taking in his surroundings, evaluating escape routes, spotting her two guards hiding among the innocent bystanders and recognising angles of attack should they become necessary. Ideally though, none of these would be necessary and he could maintain the integrity of his disguise.

All of this took less than a few seconds for Ichigo to process. He flicked his eyes over to the source of the voice, Rukia Kuchiki, dressed in a smart white blazer and skirt with a black blouse. An unusual choice for someone trained in the use of shadows, same as him.

'Considering how visible she is, maybe she just wants to talk.'

"Oh? Does my flirting with other women bother you?"

"Flirting? You mean being a manwhore. Just to protect your precious identity."

"Mentioning said identity out loud in public tends to be counter-productive to protecting it."

Rukia smiled indulgently at him. She enjoyed their verbal sparring and knew he did too.

Ichigo for his part was studying her closely looking for any slip of her body language to act as an indicator of what she was thinking. As always, Rukia's face gave nothing away she didn't want to. Studying her, he noticed her hair was shorter than the last time he saw her.

"Haircut?"

"Yes, thank you for noticing."

They stared each other down for another minute, before Ichigo went back to his lunch.

"So what brings you to Karakura?"

Rukia reached over to his plate and stole a chip before he could do anything about it.

"Business."

"Business?"

"Yes. I-"

"Excuse me, Mr Kurosaki?"

"Yes? Oh, Mr Hisagi. It's funny, I was just reading your article before, and I hope you're ok."

"I'm fine, thank you for asking. Sorry to interrupt your lunch, but I was walking by, so I thought I'd ask you in person for an interview about your latest company policy on your exports—"

"It's really simple, you see—"

While the two men talked business, Rukia smiled placidly for the reporter's benefit should he look over. While she did this, she was making hand signals behind her back, instructing one of her guards to come over and flirt with the reporter to distract him away from the table. And being an efficient woman, she took the chance to fluster Ichigo by rubbing her foot up and down his calf; the twitch in his eye told her she was successful. Her attention was brought back to the conversation when she heard herself being referred to.

"So, Mr Kurosaki, who's the lovely lady?"

Before Ichigo could answer, Rukia chimed in with her sugary-sweet fake voice.

"His girlfriend."

Ichigo whipped his head around and stared at her. Rukia basked in his shock and slipt him a look. Ichigo returned her look with a deadpan stare.

Seriously?

Seriously.

The lapse in composure was missed by Hisagi, whose reporter instinct sensed a story. Rukia's trouble instinct also sensed an opportunity. She sent a subtle hand signal to her guard, telling her to wait.

"His girlfriend… Care to comment on the string of women Mr Kurosaki has been seen entertaining in the Karakura nightlife?"

Rukia raised her hand to her mouth in pretend surprise.

"Oh my, a whole string?"

"What are you doing?"

Ichigo questioned her out loud, but knew it was pointless. For some reason or other, he was the only person in the world who seemed to be able to see through her acting.

"What am I doing? You've been running around on me, and you have the nerve to ask me what I'm doing?"

"Hisagi, before you write any of this down, I would remind you who owns the majority share in your newspaper. This woman is not my girlfriend."

"Right, thank you for answering my questions on your export policy. Have a good afternoon."

With that, Hisagi left and Ichigo turned to glare at his 'girlfriend.'

"Did you enjoy that?"

"I enjoyed watching you throw your power around. It was very manly."

"Again, you tease me. I put years into crafting my image, don't be so casual about ruining it!"

"Crafting your image? You mean you do this kind of thing on purpose? In that case why wouldn't you want to be seen with a beautiful young woman like me?"

"How can we be seen together if you're all the way down there?"

WHAM!

Rukia slammed Ichigo's head onto the table, narrowly missing his lunch. She was the only person in the world who could get him so riled up he let his guard down enough to be susceptible to such an attack.

"Did you just call me short, Strawberry?"

"Tch. It means One Who Protects! I've told you a million times!" Ichigo retorted hotly.

Rukia glared at him, before commenting archly.

"A lady is not short, she is petite, and you would do well to remember that."

"Yeah, yeah. Now why are you here, other than to torment me and trick people into thinking we're a couple."

Rukia reached over and laid her hand on top of his.

"Come now Beloved, the only reason we aren't husband and wife is your stubbornness."

Ichigo pulled his hand away.

"It's not just my stubbornness. You're the one who won't leave your father."

"Ichigo…"

"I care for you Rukia, but I refuse to live my life following Byakuya's philosophy. He's wrong; there are better ways to save the world."

"Fool, you two are always forcing me to choose a side, why can't I have both?"

"You could have me. Renounce him, right now and I will be as much yours as you would be mine. I'll call Hisagi and tell him he can run a story on the woman who tamed Ichigo Kurosaki."

Rukia looked down into her lap. As wonderful as that sounded…

"I can't Ichigo."

"Can't or won't?"

"Either?" she replied weakly.

Ichigo sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He looked away for a moment, and when he turned again, Rukia knew she was talking to the Batman.

"What are you really doing here Kuchiki?"

"I came to warn you. I've been sent ahead to prepare for his arrival."

Batman's eyes narrowed.

"My father is coming tomorrow night Ichigo. I believe he intends to force the issue."

"Issue?"

"Concerning you taking over as his heir."

"I haven't changed my mind."

"I know and so does he. My sources tell me he's looking to replace you. But before he can acknowledge someone new, they must first beat the incumbent."

"Me."

"Yes."

"Can't I just let this new guy have it?"

In a rare display of vulnerability, Rukia hugged herself with one arm and looked away.

"Do I mean so little to you?"

Ichigo knew what he said was insensitive as soon as he said it. But Batman drew a line in the sand, and he refused to cross it. So instead he sat in the uncomfortable silence before deciding to change the subject.

"What are your plans tonight?"

"Dinner at your place. I already called ahead; Yuzu is very excited to see me."

Ichigo twitched at her presumption. For some reason, Rukia was the only woman Ichigo had brought home that Juushiro, Yuzu and Karin had ever approved of. They had no idea how Ichigo had met her, or that she was the daughter of one of the most powerful crime lords to ever exist.

Whenever Rukia felt like visiting, they welcomed her with open arms, and nagged Ichigo about when he would finally make her their big sister in truth. Uryuu, Orihime and Toshiro knew their history, and were generally less than welcoming which often led to tension in the household. But for a night with her, Ichigo decided he could be selfish, even if they still have to go back to being enemies in the morning.

"Fine. I guess you can use the guest room in the east wing."

"What? That room is so small it's practically a closet. We both know I'll end up in your room anyway."

Images of the last time they 'shared' a room went through Ichigo's mind and he discreetly wiped his nose. An action that didn't go unnoticed by Rukia.

"It's been fun Ichigo, but I do have preparations to make."

Ichigo Bat-glared her, he knew what that meant. Rukia got up and walked around to his side. She bent down and kissed him on the cheek, like the girlfriend she pretended to be earlier.

"See you tonight Beloved."

With that, Rukia left him at his table. Ichigo finally got back to his lunch which had gotten cold. Nel came over and she looked… displeased.

"Would you like me to warm that up for you?"

"Please."

Ichigo smiled for her, but she wasn't having it. Nel took his plate with a huff, and stalked off.

'Better leave a big tip.' He mused.


Points if you can guess what was on TV while I wrote the conversation between Ichigo and Rukia. Sorry if Rukia's character seemed off, I was trying to balance her banter with Ichigo and Talia's love for Batman.

Also, I would be open to suggestions for a character to be Wonder Woman. To keep with the style of the other heroes, she would need to be a female protagonist from an anime that's reasonably popular and hasn't been covered yet. I couldn't think of anyone who fit the bill off the top of my head, and it's not crucial to the story, so I decided Gohan wouldn't mention her. It may never come up again, but the nerd in me wants to complete the set for an anime Justice League.