It is one of those smells that anyone can recognize, completely filling a room and taking over. Ichigo breathes in deeply of the familiar flavor as the microwave dings and busies himself with pulling the bag from the machine. He pops it open, careful of the steam, and pours the popcorn into a bowl. In the living room, he can hear his guest grumbling to himself. It amuses him.
Otherwise, the silence of the house greets him. Karin is at a soccer game, and Yuzu is helping Goat-Face with the patients at the clinic. For the next couple of hours, Ichigo has the house to himself, which is a bit unusual. Even Rukia is out, patrolling with Renji.
Ichigo plans on taking full advantage of the situation. It is one of the first opportunities he has to spend time with his boyfriend, doing something other than fighting and hiding from the others. He’s even managed to distract Matsumoto-san by sending her to Tatsuki as a project. The pounding he’ll receive in return from his friend later will be worth it though; he’s sure of it.
With a smirk, Ichigo scoops up the bowl and tucks two cans between his fingers before sauntering into the living room. Toushirou is perched on the couch, frowning faintly at a magazine as he flips through it. His brow is furrowed with familiar scowl marks, and he looks up as Ichigo enters.
“I certainly hope this ‘action flick’ lives up to my expectations, Kurosaki,” Toushirou states, tossing the magazine onto the table.
Ichigo shakes his head. Even after this time, the only time he can get Hitsugaya to call him by his given name is when they are actually being intimate. It seems to amuse the captain to call him Kurosaki in that superior tone.
“You’ll like it,” Ichigo counters, handing one of the cold cans of soda to Toushirou and setting the snack bowl on the table in front of them.
Blue eyes shift to the dish. “What is this?”
“It’s popcorn,” he answers simply, plopping down on the couch next to his lover and cracking open the can with a loud and echoing pop. He watches Toushirou for a reaction.
Typically, there is a scowl, the usual response whenever there is something that Toushirou does not recognize and doesn’t want to appear too wary of. He tends to get defensive. One hand reaches out, grabbing a handful of the snack and Toushirou tentatively sniffs the buttery corn.
Ichigo rolls his eyes, though he does find that perpetual scowl rather cute. Toushirou wrinkles his nose, pretending to be the stiff, mature adult that he wants to be. Ichigo is aware that Toushirou is a lot older than him, but sometimes, he shows his age in other ways. It’s almost adorable, that indignation. And Ichigo can’t help but always poke at it, just to see his lover’s reaction.
“It’s what you’re supposed to eat when you watch a movie.”
Toushirou eyes him suspiciously. “Why?”
“Cause it’s tradition.” He picks up the remote and turns on the TV and DVD player, watching as the menu screen for the selected movie begins. “Don’t they teach you anything before you come down here?”
The captain snorts. “The important things, Kurosaki. Not ridiculous human customs.”
The music from the opening scenes begins to play from the TV. Ichigo scarcely pays attention, instead watching from the corner of his eye as Toushirou tentatively tastes the popcorn. He rolls the flavor inside his mouth, crunching the popped kernels before chewing and swallowing. He mulls over the taste.
“Well?” Ichigo prompts.
There is a moment before Toushirou shrugs and grabs another handful, eyes locked on the screen in interest. “It will suffice,” he answers.
Smirking, the substitute Shinigami shakes his head. Nor is he surprised when later, Toushirou eats the whole damn bowl all by himself. Or that his kisses taste like butter and salt, along with a faint hint of the candy that he claims he doesn’t like, even if he does.
Because better than the tradition of popcorn during a movie is that of making out just when it gets good. And Ichigo isn’t ashamed to say that he takes pride in teaching Toushirou every one of the “ridiculous human customs.”