"You have forty-eight hours to set your affairs in order and bid your friends farewell. I wish you... the best of luck, Ayasegawa Yumichika."
Yumichika bowed, and left Commander Yamamoto's office. Ikkaku was not waiting outside.
He appreciated it, really- if the first thing he had to see after receiving the sentence was to see Ikkaku, he might have lost whatever composure he had. Ikkaku trusted him to be fine on his own, to take care of himself and to always, always be okay, which was a courtesy he didn't even extend to most of his division subordinates. And Yachiru (though Yumichika always had the distinct impression that Ikkaku was more concerned about the people exposed to her than the lieutenant herself).
He made a mental checklist of all the things he had to get in order: clothes, his sword, (paperwork was no longer his duty, and thus could be fobbed off to Ikkaku) a temporary gigai, and something with which to bribe Urahara Kisuke into building him a quality gigai. Some human money, a place to stay for a while, maybe a job- Yumichika had no intention of returning to Rukongai, and figured that if anything, he'd follow in Kurosaki Isshin's footsteps and work on building a human life in Karakura.
Yeah. That didn't sound too bad.
Yumichika could sense Ikkaku's reiatsu agitatedly flaring up and dying down as he approached his own room. The door slid open before he had a chance to open it himself (it occurred to him that Ikkaku loved to pre-empt people at the door, since he hated doing things like granting permission to enter- things that only people who owned things do. Even after so many decades in Seireitei, he still didn't believe that he really owned anything but himself, even though it was technically Yumichika's room).
"It's a comparatively light sentence, when you take into account Rukia-chan's-"
"I'm expelled from Seireitei."
"Back to Rukongai?"
"I think I'll go to Karakura instead."
Ikkaku seemed torn for a second, and then he grinned. "Yeah? I bet Urahara'll help you out."
Yumichika matched his grin with a smile of his own. "Yes! I'll find an apartment, and get a job. It'll be boring, but living like a human might not be so bad."
"If you're in Karakura, you'll get ta see Ichigo all the time. Hey, I'm kinda jealous."
Yumichika laughed. "Sounds more like I should be jealous of Ichigo. Well, at least I'll have the hollows to myself! The only thing missing would be you."
There was a brief silence where Yumichika could almost hear the gears turning in Ikkaku's head. "As if I'd let ya have all the hollows in Karakura."
Ikkaku's expression said, Don't force me to make this choice, because I won't pick you.
Yumichika nodded, and headed out. On a whim, he paused in the doorway and turned around. Ikkaku seemed to deflate; his posturing really was just for his benefit, then. It mollified Yumichika somewhat that Ikkaku would miss him, at least a little bit when he left, and he plastered on the brightest smile he could muster.
"Ikkaku, you had better visit me every week or I'll do unspeakable things to your reputation-"
Ikkaku closed the distance between them before Yumichika could list all of the things he would do if he didn't visit, and pulled him into a quick, bonecrushing hug. Then let go and backed off. He nodded once, then jabbed a finger into Yumichika's chest. "Yeah. I'll visit. But I ain't stayin' at some shitty inn, so you better get a place together, alright?"
Yumichika translated it almost automatically in his mind: You better be doing fine when I see you, so don't make me worry.
"Commander Yamamoto gave me forty-eight hours, but I'm already set! "
"You want me to-?"
"No. This wouldn't be a very beautiful step if I didn't take it on my own, right?"
Ikkaku's hand fisted in the back of his uniform, firm and approving, before he shoved Yumichika out the door. "Bet yer ass."