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Shoving hands into his pockets, Ichigo's scowl deepened as he leaned against the lampost on the corner, absently watching the rush of traffic go by. Bright yellow taxicabs scattered the crush of vehicles, their lights -- and horns -- echoing amidst the cacophony that was downtown New York. Wrinkling his nose at the unpleasent smell of the exhaust fumes -- at least, that was the part of the ambient scents that he could identify easily -- he sighed and glanced around him. Nope, no sensible juice machines like you'd find in a normal city. Idiot Americans somehow couldn't see the common sense in having a simple vending machine on the street for when you wanted something to drink. All such machines in New York were either inside buildings or in the subway, leaving the only option for a quick drink or snack the carts with their blue and yellow umbrellas, selling something called 'hotdog'.

He wasn't really certain what a hotdog was, but somehow it didn't sound too appetizing. Not to mention that, as far as he could see from watching other people purchase them, it consisted of some sort of odd, tubular meat couched in bread with toppings dumped on it. Strange, but he was relatively certain that at some point today he'd be forced into eating one, if only because it was the only food around. Not even considering that Matt considered it a foodgroup in and of itself, and had been abjectly horrified to learn that his new friend -- because apparently anyone that Matthew Brannigan interacted with outside of teachers was a 'friend' -- had never tasted one. Or been to New York.

Which was precisely why he, Kurosaki Ichigo, was currently being subjected to a day of sightseeing with the blonde pathology major. Growling under his breath, he mentally cursed Matt. And the city, and the stupid "I heart NY" T-shirt he'd been badgered into wearing, and the fact that he hadn't been able to find a way OUT of the damned outing because like it or not, he at least needed to figure out his way around the city.

Hearing a shout of his name, the orange-haired shinigami glanced up to find the familiar tow-headed figure of his lab partner barreling down the street towards him. Rolling his eyes as Matt skidded to a stop in front of him, he crossed his arms over his chest and waited while the other man stood there, bent over with one hand braced against his knees, holding his other one up as if to ward off questions while he caught his breath.

"You know, this is your stupid idea, and you're the one late."

It was really pointless to make note of it, Matt was always late, no matter how early he left for something.

"S...sorry. Had to... meet Dana."

Standing up and shifting his backpack, Matt nodded his head towards the towering edifice down the road.

"She's gonna meet us there, but I had to give her something first."

Shoving his hands back into his pockets, Ichigo took in the other man's appearance, some portion of his brain twitching slightly. Matt was one of those Americans who watched more anime and read more manga than was healthy for any one person, dropped random Japanese phrases -- often badly pronounced -- into perfectly legible English conversations, and proudly referred to himself as an otaku despite Ichigo's snorted quip that he obviously didn't know what the word really entailed. Today was no exception, it seemed, as Matt ran hands through rumpled flaxen hair, pulling off his black plastic-rimmed glasses to rub them on the front of his Nintendo hoodie.

"Do you even own a shirt that doesn't have some anime or game reference on it?"

Matt was nonplussed by this, simply shaking his head as though such a thing was something to be proud of.

"You're just jealous because my shirt's way cooler than yours."

Ichigo's scowl deepened. At least he had a sense of style. He eyed the black hoodie with the green mushroom patches on the shoulders, the grey T-shirt that sported a yellow ball with 3 red stars and the words 'My Power Level is Over 9000" in red, the entire offensive combination set off with baggy jeans and a pair of blue Converse sneakers. But the weirdest thing was the oversized pair of what looked like headphones, with wires and chips soldered to them, bristling with small antennae and lights.

Shaking his head, he turned to follow Matt down the street, determined not to ask about the weird headphones. If he did, it would just open up the floodgates.

"The hell are those things?"

He could have slapped himself, clapping a palm to his face and mentally cursing his own inability to simply listen to his common sense.

Great... now he's gonna tell me.

Turning to glance back over his shoulder, Matt grinned widely before launching into a detailed discussion of the mechanics of his new toy, only to be cut off by Ichigo's growl.

"I don't care how it's made, what does it DO, Brannigan?"

"Ohhhh! Well you see, it's a receiver. Spiritual entities are often attracted to high places, and especially places that have an overflux of electrical and magnetic discharge energy. It's like a big bug zapper to them, you could say. And this headset reshapes and defines MY brainwaves into a more magnetically-inclined nature so that I can synch up better with the spiritual waves. That way, there's a much greater chance that I'll be able to make contact if I wear this while up on the top floor. Do you want one? I brought a spare besides mine and Dana's."

The explanation in and of itself was enough to give him a headache as he snarled a negative before reluctantly following. He could already tell that this was going to be one of those days.


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November 2010

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