It was worse than usual today, Shuuhei noted with some annoyance. They were staring again, and one woman had even giggled as he passed. He had checked the mirror, but there was nothing on his face or in his teeth. His uniform was clean. Maybe his hair could stand to be brushed but nothing to warrant their behavior.
He didn’t understand it at all.
Every time he looked up from his desk, nearly tearing his hair out in frustration over the heaps and heaps of paperwork he hadn’t even begun to put a dent into, he could feel their eyes on him. A small part of him thought that maybe he was being pitied, and it was slightly irksome. If they were so sympathetic, they should come give him a damn hand with the paperwork and save their understanding.
With a sigh, Shuuhei forced himself to calm down. He was overreacting far too much over a little bit of staring. It must have been the stress getting to him. After all, Soul Society was down three captains at the moment and was faced with a crisis. It was only logical that he would be just the slightest bit disquieted.
It was for that reason, and many others he didn’t care to contemplate, that he allowed Yumichika, Renji, and Ikkaku to drag him out of the stuffy office late that evening. Izuru and Kurosaki-kun were elsewhere, doing Kami-sama only knows what, probably things that Shuuhei never wanted to know.
As he contemplated his missing companions, Shuuhei frowned moodily and swirled the alcohol in its cup. He watched the liquid slosh around and around, debated drinking it, before tipping the cup back and swallowing the sweet drink. He grimaced as it burned on the way down, though he welcomed it.
“Psh. Kuchiki-taichou knows shunpo an’ kidoh!” Renji was arguing in the background, shoving his fist in Ikkaku’s face. “He’d kick ass!”
The eleventh division member was unimpressed. “No fuckin’ way. Zaraki-taichou can take hella damage!”
“Honestly, boys, have you nothing better to do than to repeat tired arguments?” Yumichika inserted airily, sipping primly at his Pina Coloda because it was beautiful.
Tuning them out unconsciously, Shuuhei attempted to relax and cast his eye over the crowds at the bar. It was then that he once more noticed the ever-present staring in his direction. Not just a few women this time but men as well. Stealing glances his direction before hastily returning to their drinks.
A low growl echoed in his throat. “They’re doing it again!” he cried exasperatedly, slamming his cup down on the table.
At the bar, several pairs of eyes hurriedly turned away.
Renji and Ikkaku broke off their lengthy discussion of which captain would win in a fair fight only to stare at him and blink in confusion.
“Uhh, doin’ what, senpai?” Renji asked, turning towards the other tattooed male.
Shuuhei twisted his jaw, jerking his head towards the bar. “Staring!” he exclaimed in annoyance.
His friends exchanged glances, Ikkaku furrowing his brow, which looked comical when combined with his bald head. “Who?” he questioned, craning his neck to look around. “Someone wanna start a fight?” But he didn’t see anyone looking particularly aggressive, just the usual bunch mooning over Shuuhei.
“No,” the vice-captain countered, shooting his idiotic friends a disbelieving stare. “The women. They’re staring at me again. Like they have been all day.”
His closest, dearest friends stared at him in amazement for all of a moment.
“He’s serious,” Renji stated with awe in his tone.
Shuuhei rolled his eyes, moodily downing the rest of his drink.
“But it’s so obvious!” Ikkaku declared, shaking his head. “Dude, you’re hot!”
Their entire table went silent.
The bald Shinigami quickly corrected himself, “No, you’re not. I mean, that’s not what I meant to say!”
“Yeah! It’s the hair!” Renji added, nodding wisely. “An’ the tattoos and the scars. But mostly the tattoos! I should know!” He pointed his thumb at himself, grinning broadly.
“Right! You are, but you’re not. Get us?” Ikkaku inserted with a smirk, saluting Shuuhei with his mug of beer.
The dark-haired Shinigami blinked. “Uhh… no.”
At the opposite end of the table, Yumichika sighed dramatically and rose to his feet. “Gentlemen, if you would please?”
Both Renji and Ikkaku looked up as Yumichika waved his hand at them. In the understanding that comes from those who have been friends for far too long and knew the consequences of not obeying, both men moved aside. The fifth-seat promptly plopped down – ahem, lowered himself beautifully – into the now empty seat next to Shuuhei. Clearing his throat delicately, Yumichika set his purple gaze on the suddenly nervous vice-captain.
“You see, Hisagi-san. You are what they call a very sexy man. Ridiculously good-looking, if you will,” Yumichika explained slowly, one hand patting Shuuhei’s.
The vice-captain blinked again. “I am?”
Yumichika grinned, blindingly bright sparkles suddenly dancing around his head and making Shuuhei wince. “We are the beautiful people. Welcome to the club,” he chirped.
He was uncertain if he should be proud of that, so he settled for a safe, “Err, thanks?”
The fifth-seat beamed. “Now, you get it.” He rose to his feet, patted Shuuhei on the arm once more, and cast a glance at his other, idiotic friends. “Problem solved,” he declared before sashaying away with a sway of his hips, presumably to convince one of those at the bar to buy him another drink.
Yumichika never paid for drinks.
Meanwhile, at the table, Ikkaku and Renji exchanged glances before abruptly bursting out into laughter, the bald Shinigami going so far as to beat the table with his fists.
Annoyance quickly replaced bewilderment. “Why are you laughing?” Shuuhei huffed, throwing peanuts at their stupid faces.
Wiping at a pretend tear, Ikkaku gasped out, “Dude, Yumichika just called ya beautiful.”
“I can’t believe ya didn’t realize it before,” Renji added with a snort.
He shared another guffaw with Ikkaku before the two of them clinked their mugs and proceeded to gulp down all their alcohol in one fell swoop.
Shuuhei, without his consent, suddenly felt the flames of embarrassment tickle at his cheeks, likely also influenced by the amount of alcohol he had consumed. “I’m not that hot,” he mumbled to himself , but even then, he could feel the eyes staring in his direction.
He could practically feel himself being mentally undressed.
It was unnerving.
The ninth division vice-captain sank lower where he sat, trying to hide behind Renji’s hair and Ikkaku’s bulk as he idly considered shaving his head and picking fights he couldn’t win. After all, it seemed to work for his so-called friends. But no, his pride would never accept such losses.
He was doomed.