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Pen Your Pride

Awkward Moments

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That afternoon when Ichigo stepped onto the path up to his house with Rukia, he suddenly felt the small shinigami grab his sleeve. "I know I said I would be fine with Hitsugaya Toshiro coming over here with that man, I have to be frank with you that I am highly uncomfortable around Ichimaru. I don't trust him around the small taicho despite the fact that both of you have voiced that it is all right."

"It isn't just me, Rukia... but my father too." Ichigo paused for a few seconds, then turned towards her. "Truth of the matter is, I honestly don't trust Gin any more then you do. I feel I can trust him not to harm Toshiro, but beyond that... I don't think his mind works right. I have to do this for Toshiro though. Everything has been shaken up for him recently."

"I think the easiest solution would be for Ichimaru to go back into jail and for Toshiro to forget that he and that man interacted." The small female sighed, slipping into the house and dropping her bags by the front door, before heading up the stairs. Ichigo quickly followed her, glancing around to make sure that Karin and Yuzu weren't around, then slipped into the room.

Rukia plopped down onto the bed, crossing her legs as she did so. Ichigo let out a sigh and sat down in his computer chair. "That's like me forgetting that my father's a shinigami, isn't it?"

"I'm not privy to the details about what is going on." The small shinigami frowned at her friend.

At that, Ichigo paused for a few seconds. "The one thing I know for sure, I don't think Gin would ever intentionally harm Toshiro. I got that from the way they acted around each other."

"He could be doing this because he wants something out of Hitsugaya Taicho." Rukia closed her eyes. "I know that you say otherwise. But I've never felt comfortable around that man. How can Hitsugaya Taicho?"

"It's complicated." Ichigo paused for a few minutes, thinking things through. "It maybe due to the fact that while Gin's got a habit of making people uncomfortable around him, he never did that to Toshiro in the past. So, it would make sense that Toshiro wouldn't have the bad memories that everyone else has." The look on Rukia's face said she wasn't at all convinced.

Later on, Ichigo found himself inviting Ichimaru and Toshiro into the house. The atmosphere between the three males felt tense to the substitute shinigami. That said, he found himself being as friendly as possible, somewhat glad that Rukia was in the kitchen helping Yuzu. He wasn't sure how to introduce the two males to his siblings either.

To his complete surprise, Karin and Toshiro already knew each other and he watched as Toshiro in some ways relaxed around his sister, but also tensed up. And then came the fact that Karin popped a question out of her mouth that rather shocked her brother. It took him a bit of time to figure out that the two were related, but she figured it soon after she met the second person. The whole thing felt eerie to him.

Ichigo watched as the small taicho's eyes suddenly went wide, his entire body freezing. Gin had been smirking the whole time, only to suddenly have his face falter, his eyes opening slightly. Finally, Ichigo spoke up. The conversation progressed and Ichigo watched as Toshiro began to fidget. Glancing over at the silver haired man, Ichigo feared that he might say the wrong thing.

"Why don't you and I check to see if Yuzu and Rukia need help in the kitchen." And with that, they headed into the kitchen, where the two females glanced up in surprise.

"He wanted to know if we could help." Gin stated, a grin on his face, acting as if nothing serious was going on.

"Ichi-nii..." Yuzu simply looked at her brother. "Can your friend take you out of the kitchen so you don't set anything on fire?"

At that, Ichigo suddenly paled and continued to drag Gin back to his father's clinic. "I guess we'll go visit dad then."

At that, he slipped in through the clinic door, while Ichimaru frowned. "Why did you think of volunteering when you knew you would get that kind of reaction?"

"Shut up." Ichigo grumbled.

His father peeked around the corner. "I am just shutting everything up. And no Ichigo. You can't help." The man then paused, a smile spreading on his face. "Hello Ichimaru. How is Toshiro doing? He isn't still dealing with that rash is he?"

"He still itches once the medicine wears off, but we made sure to put some on before he came over." Gin stated, watching as the orange haired teen was about to have a fit.

Isshin continued to smile and he waved them into the office to sit while he finished up. "So, has Toshiro met Karin and Yuzu yet? They are around the same age physically and he could use making some friends around his age."

Ichimaru sat down, while Ichigo sulked in the corner. The younger Kurosaki male spoke up suddenly. "Actually, Karin and Toshiro have already met and seem to be very good friends."

At that, Isshin paused, watching as Gin's face contorted, becoming more serious about the situation. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't repeat that I said this to Toshiro, but I figured you aught to know Isshin that Shiro-chan doesn't just think of Karin as a friend."

At that, the dark haired Kurosaki male blinked a couple of times. "So... you're telling me that Toshiro has a crush on Karin-chan?"

At that, the teenager flustered up suddenly. "Hold on a second!" He waved his hands back and forth trying to negate what was just said. "You just saw how they interacted in there. That isn't much to go by, is it."

"Don't pay attention to my son. He is an idiot." Isshin stated aloud. "You saw something in Toshiro's dream then?"

"What I saw and what he says tells me he's in complete denial about his feelings. He's just hitting puberty though, so I guess it is understandable." Gin stated, glancing over at Ichigo, who simply looked at the two shell shocked. "I don't think your son is used to parents talking about their kids around him. He's almost old enough to get married and have a family of his own."

"So, why did the two of you come in here." The eldest of the males continued on as if nothing had happened, as if the conversation was normal. And truth be said, it was likely very normal.

"Karin saw Gin and asked if she was Toshiro's father." Ichigo stated.

"So?" Isshin shook his head at his son. "Look... I don't know how well you remember that incident with the parakeet son, but Karin had the ability to see his memories. With her being able to see ghosts comes a high level of empathy. I'm not surprised that she could tell something like that. Anyways. I'll see the rest of you at dinner. I need to finish things in here."

At that, it was Gin's turn to drag Ichigo away and they headed back to the room and Karin glared at him, while Toshiro simply looked at them, his face saying that he was emotionally drained. Ichigo commented about the fact that Yuzu didn't want him burning down the kitchen to avoid saying that they went and spoke with their father, which might lead to Karin finding out the man was a shinigami.

However, Karin spoke up. "I know that you are hiding something, Ichi-nii."

"We went and visited your father in the clinic." Ichimaru stated, telling the truth as he leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Toshiro from behind him, leaning over the back of the couch to do so.

At that, Rukia walked into the room. "I don't know if he's keeping you in the dark about the whole matter regarding Hitsugaya and Ichimaru, however that might be it."

At that, Toshiro glanced up. "You're still stuck on what Hanakari kid said, aren't you? He is such a pain in the ass."

"I know what you mean about that." Karin stated, shaking her head. "Jinta has a crush on Yuzu really bad."

"Well, Ichimaru's history back in Soul Society isn't... well, it doesn't lean towards me trusting him." Rukia sighed.

At that, the small taicho let out a sigh. "You promise not to repeat what I am going to say to other people in Soul Society?"

"You don't have to tell her if you don't want to, Shiro-chan," Gin stated, having pulled away once Rukia had come into the room, catching onto the fact that the small female was still far from being comfortable with the unsaid and unknown situation between him and Toshiro.

"She'll keep looking at both of us strangely unless I tell her." Toshiro glanced away. Then, without waiting to hear her promise, he spoke up. "He's my otousan."

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