Chapter Four : Hajimemashite?
Ichigo was glad it was a weekend and school was not until tomorrow. He still had half a day to tour Byakuya around and show him what it actually were in the human world. Who knew if he could teach this nobility a lesson or two?
Escalators and elevators were no biggie. People from another realm were also no biggie. But being jammed in an elevator with several weird-smelling people was another story all by itself! Byakuya was sporting an obvious frown that continued to worsen as trip went on and the people came and went without giving any ease to dear Byakuya-taichou. The three Shinigami were pushed in the far back of the elevator and as soon as Ichigo said, “Here we are”, Byakuya shove all the people unceremoniously with his reiatsu as if re-enacting the division of the red sea.
Ichigo had to force Byakuya to eat some random human food. It surprised him that Byakuya knew how to eat steak as well as cope up with table settings that showcased more than one spoon, one fork and one knife. And when Byakuya took out that gold card, Ichigo shuddered. This pompous taichou had money from his world! And, mind you, loads of it!
Everything would’ve been fine had there not been seven Hollows lurking right outside the shopping mall they were in. The siblings immediately popped in a soul candy and instructed the mod souls to take care of Ichigo’s body as he shifts to his Shinigami body.
Seven hollows, my god!
Perhaps three Shinigami walking together was not a good idea. After all, Ichigo and Byakuya were more than enough for a reiatsu main course and Rukia could serve as either appetizer or dessert. Ichigo found it annoying that how many Hollows still chase after Shinigami to eat them knowing so well that the black-donning souls were trained to slay them eventually.
From annoying, it went on to being creepy, as several kept on saying how “tasty” and “yummy” and “savory” Kuchiki Byakuya looked like and that they would like to sink their jaws on his soul. Don’t they even see that white robe with the Gotei 13 symbol plus the number six? Tasty, yummy and savory Kuchiki Byakuya was 6th Squad Captain of the Gotei 13. And just how many Hollows could kill a Captain? Last time Ichigo counted, ah, well, none that he knew of. Perhaps that is why they were called Hollows. How… Hollow-skulled!
But – ho! – that’s not all! Ichigo had to keep a good eye on an Arrancar-looking Hollow who kept on calling Rukia “my cute Shinigami princess”. Great, perverted Hollows. If that thing hadn’t gone down in the next few minutes then he would and will go Bankai not because he had to but because he just felt so… to save Rukia and nothing else. She was supposed to bedessert, after all. (Hmm, if Rukia were dessert what flavour would she be? Strawberry!) A cute, er, small Shinigami like Rukia helplessly being eaten by a god-forsaken Hollow was not an appealing sight. It was not because he had any other reasons (to call Rukia “his cute Shinigami princess”, that Hollow had a hell lot of nerve).
He was actually doing Rukia a favour!
He was such a gentleman. Someone should praise him, really.
The Hollows went down, all right and the Hollows were taken to where they belonged. It had been several times that Ichigo saw that opening door of Hell but he still hadn’t gotten over the goose bumps everything. But there was no way in hell he was letting Byakuya notice that. So he watched, Zangetsu resting on his shoulders as he strictly instructed his brain to instruct the nerves to instruct every part of his body not to twitch in the weird feeling he was getting.
And, of course, who could forget thugs? Yes, Karakura was getting infested by various thugs perhaps as much as Hollows. And those thugs seemed to have a problem with Ichigo’s hair color (don’t they always?), Byakuya’s good looks (good what?) and Rukia’s pinchy-winchy cuteness (okay, that’s it!). Well, it was a good cool down after Hollow bashing. Ichigo could not believe that Byakuya was actuallygood in hand-to-hand combat. Side step to the left, hard right chop to the right… He had to hand it to Byakuya for having the most graceful ways of street fighting Ichigo had ever seen.
So before anything else happened, they decided to call it a day.
No, wait. Ichigo had a few more problems.
“No. I am not sleeping in anything that looks like a box.” Byakuya told Ichigo upon arriving in his room and setting sight upon the closet.
“You can sleep on the bed, Oniisama.” Rukia smiled.
“What the heck are you – oof!” Ichigo fumbled as Rukia sent a kick to his face. If Byakuya was not sleeping in a box then come hell or high waters, he was not sleeping in a box either! He was sleeping on his bed in his room! That was it! Byakuya could sprawl of the floor for all he cared!
“Don’t worry. I ordered a traveling futon in the boxes.”
What was that? Traveling futon!? A futon you can store away and roll out with ease just like that? Where did he get that? Sereitei TV Shopping?
“Oh, good! Ichigo can sleep on that!”
“What!” Ichigo blasted.
Why had he forgotten to say that he had the last say regarding major decisions regarding his room!
“This is my room, midget!” Ichigo blasted, “What the hell do you think you’re doing saying I can use the traveling futon?!”
“And this is my Byakuya Niisama!” Rukia stepped forward, “What the hell do you think you’re doing making him sleep on the floor?!”
“He has been doing that in the past few years of his soul life in Sereitei!”
“Byakuya Niisama is sleeping on the bed!”
“Stop bickering because I have no intention of once again jumping like a fugitive out the window when your family hears weird noises again.” Byakuya told the two younger ones but was glaring at Ichigo, “I brought the futon but I can still sleep on the bed.”
“What do you mean, it’s my pleasure to let you sleep on my bed!” Ichigo stomped towards Byakuya.
“Ichigo!” Rukia came in between Ichigo and Byakuya. She was leaning forward towards him, his face lifted towards his in quite a distance as he looked down on her. From here he could put his hands on her cheeks and crush down on a passionate… Wait a minute, why is Byakuya climbing on his bed?
“Get the hell off there!” Ichigo grabbed Byakuya by the arm who defiantly grabbed his arm back with a sharp “touch-me-not” glare.
“Ichigo!” Rukia made her way in between her brother and Ichigo and tackled the latter by the waist. Both of them fell, Rukia on top of Ichigo whose back met the floor. Byakuya’s eyebrow twitched so before Ichigo could process anything, he immediately sat up and shove Rukia properly to one side.
“Let Niisama use the bed.” Rukia was now imploring.
“Tell me why!” Ichigo found it hard to glare at Rukia who was now using puppy dog eyes on him.
“Don’t embarrass me like this, Ichigo.”
A short pause.
“Fine.” Ichigo sat cross-legged on the floor, “Where’s that damn futon?”
“In the box under your bed.” Byakuya replied, “Which reminds me that I have to take a bath and change clothes.”
It was hard but Ichigo and Rukia were able to convince Byakuya to take a bath later and just change first in the closet no matter how cramped up it was in there. Ichigo grinned upon hearing thuds and thumps and small curses from highly-honored guest Kuchiki Byakuya. He emerged out of the closet with an irritated look on his noble face as he stroke his hair back from being slightly disheveled.
And then it was Rukia’s turn to change. While she was at it, Ichigo went to the bathroom to wash himself up. By the time he was back, Rukia had rolled the traveling futon out for him, for which he was thankful… except that the futon right beside the bed. If he hadn’t known better, he could be stepped on by Byakuya who was now already lying on his back. His eyes were closed but Ichigo wasn’t sure if he were already asleep. And as Rukia crawled into her box, er, room, er, closet, Ichigo looked at the futon he would be sleeping on. After making sure that he set the chair and other things to block the door in case his father barges in after unlocking the door, the orange-haired boy sighed, turned off the lights and went to bed.
Ichigo thought he had just gotten into sleep when he felt something moving beside him. He opened his eyes and looked to his right and stifled whatever noise his mouth was going to create as he eyed Rukia beside him.
“You midget, get up!” Ichigo murmured as he shook her, “You’re brother’s going to kill me!”
“Hmm?” Rukia groggily opened her eyes, “Ichigo? What are you doing in the closet?”
“What?” Ichigo blinked and looked around.
Holy hell! He was in the closet!
Ichigo sat up and grabbed the door. Byakuya was so going to kill him when he finds him shirtless while crawling out of his sister’s sleeping place. Wait a minute. Shirtless!? Why was he shirtless!? But that wasn’t the problem. Ichigo pulled the door… which was so damn stuck!
“Rukia!” he turned to present the problem to the small Shinigami beside him.
“Hmm?” Rukia, who had just went back to lying down on her side, sat up with one eye closed. Her sleeve fell off her right shoulder, revealing quite some skin to make him gulp.
“The door’s…” Ichigo felt his self sweating as he looked on, “…stuck.”
“What?” she opened her eyes, “Pull harder.”
She reached across him, her body brushing against his and Ichigo thought he shivered being in contact to her skin-to-skin. Rukia pulled and fell back towards him, her cheek against his chest. Electricity jolted through Ichigo’s veins. They were in a small, dark, closed closet that presented various images and ideas to Ichigo – who was a normal, human, teenage boy with a petite Shinigami who happened to be female.
Her breath on his skin was more than he could handle.
Hormones are damned!
Ichigo grabbed her roughly by the shoulders before surrounding her with his arms and crashing his lips down on hers. Every fiber on his body was tingling and he released a moan as Rukia’s fingers traced patters on his skin.
“Rukia…” he sighed.
“Hmm?” she responded with her violet orbs looking at him. He opened his mouth something until he felt something heavy on his stomach.
“Augh!” Ichigo’s eyes snapped open as he crunched from the impact on his abdomen. His vision swayed as he tried to focus at someone who was towering before him. Who was this?
“Ah? Did I step on you, kozo?”
Ichigo coughed, as he rolled to his side, curling up to endure the pain from the weight that suddenly came and left his belly. In his mind he was pounding Byakuya’s head, banging him on the wall, tossing him out of his bedroom and shouting a million and one curses.
“Have you no intention of getting up?”
Ichigo continued to cough.
It was then that he realized that Byakuya had already changed out of his sleeping clothes and into normal human clothes. The aristocrat was currently bending, using Ichigo’s mirror as he combed his locks.
If I ever happen to grab you by the hair, you pompous piece of Kuchiki mutton…
“Ohayou…!” said a female voice from the closet.
Ichigo froze and only his eyes moved towards the direction the voice was coming from. His heart was pounding and he recalled the dream. Ichigo checked his body and he was wearing a shirtl. Oh, okay. It was all a dream. And it was normal. After all, he was a growing teenage boy with healthy hormones and it just so happened that Rukia was sleeping in the same room as they were. Rukia was female. What’s wrong being normal? Now if he started dreaming about Ishida in bed, that’s when he’d start reviewing his life.
“Ara? What’s wrong with you, Ichigo?” a uniform-wearing Rukia asked, hopping out of the closet.
“I dreamt I was a doormat.”
“Just how stupid is that?”
Exactly. Just how stupid is that?
“Ohayou, Byakuya Niisama.”
Byakuya nodded back, “Ohayou.”
The older Kuchiki then walked towards the window saying he was going out ahead of them because he had matters to be taken care of. Whatever they were, Ichigo didn’t ask and didn’t care. After seeing her brother off, Rukia closed the window and stretched.
School meant no Byakuya! Yay for Ichigo! Yay for school!
Ichigo got up from the futon and proceeded to figuring out how to roll it back. Rukia laughed and mocked him a little before showing him how it was done. The Shinigami Representative then proceeded to remove everything he used to block his door as he scowled and complained, cursing traveling futons in between. Who thought up this kind of thing, anyway? Urahara? Now why wasn’t he surprised?
“Why did you jam all those things?” Rukia blinked.
“Well, it’d be surprising if they found out there was a girl in my closet but it would be highly disturbing if they found Byakuya on my bed.”
“You have a point.” She nodded, “Can’t you just lock the door?”
“Rukia.” Ichigo stared, pulling the chair back, “My dad.”
“Oh, I forgot. And about that…” Rukia proceeded to approach the closet and gather her things, “… Why is your dad like that? Don’t you invite friends over?”
“Oh, never mind.” Rukia turned and said, “I’ll be going off first. Bring something to munch on for us, okay?”
“’Kay.” Ichigo nodded.
And Rukia jumped off the window.
“Ohayou, Kurosaki-kun!” Orihime smiled at him.
“Ohayou.” Ichigo replied in his usual tone with a slight wave. His gaze went towards the room where he spotted Ishida looking at him with the word “Pervert” written all over it.
“Yeah, and ohayou to you, too, Ishida.”
Ishida nodded and shrugged but as Ichigo passed by him, the Quincy muttered, “He staying with you?”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Ichigo replied, flinging his bag over his shoulder.
“Where is he now?”
Ichigo side stepped to make way for and dodge Keigo’s flying body towards him.
“Ohayou, Keigo.” He looked at Keigo who fell chest first on the floor before lifting his gaze towards Mizuiro, “Ohayou, Mizuiro.”
“Ohayou, Kurosaki-kun!” a female Shingami voice chimed in. Until now, Ichigo could not understand how Rukia could put up the act every time in school.
“Ohayou, Ruk- Kuchiki-san.”
Ohayou, Rukia, you bunny fan midget with a horror for an older brother.
The entering of the teacher ushered everyone else back in and to their seats. After a carrying out the greeting routine for their teacher, Ochi Misato, she proceeded to call out names for attendance. After this, Ichigo was expecting her to announce that they had a new transfer student/exchange student/someone else and Byakuya will step in right on cue but to his blinking surprise and delight, there was none.
No high and mighty Kuchiki Byakuya in school!
Yay for Karakura High School!
When the classroom door opened, Ichigo held his breath in and then out when their Principal came in and announced that they was a college student from Tokyo University who was going to conduct a study about high school students and would be using their class for observation.
Ichigo could just feel it right in his veins.
The Principal then signaled for the stranger to come in.
Oh, stranger my ass!
“Boys and girls, this is Kuchiki Byakuya. Let us all give him a warm welcome.”
“Hajimemashite…” Byakuya added and bowed, “Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.”
And hajimemashite my foot!
- End of Chapter 4 -
Author: I wanted to elaborate on what happened in the shopping mall and stuff but I thought this chapter isn’t for that. For those who don’t know, “Hajimemashite” is the Japanese phrase for a first meeting of “How are you?” and “Yoroshiku onegai shimasu” means “Pleased to be your acquaintance.”