Rukia was disappointed. Rather than greeting an enthusiastic or at least somewhat smiling, Ichigo as he returned home from his date with Izuru, she found herself facing a teenager that looked haggard and disappointed. Propping her hands on her hips, she regarded him with her firmest stare.
“Well?” Rukia demanded impatiently, wondering what in the hell had happened this time. “How did it go?”
He slipped out of his shoes and closed the door behind him. “It was good,” he answered tiredly then paused, reconsidering his words. “Until I made him cry.”
Her eyes nearly burst out of her head in shock. “What did you do?” she shrieked, resisting the urge to tear her hair out in despair.
And here, she had thought it would be perfect. The two of them fit so well together.
It had been hard enough getting Ichigo to go on the damn date, and then, he had to be an idiot and make Izuru cry? What kind of moron was he? Did he want to remain alone for the rest of his life?
She thought long and hard about the manipulation it had taken to even make him go.
Ichigo scowled. “No,” he said, as if that were the final answer.
Not one to be easily dissuaded, Rukia squared her jaw. “Have you forgotten my success?” she demanded, gesturing broadly to the far corner and the slurping that could easily be heard. “See how happy your father is?”
His eyebrow twitched, and he studiously kept his eyes in the opposite direction. “I try not to,” Ichigo muttered, hunching over and turning away from the disgusting spectacle his father and his father’s… person were making of themselves.
A really loud chirp of Urahara chose that moment to burble up behind him.
Ichigo flinched. “Besides, that wasn’t intentional,” he added, reaching for his headphones to turn them up another dozen notches.
“Psh.” Rukia waved her hand dismissively before a devious thought entered her mind. She simultaneously sprouted devil horns and grinned mischievously. “It’s with Kiiiiira-san.”
He perked slightly, one hand reaching up to slide a single earphone away from his ear, rock music blaring from the tiny speaker. Which stood to question just how he heard her statement in the first place.
“For real this time?” the boy asked suspiciously.
Rukia nodded enthusiastically, inwardly thinking ‘hook, line and sinker’.
“Cross my heart,” she gushed, something she had learned from Yuzu. A saccharine grin accompanied it.
Still skeptical, Ichigo nodded and snapped his headphone over his ear. “Fine.”
Resisting the urge to dance a pleased jig, Rukia struck a victory pose.
That was way too easy.
Ichigo sighed in annoyance, dragging her back to the present, and turned to glare at her. “I said he had pretty eyes,” he snapped, a bit perturbed with her constant pestering. “Now, can you please stop the matchmaking?”
Rukia gaped. “Come again?” she asked, moving to follow him as he headed into the kitchen and started scrounging around for something to eat, despite the fact he had just come from a restaurant.
Her very dear best friend gave her a look that could have curdled milk as he stuck his head in the fridge and proceeded to tell her the story.
They had chosen to go to a nice restaurant, something in the first district of Rukongai that Izuru had picked out. Ichigo wasn’t really paying attention to the quality of the food. His date looked really cute, the soft blue of his kimono bringing out his eyes. Not to mention there was literally no awkwardness and conversation flowed easily. Yes, it seemed that everything was going to be just perfect and a small – very small, mind you – part of Ichigo was thanking Rukia.
But only a little.
Across the table, Izuru smiled, though it was a small gesture and kind of wobbly. Still, it was nice, and Ichigo thought that he should in all probability retaliate with something. And considering that he was on a date, a compliment was probably a good idea.
“You should do that more often,” he sort of mumbled without meaning to make it so quiet. “It’s nice.”
Izuru brightened just a tad.
Encouraged by this, Ichigo went further and decided to try something else. “You have really pretty eyes, too.”
Crash and buuuuurn.
First, the lower lip quivered, and those beautiful eyes glistened. Ichigo began to get a really, really bad feeling. His spirits sank when Izuru’s fingers spasmed around his chopsticks, and he set them on his plate, looking down at the table disconsolately. His eyes watered.
“T-taichou used to say that…” Izuru sniffled and abruptly bawled, tears trickling down his face.
Ichigo stared in stunned bewilderment, mouth agape as his own ideas of the perfect date collapsed around his ears. He felt it then, the many eyes boring into the back of his skull as the vice-captain wept in front of him. The other patrons of the restaurant were glaring disapprovingly and Ichigo felt a little bit like crying himself.
“It was embarrassing,” Ichigo remarked, feeling a blush staining his cheeks as he leaned his head against a milk bottle for the hell of it. “People thought I was abusing him or something. Che. The waiter brought us our check without me even asking.”
He had felt awful and pretty useless as well. Izuru was crying, and he sat there uncomfortably, not knowing in the faintest how to comfort him.
Rukia sighed. Perhaps it was a bit too early for Kira to date. Or at least, date someone who was as inept at handling distraught people as Ichigo, she supposed. And she had thought it would work out that time, too. They seemed so perfectly matched.
She threw her hands into the air. “Better luck next time,” Rukia announced before turning on her heel and walking out of the room, already plotting in her mind just who she could con into the next date. Preferably someone just as calm as Kira but slightly more emotionally solid. And maturity was a must.
An evil smirk took over Rukia’s face. She had the perfect man in mind.
Back in the kitchen, Ichigo sighed and grabbed a container of leftovers of questionable edibility. Popping them into the microwave, he leaned against the counter and considered his most recent disaster of a date. As the appliance hummed and clattered behind him, he realized that it hadn’t been a complete loss. Without his consent, his hand reached up and brushed his cheek in remembrance.
Nope, not a complete loss at all.
Outside the door to Izuru’s quarters, the vice-captain drew to a halt and offered Ichigo a rather watery look. A sniffle quickly followed it.
“I apologize, Kurosaki-kun,” Izuru mumbled, twisting his hands self-consciously. “Perhaps we can give it another try later?”
Ichigo, slightly embarrassed, rubbed the back of his head. “It was… nice?” he tried, wincing when it came out more of a question. Inwardly, he was cursing Rukia for ever getting him into this mess. He hated that he was the one to make Izuru cry.
The other Shinigami managed a light smile, and before Ichigo knew what was happening, Izuru leaned forward and kissed him gently on the cheek.
“Thank you for understanding,” Izuru whispered, and with that, he disappeared into his home, leaving Ichigo watching after him in surprise, eyes wide.