The music was chipper and bubbly, a nice mix of pop vocals and dance-like beats. It poured through the speakers at an obnoxious volume, which tended to waft out into the hallway of the mall. Bright colors were nearly blinding as they covered each one of the three walls and lined every display crowding the sales floor. Despite all that, however, the shop was packed full of customers.
Chad, stoic as usual, didn’t let it bother him in the slightest. He waded into the crowd, a few extra funds in his savings allowing him one extra purchase. He had been looking forward to getting a new shirt. Perhaps something in a palm tree print. Tan and bright green maybe.
The teenager idly poked through the racks and let his eyes scan the wall, looking for something to perk his interest. Hangers scraped along the metal bars, adding to the disjointed pop beat blaring from the speakers. Luckily, having spent a good deal of his time around Keigo, Chad had learned to tune out annoying noises.
Just when he was beginning to believe that he would be leaving the store a disappointed customer, Chad caught sight of something from the corner of his eye. A single shirt, looking to be the exact size that he needed, hanging from a rack alone and forgotten in the corner. Lo and behold, it was even tan with a palm print.
How lucky could he be?
Using his superior height and reach, Chad moved his arm around a display, one finger hooking part of hanger. He tugged but met resistance. Frowning, he tried again, and to his surprise, discovered that someone else was doing much the same.
Chad blinked, but didn’t relinquish his hold on the desired shirt. He slowly turned his head to the side to assess his rival.
“Sado-chan?” asked the stranger who actually wasn’t a stranger. “You shop here, too?”
Chad couldn’t help but blink again. “Kurosaki-san?” he replied in stunned amazement.
What was Ichigo’s father doing here? And giving him that goofy grin, for that matter.
Then, his eyes flickered to the shirt partially in his possession. Ichigo’s father had control of the other half. The answer came to him, loud and disturbingly clear. Neither of them were ready to acquiesce to the other.
“You have great style,” Kurosaki-san chirped, his grin stretching wide across his face as he winked at Chad.
Chad was finding it increasingly harder to believe that this smiley creature was Ichigo’s father. Perhaps his friend was adopted, as some of their schoolmates had suggested on numerous occasions.
“Just like me!” the older man added, pointing to himself with his thumb.
A great sense of horror overwhelmed the tall half-Mexican. He felt himself sweatdrop, just like in anime, as he abruptly released his hold on the shirt.
“Excuse me, Kurosaki-san,” he quickly lied. “I have to go and… do something.”
Before the doctor could even blink, Chad was turning on his heels and walking with great determination towards the door, trying his best not to push the other shoppers out of his way. But Kurosaki-san could not be silent for long.
“Come by for dinner sometime, Sado-kun!” Ichigo’s father called out to him in a voice louder than the music blaring from the speakers. He was even waving in an overly broad manner, the hard-won shirt dangling from his other hand. “We can share since it appears we wear the same size!”
Chad hurried away even faster, nearly diving out of the store and into the safety of the crowded walkway between shops. Inwardly, he vowed that it was time he gave in and changed his wardrobe. The last thing he wanted was to dress like that insane man for the rest of his life. He didn’t even know where to begin, but luckily one of his best friends had a great sense of style. He would just have to ask Ishida.
Wouldn’t the Quincy just be thrilled?