The music was loud and throbbing, pulsing through his veins and reverberating in his ears. It was techno, a heavy dance beat, and yet strangely, it was beautiful, according to Yumichika. Ichigo wasn’t quite sure what to think of it himself. It was the first time he had ever stepped foot into a club, especially with the aid of his handy-dandy “Shiba Kaien” ID card.
The substitute Shinigami found himself shrinking against the wall, trying to blend into the shadows since most of the lights were directed onto the dance floor. The throb of people flailing their limbs to the beat was causing the floor to shake. The masses were a wave of motion, and he had absolutely no desire to wade his way into the tide.
His date, however, had other plans in mind.
Pressing a cold glass into his hand, Yumichika sidled up to his side. “Drink this,” the fifth-seat practically shouted, trying to be overheard over the loud music. “You’ll like it.”
Ichigo glanced dubiously at the brightly-colored liquid. It looked as if it would rot his teeth with sugar and send him into an alcohol-induced coma all at the same time. He held it between his fingers with the same uncertain distaste he would a photograph of a nude woman. No interest whatsoever.
A finger prodded him in the side. “Drink it,” Yumichika urged again, smiling with his cheeks attractively flushed as he sipped delicately at his own fruity concoction.
Hesitantly, Ichigo raised the glass to his lips and took a drink. The flavor exploded over his tongue, not as bad as he thought. It was tolerable, he supposed. Yumichika hovered at his side, watching him with those piercing purple eyes, as if he felt owed some sort of response.
The substitute Shinigami shrugged. “Good.”
Yumichika beamed, complete with sparkle action. Ichigo still hadn’t figured out how the man managed to conjure glitter out of thin air. Perhaps that was his zanpakutou’s special ability.
“Great!” Yumichika chirped and suddenly grabbed his arm, flouncing forward and dragging the boy along with him. “Let’s dance!”
He said that as if Ichigo had a choice in the matter when it was absolutely clear that he didn’t. The substitute Shinigami didn’t even bother to protest as he fought to maintain a hold on his drink, the liquid sloshing out over his fingers. Yumichika weaved through the press of people with amazing dexterity, somehow managing to make it to the middle within moments.
It made Ichigo wonder how he had gotten into this mess in the first place. Ironically enough, it wasn’t entirely Rukia’s fault. She hadn’t even asked him first this time, after all, only casually making a statement to Yumichika. The fifth-seat, however, had taken it as a suggestion.
He should have known something was up when the door bell had rung and he had answered it to find Yumichika standing outside.
“Yumichika-san?” Ichigo stated with some surprise.
The man beamed with that smirking laugh he seemed to have perfected. “Ichigo-kun!” Yumichika exclaimed. “Right on time. Let’s go.”
Ichigo blinked at the seemingly random statement and opened his mouth to respond. Yet, sensing the impending question with an instinct that surpassed any bloodhound, Yumichika darted forward, clamping his fingers around the substitute Shinigami’s wrist. Ichigo grunted as he was propelled out the door with a strength that belied his companion’s slim form.
“Wait? Wha–” he began ever so eloquently as he stumbled along after the other man. “Where are we going? And why?”
Yumichika looked over his shoulder, giving Ichigo a glance that clearly stated just how dumb he thought that question was. “On a date, silly.”
“A date,” Ichigo repeated flatly, throwing an accusing glare over his shoulder towards the female gamely waving goodbye from his front door.
“Have fun!” Rukia called out, flicking her fingers at him before stepping back inside his house and shutting the door.
It was a waste of energy to get angry with the bitch. It rolled off her back like water, as if she were immune to his fury.
A hand suddenly plucked Ichigo’s drink from his hand, dragging him from his memory. It was Yumichika, the fifth-seat already beginning to move his body to the music. The boy couldn’t figure out where his unfinished glass had gone. Around them, the music abruptly changed to another song, though considering the beat was the same, Ichigo couldn’t really tell the difference.
“Dance,” Yumichika urged. “You’re thinking too much.”
He made it sound so easy. But to the substitute Shinigami, who had never danced in public a day in his life, he had nowhere to begin. Awkwardly, he shifted his feet a little, trying to get a feel for the rhythm. The press of people was getting thicker, causing him to edge nearer to Yumichika. The fifth-seat didn’t seem to mind, sidling closer and moving with his own special sort of grace.
The good thing about the loud, pulse-pounding music was that it negated the need for conversation. One was likely to grow hoarse simply asking their date’s favorite foods or movies. In any case, it allowed Ichigo’s mind to wander.
He idly wondered, in the midst of it all, if Izuru liked to dance. The multitudes of people and noise didn’t seem like something that would suit the third division vice-captain, but then again, he was friends with Renji and most likely Ikkaku and Yumichika by proxy. He was probably used to loud things.
It was with a faint blush that Ichigo realized he wouldn’t mind seeing Izuru dance. Further, he wouldn’t mind making a fool of himself on a dance floor if he could get a laugh out of the blond Shinigami for it. Izuru really did have a nice smile when he allowed himself to let it out.
“Are you having fun?” Yumichika suddenly questioned right in Ichigo’s ear, causing the substitute Shinigami to startle.
Ichigo blinked, then reddened when he realized he had committed the rude act of thinking of someone else other than his date. “I…” he trailed off.
The other male simply smiled and patted his cheek in a fond gesture. “It’s okay,” Yumichika said, speaking just loud enough to be heard without having to resort to yelling. “I know you have your eyes on someone else.”
And from the sparkle of mischief and knowledge in those purple irises, Ichigo had the sinking feeling that Yumichika knew just who it was already.
The boy furrowed his brow. “Then why go on a date?”
“I wanted to go dancing!” the fifth-seat chirped knowingly, as if that made perfect sense.
And it probably did, in Yumichika’s own version of the world. All glittery sparkles and such.
“And only a moron would take Ikkaku. I mean, you’ve seen that dance,” he added with distaste, a look of disgust momentarily marring his features.
Unfortunately, Ichigo hadn’t been able to wipe the memory of the supposed “luck” dance from his mind. It was cruel of the man to remind him, and the two of them shuddered in mutual aversion. One time had been enough for Ichigo. He didn’t want to ever be forced to witness such a thing again.
“Now relax and just have fun!” Yumichika insisted with a bright smile.
With a complete lack of expectations on his date’s part, Ichigo felt marginally better about the situation. No need to impress, he didn’t have to worry about his severe lack of dancing skills. And he relaxed, smoothly and unconsciously moving in time with the music.
“And afterwards,” the fifth-seat added, throwing his arms around Ichigo’s neck for good measure. “We can karaoke. I know this great place. You’ll love it!”
Ichigo fought the urge to run and hide in the corner.