It was already December 23 when Keigo stopped throwing him sidelong evil glares from afar and blurted out what he'd been chewing on since the beginning of the month.
"So which one of them are you taking out tomorrow? (you traitorous bastard, enemy of all men.)"
"Taking out?" Ichigo asked, mildly puzzled. (Only mildly, because he was used to Keigo making no sense. Or randomly bursting into tears, since he'd heard the news.)
Keigo threw his hands in the air in sheer disbelief. "Christmas Eve! The most important romantic holiday of the year! Hand in hand in the snow! Kissing under a pine tree!"
Oh. More crazy nonsense. Ichigo blinked slowly and tuned him out, waiting for class to start. However freaked Ichigo was at having two girlfriends (seriously how the hell had that happened), Keigo always freaked out three times... more ... than he d...
... dating holiday?
"Unhand me this instant, Kurosaki Ichigo!"
"Oh my, oh my, so forceful!"
"Oh no, Kurosaki-kun, we're in public, we shouldn't--"
Ichigo was a fast runner, but by the time he had reached the school roof with his double burden he was red up to his ears and it wasn't from the effort. Since she was swinging her legs like a delighted little girl and therefore this close to kicking him in the nose, he swung Orihime off his shoulder and back on the ground first. He got an elbow to the gut from Rukia for his trouble, which prompted him to drop her right on the spot. She landed on her feet like a cat and immediately whirled in on him.
"What possessed you to -- to --"
"Kidnap us!" prompted Orihime, clapping her hands and beaming.
"... Right from the classroom!"
"Oh, it was so romantic! Thrown over your shoulder -- kind of piraty. Avast, me hearties!"
Rukia quirked an eyebrow at Orihime, and then made a "aha!" face and turned back to him, eyeing him clinically. "Were you overwhelmed by a fit of manly passion?"
Ichigo was dating a pair of madwomen.
"No. I just, for tomorrow--"
... would they kill him if he admitted he'd forgotten? Wouldn't he be the worst boyfriend ever? Crap, it wasn't like he'd asked to be their boyfriend, they'd ambushed him. With all that nonsense about Team Girls and courting and "you're not already dating Kenpachi or something" and whatnot.
Not to say he wanted to break it off. Because he, uh, mostly liked it. In a what the hell, why not way. In a it'll be the death of me but everyone must die at some point way.
It would be weird if his life suddenly stopped being crazy, anyway.
"Oh, Christmas Eve?" Rukia said, so bland that for a moment Ichigo thought this was another of those recent cultural trends she didn't know about and he was going to have to explain how he'd failed her... "We've got it planned out. Just don't do something stupid and get flattened before then."
"Oh." Relief made his shoulders sag; he sighed, feeling silly for the overreaction. Neither of them was angry or hurt that he'd forgotten, and he didn't even have to come up with something. Then he thought about it again and his brow furrowed. "... You have it planned out?"
"Yup," assured Rukia. Orihime nodded enthusiastically.
"What is the plan?"
"Well, at first we thought that we should split -- one of us would get you on the 24th, the other one on the 25th, right?" said Orihime. "That would be fair."
Ichigo nodded, wary.
"But then we thought, throwing coins around is dangerous, you could hit a passing crow, and what if we accidentally broke something arm-wrestling for it--"
Rukia nodded like that was actually a concern.
"--but then we thought, it would be double the fun if we could both see you on both days!"
He scratched his jaw, aware that he was reddening. Well, he supposed that made sense. Would look damn weird, two girls on his arms in the street, or at a fancy little restaurant, but he was getting used to the baffled, shocked, or plainly jealous stares it attracted and the embarrassment that came with it. So long as both Rukia and Orihime were fine with it, who cared what other people thought anyway, right? Yeah.
He kinda liked it, that they got along like that. That they liked each other too. He'd rather not have said yes to either of them than watched them compromise, sacrifice something, .
"Well. Alright then."
"We should have enough blankets for everyone," continued Rukia matter-of-factly.
Ichigo had a small heart attack.
"What the hell does that mean."
He wasn't squeaking, for the record. It was a very manly sort of... of...
"You guys can't sleep over! Are you crazy?! My father will barge in three times a night -- ten times! He'll--" interrupt us, he wanted to say, but then his mind flashed to what exactly would be interrupted and switched the words very fast, "wake us up--"
"Only if we're actually asleep," said Rukia.
"That's the problem!"
This wasn't a squeak either. Just a slightly strangled sort of growl. Yes. Did they actually mean -- okay, so Rukia, yes, he could see her meaning to -- to -- (steal his VIRGINITY) do THINGS -- but Orihime was too innocent to understand her fiendish plans.
"But the refractory period is a natural phenomenon in men," Orihime piped up, fidgeting like she did when she was embarrassed, yet still saying it oh gods above why. "And even if you do fall asleep, um, after, I'm sure some endurance training--"
Ichigo opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. "...Inoue."
"...Unless you don't want... Oh." She hung her head, long bangs falling across her eyes in shame and misery. Rukia glared evilly at him and patted Orihime's back.
"There, there, of course he wants, he's a teenage boy." Another pointed glare. "Don't you?"
Ichigo was torn.
Compared to, say, Keigo or Mizuiro, it seemed he'd never given dating and all that came after it a lot of thought -- he'd wondered a bit, sure, before that shinigami thing, but afterwards he'd been too busy with training and fighting and worrying about all his friends and training some more. And then he'd ended up with two surprise girlfriends, before he could even really ...
Dating two girls was already ... er -- but sleeping with two?
He was probably a failure of a man for thinking so, but if he wanted to be frank with himself, it was actually kind of terrifying.
"...Kurosaki-kun?" said Orihime very quietly as she bit her lip. Ichigo felt like a heel.
"It's not that I don't -- I mean, you two are -- but -- you two, I mean--"
"Ah, I see," said Rukia, eyes narrowed in thought. "That is indeed a lot of responsibility for one person, especially a raw beginner."
Ichigo glared a bit and then reluctantly nodded, face approaching scarlet. "Yes, exactly."
"Well then, the obvious solution is that as you lie wilting and exhausted--"
"--as men are wont to do, being so inherently lacking in stamina, us of the superior female persuasion take the opportunity to help each other out."
Ichigo's brain exploded for the, oh, fourth time in five minutes.
"Great!" Rukia gave his arm a friendly punch (ow), and then tapped her lip with her fingers, thoughtful." As for your father..."
"Oh, we could go to my place!" Orihime said, bright and happy once again. "I'm sure my big brother wouldn't mind."
Ichigo knew that, no matter how Orihime believed her big brother still watched over her from some intangible place, this came down to 'if he were alive.' Or even 'if he were still hanging around as a ghost'. Which he wasn't. Ichigo knew that for sure. But considering how his luck ran...
Ichigo wasn't actually sure being eaten alive by a Hollowified Inoue Sora mid-coitus for sullying his baby sister would be worse or better than being interrupted by well-meaning advice from his own dad as the old goat ate popcorn from the side of the bed.
On second thought, being devoured by a Hollow sounded slightly preferable.
"Alright," he capitulated, only slightly strangled. "Sleepover at your place. Okay."
"Great!" replied Rukia, with the tone of the one who had never doubted the answer a single second and who didn't have the faintest idea why it had taken so long to come out. "Now let's go back to class before the teacher mounts a heroic rescue."
"Oh," said Orihime, and Ichigo braced himself. "Could we carry you? It was so much fun, it's only fair to trade. Kuchiki-san, if you get his legs, we could try it bride-style?"
"Won't fit through the doors," Ichigo opposed before the idea could take root in Rukia's evil brain, and then caught a shoulder in each hand and turned them around so he could herd them back to the staircase. "You'd knock my head on a doorjamb and dump me on my ass down the stairs."
"Oh. That would be bad. But later? Um," she whispered, flushing, and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "Tomorrow night? Because, um, I have this pirate hat I always wanted to try..."
"Hey, wait a minute here, you want to abduct me?"
Rukia smirked and patted him on the butt. Ichigo turned scarlet again. He might have jumped as well. Perhaps. A tiny little bit. "Don't worry. We will be good pirates. You'll be ravished properly."
Another hand landed on his butt and patted dutifully. "Arr, me heartie!"
If Ichigo reached the classroom ten seconds before they did, it was for some unfathomable reason that did not in any way involve running away.
Three misshapen creatures seemed to be dancing on the balled-up paper that had bounced off his head a second ago. The issue was, of course, that it had then went on to bounce on Keigo, and while he was willing to let Ichigo look at it he wouldn't hand it back.
Two of them were bunnies. Well, one of them was a bunny. The other seemed to be a bunny with a boat on her head. Both of them were holding big curved swords.
The third was a ... bunny with short ears, of sorts, and while it looked at first glance to have a sword, it wasn't... per se... holding it.
Also the shape of the sword was really peculiar, even for Rukia's usual level of skill. It seemed to have been drawn with a lot of application.
"I think," Mizuiro said after a great deal of deliberation, "that it's a bear wearing a condom."
Ichigo tried to unsee it. He didn't succeed. It fit much too well with the 'don't worry, we'll take care of this!' and the pointed arrow.
God. The both of them and him. In bed.
He ... he thought some part of him was starting to look forward to it. Some small part, well-hidden behind the embarrassment and the utter panic. Rukia and Orihime. Orihime and Rukia. With only one of them, he knew, he couldn't have at all. He didn't want either of them to be his first, not in a way that meant the other one would be second -- the second choice, the unfavorite. But this way...
Mizuiro tilted his head, and then tilted the picture. "Are those bunnies kissing?"
Keigo flipped Ichigo's table, and then burst out crying.