Well, I sat down to work on one of my stories today and this happened instead. I think this is the first time in a long time that I've managed to actually write something in only a day, and I'm happy with myself for keeping it fairly short and not stretching it out until it practically needs to become its own story :P
Also, I'm not quite sure where this came from. I think the inspiration was from the ending of A Woman Scorned. You'll see what I mean once you read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any of its characters.
Anyone who had the misfortune of crossing Kurosaki Karin's path today was treated to icy glares and frightening scowls that definitely promised the potential of death. Each and every one of her movements emphasized the boiling rage bubbling inside her, growing more treacherous as the day continued. She also continuously fisted her hands or emitted a low growl under her breath, especially when her usually serene yet sarcastic eyes flashed.
Her football teammates all cast her sideways glances of caution during practice, afraid of saying the wrong thing and upsetting her. It wasn't that the Kurosaki had some sort of excessive problems with anger management, they knew; she just didn't quite realize that when she attempted to channel all of her anger into a football to avoid lashing out on a person, her fiery kicks hurt when they attempted to complete a pass or defend against her. Their coach, however, was always ecstatic when she was in one of her moods, particularly because it meant that she made a killer player against the opposing teams. If she managed to make it last, they could win their game tomorrow without breaking a sweat. No one blamed her for her anger today, though. Many of the teammates were feeling the same sort of agitation she was, considering the devastating news they had just received.
When practice finally ended, all the girls sighed in relief at finally seeing the end of the hours-long training. They all grabbed their bags from the benches in the sidelines, throwing them over their shoulders as they chatted with one another animatedly on their way to the locker rooms. Karin followed their lead, her eyes closed in an attempt to finally reign in her anger. Her face smoothed out, as was usually characteristic of it, and she simply allowed her close friend and fellow teammate, Amami, to jabber on beside her. The girl was nice if not a bit too girlish, but Karin attributed that to her extremely high-pitched voice and flowing brown hair.
When the two girls entered the locker room, the floors were littered with clothes and undergarments, and the showers were already rushing with water. They followed everyone's lead and stepped in themselves, exiting out moments later looking refreshed and far less grimy. As they were slipping on their clothes after throwing their previous, sweat-caked ones in the laundry bin, Amami monopolized the conversation towards the news they had recently received that had upset everyone so.
"What do you think this new company is?" she whispered in a low voice, adopting a tone of impending doom.
Karin shrugged in return, no longer as upset after stepping out of the sweltering heat and washing up, but she still scowled. "Probably someone hoping to make a quick fortune," she replied harshly, snapping the waistband of her shorts into place. "Everyone knows we're a shoe-in for the championship tournament. Why else would someone just buy us now of all times?"
Amami shrank back at her bitter tone, afraid she had just riled up her friend even more. It was true, though. Karin was cursing this new company silently right now. She didn't want a new sponsor for her team, even if it was extremely more wealthy than the last and could provide them with better equipment and other necessities. Urahara's company had been smaller, more personal, and she had greatly enjoyed getting to know all of them. After all, they had been her team's sponsor from all the way back to when she had first been accepted into Japan's national girl's football team, and she had shared so many of her experiences with all of them; even Jinta would be missed, she grudgingly admitted. It irritated her to know that the people she had befriended so closely would just sell out for some money from a hot-shot corporation. And she found herself suspicious of this Jubantai, wondering why they had simply just decided to purchase them one day. She'd heard of them before, aware that they were some electronics company; that in itself was curious, because she couldn't understand what someone like them would want with a football team.
Another woman on their team had overheard their conversation, and she leaned over to inform both of them in a hush, "You know, I heard the owner of the company is here today. He's meeting with Coach in his office right now." Karin froze at the news, and Amami stiffened at her reaction, waiting for the explosion that was sure to happen next.
All the girls jumped out of their skin when a loud bang resonated throughout the room. Trembling in shock, they all swerved towards the locker room door, catching a glimpse of a raven-haired someone storming away towards their coach's office. Amami only shrugged when they all sent her quizzical looks, panicking on the inside about what her friend might do in her anger.
Karin glowered as she stomped down the hall. 'So some hot-shot thinks he can just buy us, huh? I'm gonna give him a piece of my mind!' She didn't hesitate as she arrived at the office, diving straight for the doorknob and twisting it roughly. She stumbled in, ready to begin her furious rant at the tuft of hair she could see spiking up from the chair across from the desk, infuriating her with the way it was acting like it actually belonged there–
She froze. Her hands were fisted at her sides, her breathing ragged, but her eyes widened to the size of saucers and her jaw slackened. The only other person in the room, who had turned when she'd barged in so suddenly, smirked at her in complete amusement, watching her rage unravel with a coolly raised eyebrow. She trailed her eyes over the handsome face, sharpened by a rough jaw and bone structure, the memorable turquoise eyes, and the white hair she had admired the first time she had ever witnessed it. That sarcastically smug expression on his face was exactly the same as she remembered, too, and though it had sparked her biting wit the first time, she found her heart racing now as he directed it at her.
She struggled to form coherent words in her shock. "Y-You..." she managed, wincing inwardly at her stutter but still frozen in surprise on the outside. She remembered thinking during their last meeting that he acted as regal as some sort of wealthy noble, though she had never expected her joking to be actually true. He, in turn, stood up painfully slowly, giving her a view of the outline of his body, which she knew was hard and practically chiseled from rock by the last time she had been pressed against it. His smirk grew more pronounced when he noticed her checking him out, feeling his insides inflate with a smug superiority – and happiness, if he wasn't kidding himself.
Running his fingers through his bangs, he gave a soft sigh. "I had a feeling I would be seeing you soon," he told her, and she jolted at the familiarly smooth voice, which was still tinted with that roughness that had made her shiver the first time – she still did. But it also pulled her out of her stupefied state, giving her the energy to glare at him heatedly.
"Where's Coach?" she asked, careful not to let him hear even the slightest tremor in her voice this time; she knew he would never let her live it down, otherwise.
He shrugged in a nonchalant manner, enjoying the way it seemed to annoy her even more. "He said he would be right back," he informed her, seating himself once again, though he twisted around to keep eye contact with her. She seemed to be cooling down from her previous adrenaline run, and he found himself admiring her figure; she was as beautiful as he remembered, though the wet hair and exposed legs made her even more becoming in his eyes. Her eyes were just as fiery and enchanting as the last time, and her white skin was glowing from the shower. He admired her secretly, as he had been doing ever since he began searching for a way to see her again.
They'd met months ago, both reaching for the same sports magazine at a stand in the bustling shopping center of the city – the only copy left of its kind. She refused to give it to him, attempting to rip it from his hands with mighty pulls, grunting in a cute way that had him hiding a smile. However, he wouldn't give it to her either, never being one for letting others sway his decisions or ruin his plans. So a tug-of-war ensued; he was too proper to ever make such a show of himself, though, so he simply stood straight and clutched it in his hand tightly as she pulled at the opposite end. But her hand eventually slid off the glossy cover, causing her to cry out in shock as she flew back and tumbled towards the ground. His eyes widened as the moment played in slow motion, and he instinctively threw the magazine aside to wrap his fingers around her wrist and hoist her back up. The momentum caused her to to collide with his chest, and the two stood panting at the scene from the aftershock, pressed together tightly and secretly reveling in the feel of the other.
He pressed his lips against her ear and whispered huskily, "Are you all right?" Both his seductively beautiful voice and his cool breath on her ear caused her to shiver as she nodded against him. But if there was one thing Karin hated, it was being treated like a damsel in distress, so she shoved him away. She would have started some sort of scene, except the stall owner cleared his throat to call for their attention. It turned out the magazine they had been fighting over, already half crumpled and ripped up from their tugging, had ended up in a small puddle on the curb when Hitsugaya had thrown it away in his haste to protect her. Sheepishly, the two had to split the cost of it to pay for the damages and appease the infuriated owner. When it became apparent to Karin that she would not be getting her desired magazine that day, she coolly exchanged names with Hitsugaya Toushiro, who was apparently the bane of her existence, before stomping away angrily. What she didn't notice was the way Hitsugaya watched her walk away until she disappeared from his sight.
It didn't take long for him to find her. He easily discovered hundreds of fabulous articles about the MVP of Japan's national football team, and it just piqued his interest in her more. He would spend hours reading up on her everyday, learning of her modest childhood and loving family, and even how her love for the sport originated during her very early years, when she would play with a ragtag group of male friends. The most intriguing article, however, was one that described how the company that sponsored her current team had become like her second family to her; she spent endless amounts of time with them and treated them with ever-present adoration. When he first learned of their bond at his office desk, he intertwined his fingers together and rested his head on them, deep in thought as he reread the piece of writing. His brilliant intelligence allowed him to make connections with what he had just read and reality; if he was to become the new sponsor of her team, it would increase his chances of growing closer to her, like this Urahara had. Of course, he was aware it could have the opposite effect and earn him her bitter anger instead, but he was confident he could change her opinion of him if such a thing was to happen.
And so the battle began. He put forth a request to buy out the team from Urahara's company, ruthlessly attacking the opposition and offering obscene amounts of money. If anyone in his company asked, particularly his nosy secretary, he simply assured them he thought this to be a wise investment for their future, though he knew the purchase would actually prove to have no purpose to them. Even so, he was extremely successful and wealthy, meaning he could pay any price put on the table with visions of Karin dancing through his head all the while. He wouldn't necessarily call his obsession 'love at first sight,' or anything that serious, but he would admit to a steadily growing infatuation; at the very least, he couldn't help but dream of what it would be like to take her out on a proper date, to hold her hand in his and exchange flirtatious quips over the dinner table.
But Urahara was relentless. Though it should have been impossible considering the small size and insignificance of his company, he matched each of his offers with his own, calmly smirking behind that aggravating fan of his in a taunting manner. Finally, seeing as he had no other choice, Hitsugaya made an appointment to meet the man personally. With an embarrassed flush covering his face, he explained his intentions to the eccentric man. To his credit, though he'd been grinning foolishly when they'd first met, Urahara actually presented him with serious attention when Karin was mentioned, though that fan of his never left his face. It was his partner Yoruichi that finally convinced him to sell the team away, if only to see the two get together.
"Karin may not realize it herself," she remarked with a cat-like grin, "but that girl seriously needs to get laid."
So, completely mortified but still proud of himself, Hitsugaya was now the proud sponsor of Japan's national girl's football team. And a certain hot-headed Kurosaki beauty – who was still glaring daggers at him, he might add, though it only made her that much more charming in his eyes.
"Is this the way you treat everyone who owns you?" he asked lazily, purposely using all the wrong words to get a rise out of her. To his satisfaction, her eyes flashed dangerously, and he enjoyed the scowl that overtook her face.
"You don't own me," she snapped, though the way she turned to jelly when he just looked at her proved otherwise. She would admit that she had been rather attracted to him when they had first met. Perhaps that was why she'd acted so childishly around him, actually engaging in a tug-of-war for a magazine with a grown man; she didn't particularly handle men that well, which meant she usually ended up acting out in front of them. It was just one of those quirks she hated about herself, because it meant none of her encounters with men ended the way she wanted them to. If anyone knew her well enough, they would have been able to tell that all she had really wanted was to actually take him back to her place – without the magazine, if that was what it took to get him to agree. But even with that heated spark she felt for him, Karin had her pride and independence to protect, so she folded her arms and asked him hotly, "What are you playing at, anyway, just suddenly buying us out like that?"
He smirked at her accusations, cocking an eyebrow to imply that he thought them amusing. "Not everyone needs to have an endgame," he answered casually. "Maybe I just wanted to help your team."
She snorted at his justification, not believing a word of it. People didn't suddenly just spend ridiculous amounts of money for no reason. And there was no way he had just bought them out without knowing she was a player; the chances of that were outrageously low, so she knew she'd played a part in his decision. But what?
"I can tell that you're still suspicious of me," he spoke up, eyeing that glassy look in her eyes as she analyzed him, probably trying to figure out his intentions. Well, he would make sure that she knew soon enough. Standing up from the chair for a second time, he slowly made his way to her, giving her a chance to back away if she wanted to. She didn't, and he admired that persistent courage of hers. He came to a halt right before her, gazing into her eyes silently as she did the same. After a moment, he finally lifted a hesitant hand, using it to softly brush some of her short hair away from her face. Though it had been up in a messy ponytail when they had first met, she had let it down now to let it dry, and he found that she was quite beautiful either way.
Karin breathed in softly at his action, holding it when he didn't move his hand away immediately afterwards. Instead, he continued to play with her; the lock he had just pushed away ended up between his fingertips, and he twisted it before tucking it behind her ear. Then he continued to sift his fingers through the rest, causing goosebumps to erupt down her spine from the soft touch. Aside from his one hand, neither had moved a single muscle throughout the exchange. But when he slipped his hand out of her hair and stroked her cheek once, Karin suddenly realized what she was allowing to happen and pulled away, blinking rapidly in confusion.
"What was that?" she demanded, and was embarrassed to hear her voice crack. Toushiro didn't answer right away, gazing at her curiously instead. Finally, he gave a weary sigh, placing a hand over his eyes.
"Forgive me," he murmured, ashamed of himself for losing his control just from getting too close to her. The scent of her shampoo wafted to his nose, and he felt his stomach coil at the inviting smell. There was just something about her that drove him crazy, even making him act completely unlike himself. If he still had any ounce of his sensibility left when he was around her, it would be telling him to keep his distance before he destroyed his own reputation for her after building it up for years. Luckily for him and his growing affections, any inhibitions he possessed simply abandoned him in her presence, which meant he could get as close as he really wanted without having traitorous second thoughts.
Karin angrily folded her arms, giving a small huff when he became lost in his musings and didn't elaborate further. "No," she griped. "I will not forgive you until you explain to me what's going on in that head of yours." She wanted direct answers to her questions. True, she wasn't as angry as she'd been when she'd first stormed in – she attributed that to their new owner turning out to be this deliciously sexy man she had once had a crush on – but that didn't mean he was automatically off the hook. Karin had a way of getting what she wanted from people, and she was confident he would be the same.
Hitsugaya gave a weak chuckle at her inquiries, keenly aware that there was no way he could let her know what was running through his mind – not unless he wanted to be labeled a pervert. So, instead, he sent her an apologetic look he didn't grace upon just anyone. "I already told you," he attempted again, trying wholeheartedly to sound sincere so she would believe him this time, "I just wanted to help your team." Before she could bark at him again, he placed a large hand on her dainty shoulder, allowing his eyes to soften. "Or, at least, I wanted to help you."
Karin opened her mouth to say something, but no sound came out. She was having some trouble understanding his words. Did he just say he bought their entire team for her? Yes, she had thought about him more than once after they had first met, but she didn't think he would have spared her a second thought. Amami always complained that she wasn't feminine enough, and that because of this, she could never leave a lasting impression on men. And she certainly hadn't gotten her hopes up about Toushiro after the immature way she had acted towards him. But if he had truly done all this for her benefit, then did that mean he... liked her?
'Okay, let's not jump the gun, Karin,' she scolded herself, not willing to let herself get carried away only to be disappointed later. Even so, his next words certainly weren't helping to slow down her overwhelming fantasies.
"I'm sure you know my company is very wealthy," he continued, only half trying to show off to her. "If you ever need anything, you only need to ask me and I'll do whatever it takes to get it for you." The emphasis on the 'you' did not escape her, and she found herself flushing under his intense yet passionate gaze. Who would have ever thought the spit-fire Kurosaki sibling could ever get a man to bend to her whims this way? Certainly not her, though she couldn't stop herself from feeling exceedingly flattered.
"That can't be the only reason," she muttered, trying to find something to cling to that would help her steady her thudding heartbeat.
He chuckled low at her words. "You're right," he agreed, smirking without humor because he knew he was going to crush that suddenly hopeful expression on her face. He bent down low so they were face-to-face, and she gaped at him out of the corner of her eyes when he suddenly brushed his lips against her already red-tinged cheek. "But I'm sure the real reason is not something you would want to hear right now." Pulling back, he grinned at her flabbergasted face. And just to see that adorable blush on her cheeks grow, he added in a suave voice, "But ask me again after our first date, and I think it could lead to something good."
She was like a fish out of water after hearing those words. Hitsugaya felt his smile grow as he watched her attempt to pull herself together, but his face evened out when he heard footsteps in the hall getting closer to them. Sure that Karin would not want to be caught in such a position by anyone that knew her, he stepped away from the girl. When his back hit the chair he had previously sat in, he took to admiring the posters on the office walls with much more fervor than they deserved. A moment later, the coach of the team came striding in. He paused in the doorway when he came across the scene, however.
"Oi, Kurosaki," he called, causing Karin to jump but stay firmly rooted in place. The man grinned over at her, rubbing his chin as he gave her back a once-over. "Were you sizing up Hitsugaya-san here? I know how you've been acting about this." Karin simply shook her head without offering a peep, afraid that her words would betray her flustered face, but it caused the coach to narrow his eyes at her. He turned to Hitsugaya instead, sending him an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, Hitsugaya-san. She means well, but I hope she didn't cause you too much trouble."
Toushiro held up a hand, shaking his head to negate the man's statement. "No, no trouble," he added stoically. Inside, however, he was attempting to mask his glee about the reaction he was receiving from Karin over his advances. If she responded this strongly, then surely it meant he stood a decent chance in romancing her. He just had to play his cards right to win her favor, but he had a feeling he was halfway there already.
The coach scratched his chin again, unsure of what to make of their strange behavior. Finally, he just shook his head and fully stepped into the room, marching over to his desk. "All right then, Kurosaki. If you don't have any business here, then get going and rest up for our big game tomorrow. Me and Hitsugaya-san need to have a chat."
"Yes, Coach," she mumbled in return, heading for the door. Before she could get too far, however, Toushiro shot out a hand and grabbed onto her wrist. The coach was too preoccupied with finding something in one of his bottom drawers, meaning he had no view of them. Taking advantage of the situation, Toushiro pulled her back against his front and wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Good luck on your game," he whispered to her. Karin felt herself go rigid against him, attempting to control the frenzy of emotions and hormones his action had caused. Breathing out slowly, she finally gritted her teeth and, to save face, she elbowed him in the gut. He lost his breath and stumbled back, and Karin wasted no time in stomping on his foot.
"Screw you!" she yelled, scaring her coach out of his mind. "I'm going to win without your luck!" And she ran out of the room as quickly as she had first barged into it, refusing to turn back and look at him.
While the man at the desk spluttered apologies and explanations for her unruly behavior, Toushiro simply curled the toes of the foot she had stomped on and rubbed his stomach where she had elbowed him, feeling a grin overtake his face as he watched her run away. She might have just pushed him away in an attempt to protect her pride, but her efforts were in vain and completely unsuccessful; despite her hasty attack and retreat, he'd clearly heard the mewl that had escaped her lips when he'd whispered in her ear, and that pink-tinged, deep blush on her cheeks as she'd run out was something he would never forget.
Forget what he previously thought. He was pretty sure that, when it came to winning her favor, he was all the way there already.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the random fluff ^_^'
Let me know what you thought!