Summary:  The Gotei 13 is holding a party with a theme Kira very much dreads.  Random and humorous with possible OCC because Kira has far too many issues (like myself).
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite.

Jyuushiro was holding another party this year, and it would follow the same theme as the last thirty. 

Given how last year’s party ended for him, Kira was a little hesitant in going. 

He didn’t fancy being paired up with Kenpachi again and the month he spent in the infirmary being tended by that...far too good looking woman as a result.  It was uncomfortable and it was months before he heard the last of it and now...

Kira didn’t like parties.  Kira was more at home with his books and his library.  Kira did most definitely not appreciate being dragged along to these potentially humiliating affairs; sadly Gin was Kira’s captain.

And so, on this fateful night, Kira was to be found dragging his feet at Gin’s heels.  His head bowed with veiled anger at his captain for pressurising him into this again with possible promise of an introduction to the person Kira massively admired and was more than a little attracted to.  He should have known he really should have known that good things didn’t happen to him! 

They arrived uncomfortably early as was Gin’s habit.  Everything seemed to be designed to make him feel worse than he did and Kira even felt resentment at Ukitake’s hospitality.  Honestly, the party didn’t start until eight so why oh why did he let them in half an hour early?  A good host would have ignored Gin’s insistent tapping – that’s what he’d have done in a similar situation. 

So, now he perched on the low sofa, uncomfortably sober in the presence of this very very old man, and didn’t it show in his dialogue?  Kira didn’t know where to look as Ukitake stared at him with that gentleness that was disarming and asked him all sorts of questions he didn’t think he knew the answer to until asked.  Damn him!  Now he knew, now he knew of his attraction, such was his conversational finesse, and oh dear what was that heated sensation on his cheeks?  I am blushing.  I am blushing.  Must.  Stop.  But as soon as he thought that his blush flared with a vengeance. 

Kira held out his hand for the sake at last, at the least if anyone else came he could attribute it to alcohol intake. 

Gin prowled around the room, like a big cat loose. 

Kira really wished the old man would stop staring. 

At exactly eight o’clock Hitsugaya arrived with Matsumoto who wasted no time in ‘accidentally’ dropping her purse allowing her to stoop low to show off her cleavage.  Sadly there was no audience because Gin was too busy sniffing the wood panelling and Kira just wasn’t interested – women like Matsumoto were just too scary, and Ukitake was too busy coughing.

Seconds later Byakuya arrived with a grinning Renji; sadly his good humour could do nothing to melt the ice coming off both captains. 

Kira had to wonder why the two captains’ didn’t immediately start chatting; they had so much in common.  But perhaps that was the problem. 

Gin had spotted Matsumoto at last, and as expected, made a beeline for those breasts, his eye line never leaving those twin hillocks.  Not that Matsumoto minded, she loved the attention and the two were quickly ensconced on a couch in the corner.

Renji looked disappointed, and resigned himself to sitting beside Kira.  An action he regretted as soon as he realised that he was now in Ukitake’s eye line and therefore deserving of his attention.

Kira took the opportunity for escape with a side wink to Renji to communicate his doom, before standing up and excusing himself to use the toilet.  He next spent an amusing few minutes in the bathroom giggling at Renji’s misfortune. 

When he returned to the main room, he spied Kenpachi and his good spirits dissipated.  He looked wrong in this setting, like a boxer fresh from a fight immediately entering upon a cocktail party.  He looked up for a fight, even here, and was eyeing Byakuya with interest.  Good, he hasn’t noticed me yet.   Kira scooted over to a darkened alcove.  Sadly it was occupied by a small boy; this was only the beginning of Kira’s misfortune as he apologised to this ‘boy’ for knocking him over and actually used the diminutive term before the small shadow raised himself from the flooring and Kira came face to face with a red faced Hitsugaya, a vein in his temple throbbing.  Damn it all. 

“Boy?” Hitsugaya enquired.  His voice surprisingly soft so as not to alert anyone to what had transpired.  Looking around, Kira could see that no one had noticed their little exchange in this extremely shadowed alcove.

There was nothing else for it.  Kira bowed low, almost to the ground and apologised profusely, all the while hoping that Kenpachi wouldn’t move from his spot close to Byakuya and over to where they stood. 

“Apologies accepted,” Hitsugaya said stiffly as he moved further into the alcove.  Damn, so that ruled this place out as a hideaway, and was it just his sake clouded eyes or was that the slight silhouette of a petite woman further in the shadows?  A shadow that Hitsugaya was fast approaching?  Kira wisely decided it was none of his business and before leaving the privacy of this place he stood a moment and took in the new people.  He didn’t recognise everyone but a few faces he noticed. 

Byakuya sat with Tousen and Yamamoto; the General Commander was dominating the conversation with a nodding head and lips that wouldn’t still, but his audience didn’t seem to mind and listened attentively; that or they were good actors.   Shuuhei was sat beside Renji and was coolly eyeing the room, his eyes returning to Matsumoto all too often.  He would always be disappointed, because Kira had heard Matsumoto screaming Gin’s name in the night too many times.  They were a couple, not exactly public yet but close enough.

Aizen stood chatting with Unohana and, oh did his heart just stop, stood beside them was Isane Kotetsu.   

Kira really didn’t want to leave the sanctuary of the shadows now.  Yachiru had other ideas. 

“Blondie,” she screeched, drawing all eyes in the room to him.  Kira withheld a gulp that threatened to suffocate him as he looked down upon the child terror. 

“Yachiru,” he responded carefully, his eyes so desperately avoiding Kenpachi’s. 

Then the words he dreaded.  “Blondie, what you hiding for?”

“I’m not hiding,” he said in a small voice that indicated otherwise.  Was that blood rushing to his cheeks or the simple diffusion of sake?  Kira really didn’t know but he hoped it was the latter.

“I have to...go...speak to Renji.  Look,” he said pointing, knowing he would pay later, “Hitsugaya is with someone, why don’t you see who it is?” 

It worked.  Yachiru with an excited squeal moved to unearth the hidden occupants, seconds later Hitsugaya and Hinamori emerged each being led forward by an unwilling hand grasped in Yachiru’s small palms.  They shared red tomato faces that did little to dim as Yachiru dragged the two of them over to Kenpachi.

Kira sighed in relief.  That so could have been him right now.  Now where to place himself?  This was always a problem for him because he had, just had to, over analyse everything. 

Kira wanted to join Byakuya in conversation, both being of noble blood, and moving in the same circles – they had something in common, and Kira very much wanted to hear of the Kuchiki coming and goings.  But his friendship with Renji wouldn’t allow it given the man’s dislike of the aloof captain.

So he resigned himself to a seat by Renji and wedged himself between the red haired man and Shuuhei.

Shunsui arrived minutes later with three geishas on each arm, and behind him, Nanao trailed, her arms weighted with two shamisens. 

Komamura was absent as usual.  Kira guessed he had personal issues with his image.  Kira wished he was Komamura’s lieutenant – then he too could avoid this yearly nightmare.  

 Renji scanned the room fitfully.  “Where is she?” He kept asking no one in particular.    

“Shuuhei, do you mind?” He said two wine glasses later. 

The scarred man had wrapped an arm around his shoulder, which Kira hadn’t minded given how little room there was on the sofa, but the other hand that suddenly rested on his thigh was a little over friendly.

“What?” Shuuhei said lazily, his hand only moving further up his thigh in response. 

“What are you doing?  Get your hand off me.”

“What?  Don’t you like this?” His hand inching closer to his crotch. 

“No, I don’t,” Kira said as he slapped the offending appendage away. 

Renji whistled theatrically and turned to face the two of them.

“Was Gin feeding you false info Shuuhei?”

Kira wanted the couch to open up and eat him. 

“She’s all teeth,” interrupted the awkward moment.

Chapter II 

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