ZA: (spreads arms dramatically) I have heard your pleas and have answered.
Crispy: What pleas?
ZA: You know, the ones that got sent to me that you never read...because I don't actually show them to you. Apparently, my minions have an unofficial representative.
Crispy: Like President of the Zsugami Alba Fan Club?
ZA: Sort of...not really. Let's just do the disclaimer.
Crispy: Okay. Who's up this chapter?
ZA: No idea. We lost our little card.
Crispy: That's what I get for not saving a digital copy. Poke your head out the door and see if anyone is milling about.
ZA: (pokes head out the door) Hey, you! Yeah, you. Want to disclaim?
Disembodied voice: Disclaim what? What have people been saying about me?
ZA: That you're incredibly creepy, but that's not what you need to disclaim.
DV: Well, why would I want to? I've worked hard to cultivate that reputation.
Crispy: NO! Not him! Find someone else!
DV: Is that Crispy? Is this a disclaimer?
ZA: Isn't that what I said? Look, do you want to do this or not?
(DV pokes his head in the room to reveal he's Captain Kurotsuchi. Crispy cringes.)
Kurotsuchi: Zsugami Alba does not own Harry Potter or Bleach. Although, I might be able to arrange something in exchange for a few samples.
Crispy and ZA: NO!
(They shove Kurotsuchi's head back and slam the door in his face.)
Crispy: What were you thinking?
ZA: He was the only one out there. Besides, now the disclaimer's done. You're welcome.
Chapter 32: Guests
The rest of Ichigo's and Haru's visit to the Sereitei was uneventful and involved copious amounts of candy, courtesy of Captain Uketake. "I can't believe the Sereitei has their own flavor of Kit-Kat!" exclaimed Haru. "Soul candy flavor! Huh. I wonder what that tastes like."
Ichigo rolled his eyes. "It's over-rated. You know, we've been here a couple of days. We should probably think about heading home. We wouldn't want Dad to get worried and try to invade Korea."
Haru nodded in agreement. "Yeah, especially since we didn't tell him if we'd be in North or South Korea."
Ichigo looked at him sideways. "Seoul is in South Korea."
Haru stopped and furrowed his brow. "Really? Huh. Learn something new every day."
"It's a good thing we didn't say we were headed to the National Geography Bee," mused Ichigo. "Dad would never have believed us."
"Definitely," said Haru. "You get lost all the time. Geography is definitely your worst subject."
Ichigo looked offended. "MY worst subject? I remember you saying, 'Scotland? Isn't that a region in Australia?' and being completely serious."
"I'm just a really good actor," sniffed Haru. "I was absolutely messing with you. I know it's in Ireland."
"Hogwarts should really teach geography," said Ichigo, shaking his head.
"How? Most of the important wizardy places are unplottable."
"They could at least make sure you know which country you're in."
Haru shrugged and took a bite out of his Kit-Kat. "Hm. Interesting. Is this what soul candy really tastes like?" He broke the candy bar in two and held one half out to Ichigo, who took it and gave it a sniff.
"I dunno," he shrugged. "Let me see." Ichigo took a tentative bite and chewed thoughtfully. Then he nodded. "Yeah, that tastes like crazy."
Haru looked at his half. "Crazy tastes good."
"We're home!" Haru and Ichigo set their bags of Sereitei goodies down and changed into their house slippers. "Dad? Karin? Yuzu?"
"Finally! I thought you would never get here!" Draco Malfoy strolled into the foyer with an exasperated expression on his face. "I've been sitting with the muggles and looking at your baby pictures for ages."
Haru didn't know what to address first. He finally settled on "What are you doing here, Malfoy?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Isn't it obvious? I'm visiting for the summer hols. You're welcome. I'm sure you could use the excitement my company will bring."
Haru exchanged frowns with Ichigo before turning back to Draco. "Some advance notice would have been nice. It's kind of rude to just show up on someone's doorstep like this. How long have you been here, anyway?"
"I told you," sighed Draco, " Ages, but don't worry. I packed enough for a month's stay."
"In a hotel?" asked Haru, optimistically.
"Why would I stay in a hotel when I can stay with you?" asked Draco.
Karin shoved past Draco and stood glaring in front of Haru, arms crossed. "He showed up about an hour ago, demanding to be received as an honored guest. Are you seriously friends with this loser? He's insufferable."
Haru shrugged. "We're not close. We're not even in the same house. I mostly just tolerate him."
"Hey!" Draco cried. "I'm a delight!"
Karin snorted. "Whatever. I'll be in my room. Tell him if he doesn't stay out of my way, I have a soccer ball with his name on it." She turned and headed up the stairs, ignoring Draco's indignant sputtering.
"What's a soccer ball?" He asked Haru.
"Think bludger, but bigger," Haru smirked. "I'd steer clear of her if I were you."
"Haru! My darling son! You're home!" Isshin rushed to crush Haru in a smothering embrace, but was stopped by a swift foot to his face. "I'f miffed you," he mumbled against the foot, arms still reaching for the unamused younger son attached to it.
Ichigo rolled his eyes. "You do remember you have two sons, right?"
Draco's face contorted with incredulity as he observed this reunion. "Insane, the lot of you. My father would be absolutely livid if I ever kicked him in the face."
Yuzu walked up and patted Draco on the arm. "You get used to it," she said. "Would anyone like dinner?"
After dinner, it was decided that Draco would sleep in the clinic. There were plenty of empty beds, due to Isshin's recent, unfortunate affair with music. Draco, however, was less than grateful. "So you want me to sleep in this...hospital?"
"Clinic, Draco," Haru corrected. "Dad treats patients here. Like the hospital wing. They don't normally need to stay very long."
Draco fingered the sheets on his cot distastefully. "What's the thread count on these sheets?"
Haru frowned and scratched his head. "Um...sterile? They're cotton."
Draco sighed. "Well, I suppose next time I'll know to bring silk sheets from home. Cotton is best when the thread count is 1000 or higher."
"I'm still not sure what you mean by 'thread count', but I wouldn't start planning your next visit just yet. Dad isn't too happy with you. Not only did you show up unannounced, but you didn't even bring a host gift."
Draco leveled a look of supreme condescension at Haru. "I am the gift, Kurosaki."
"Of course you are. How silly of me."
Draco thought he detected sarcasm, but before he could remark on it, there was a knock on the door of the clinic.
Haru sighed and went to answer it. "Guess we have a patient. Do me a favor and go tell my dad he's needed in the clinic."
Draco looked alarmed. "You don't expect me to sleep here in the same room as sick people?"
Haru glanced back at him and smirked. "Don't worry. We'll put up privacy curtains so they're not traumatized by your presence." Draco's response was ignored as Haru opened the door to reveal…
"I believe you said something about an open invitation?"
"Toshiro!" Haru cried happily. "You got time off! Come in, come in. Is that a host gift?"
Toshiro looked at him oddly. "Yeees. I confiscated Matsumoto's stash. I know you're considered too young to drink it, but I thought your father might appreciate it." He held out a box of sake bottles. Haru pulled one out to inspect.
"Ah, yes. A very good year, I'm sure." He turned a pointed look at Draco. "What a thoughtful gift. You're such a welcome guest."
"Well, it would be rude to show up empty-handed," Toshiro said.
"Yes," Haru agreed emphatically. "Yes, it would be. Very rude. And you're not rude at all, which is why you've been invited as a dear friend."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I told you, I am the gift."
Toshiro looked at Draco in shock. Then he turned to Haru. "Someone gave you a boy? I thought that was illegal now."
Haru sighed. "He means his company is the gift. I get to give him back eventually."
Toshiro looked Draco up and down, eyebrows raised. He didn't seem impressed. "Does he...do anything?"
"Not really. Does complaining count?"
Draco sniffed. "Well, I'm exhausted from all my travels. If you don't mind, I'd like to retire now."
"Goodnight, Draco," said Haru. "Come on, Toshiro. Come meet my dad."
Crispy: It's not very long, but…
ZA: It seems finished.
Crispy: Just setting things up for adventures with Toshiro and Draco. That'll be fun.